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Yesterday I realised that my domain won't rank for different version of the same keyword.

Example: example.com ranks #1 for "Keyword" but is beyond rank#100 for "Keywords". Meanwhile competitor.com is ranking #2 for "Keyword" and ranking #1 for "Keywords"

This mostly happens with typos or different use of spacing. But there are also cases of this happening with Plural/Singular. As the domain is having this problem with multiple competitors I assume it's a problem with the website itself.

Things I tried:

  • Checking the GSC - There is a minor crawling issue but it seems unrelated.
  • Checking the SEO-Software - The data it provided seemed wrong at first, but with clean browser profiles (privatemode, cache/cookies cleaned, new Firefox container) it's provided data is indeed correct.

TL;DR: Multiple cases of "Keyword" I rank #1 "Keywords" yet I don't even rank #100 (page 10). Meanwhile Competitor ranks #2 for "Keyword" and #1 for "Keywords" ..Why?/How to Fix?

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It's impossible to say without knowing the keyword and its current results, but it's most likely due to user intent (actually, what Google assumes is the user intent).

Just as a quick example, using a private window in Brave, I searched "action figure" in Google:

  • Images are shown as the first element.
  • FAQ box is shown with these questions: What is the definition of an action figure? How much does a action figure cost? What are the best action figures? What scale is a 7 inch action figure?
  • The #1 real/organic result is Wikipedia.

When searching the plural "action figures" in Google:

  • Map with nearby shopping locations is shown as the first element.
  • No FAQ or image element.
  • No Wikipedia anywhere on first page (didn't check beyond that).
  • All top results are websites that sell action figures.

So, that means Google assumes different user intent for these two searches. It assumes you want information in the first case and a much more commercial intent for the second.

You'll see different results based on your location, of course, but the idea remains the same. It's either trying to predict which results are more useful, or it knows based on CTR that a user most likely wants a particular thing for plural or singular.

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  • That makes more way sense than the answers I came up with so far. Thank you. – wakmo Feb 5 at 9:16

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