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Which keyword is better for targeting and on-page optimization, singular or plural? Like "baseball bat" or "baseball bats"?

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Please use the answer section to provide your own answer to a question rather than editing the question to insert an answer you found yourself. (Answers within the question mess up our system and stats.) –  Stephen Ostermiller Jun 1 '13 at 11:30
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2 Answers 2

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Google usually shows differing search results when people search for the singular vs the plural. So SEO has to be done separately for the different terms.

Start by figuring out which version (singular or plural) has the higher search volume. Use the Adwords Keyword Tool to compare search volumes. Make sure to select "[Exact]" as the "Match Type" in the left hand column. Doing so, I find the global monthly searches for your example and "baseball hat":

  • baseball bat: 18,100
  • baseball bats: 18,100
  • baseball hat: 2,900
  • baseball hats: 6,600

So for "bats" target both the singular and the plural, for the "hats" start with the plural and consider the singular secondly.

To target multiple keywords:

  • Use both version in the page title if you can write it in such a way that sounds natural. Its hard to do with singular and plural though.
  • Use both versions within the text of the page.
  • Create several pages that explore the topic and use both versions. For example pages with titles such as:
    • BrandX Baseball Bats
    • Which BrandX Baseball bat hits the furthest?
    • BrandX Baseball Bat Reviews
    • Compare Baseball Bats: BrandX vs BrandY
    • Baseball bat weight by player age
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This is a good answer but I don't agree you should always target the keyword with the highest monthly searches. Higher monthly searches often correlates to more competition which could mean a worse result. It's like the old debate as to whether it's better to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in the big sea. Otherwise great answer. –  Tom Dworzanski Jun 1 '13 at 15:37
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  1. The one for which your content is the better search result. Search engine users expect different content when searching for singular or plural keywords.

Singular keyword content examples:

  • A general description what a baseball bat is (~ the wikipedia article)

  • An article or shopping page for the single best baseball bat in the world (everyone agrees about).

Plural keyword content examples:

  • A comparison of currently tested baseball bats

  • A list of the ten most popular baseball bats in history


2. The one you are more likely to rank well (implies #1)

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