Singular versus plural keywords for search engines: SEO guide

For small website owners, the SEO journey is filled with crucial decisions, not least of which is picking between singular and plural keywords for search engines. This single choice could be the key to unlocking your website’s potential. This guide will delve into the nuances of each to help you craft an SEO strategy that catapults your site to the forefront of search engine results.

Understanding keywords

Keywords are the linchpin of SEO. They are the words and phrases that searchers use, and they guide search engines in determining the relevance of your content. Let’s explore how singular versus plural keywords for search engines fit into this puzzle.

Singular keywords

What are singular keywords?

Singular keywords are focused on a single aspect or item. They are precise and often indicate a searcher’s interest in a specific topic, product, or service.

Benefits of using singular keywords

  • Targeted Audience: Singular keywords can attract visitors with specific intentions, potentially leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Niche Dominance: They allow for targeting niche markets with high precision.

When to use singular keywords

  • When offering a specific product or service.
  • For content that addresses detailed, niche topics.

Plural keywords

What are plural keywords?

Plural keywords encompass a broader range of topics or items. They are used by searchers who are in the browsing or comparison stage of their search journey.

Benefits of using plural keywords

  • Wider Reach: They can help capture a broader audience, increasing your site’s visibility.
  • Category Authority: Ideal for establishing your site as a go-to resource for categories of products or services.

When to use plural keywords

  • For e-commerce sites with multiple products.
  • When creating resourceful category pages.
Singular versus plural keywords for search engines: SEO guide - article by Attila Bögözi

SEO showdown: singular versus plural

Keyword difficulty and competition

Singular keywords often face stiff competition, especially in saturated markets. Plural keywords, while also competitive, can sometimes offer a backdoor into high-traffic areas with slightly less competition.

Search volume and intent

Understanding the searcher’s intent is crucial. Singular keywords might draw users with a specific purchase or inquiry in mind, whereas plural keywords often attract users in the research phase.

John Mueller said:

It is very possible that we see these as completely different elements and maybe even as completely different intent.
In a “Google Webmaster Central office hours hangout” episode, aired on Aug 24 at 9am CEST, John Mueller discussed in more detail how and why the search results are different for singular versus plural ranking.

Let’s see some case studies

Real-world examples abound of small sites that have effectively leveraged either type of keyword to great success. Analyzing these can provide actionable insights and inspiration for your strategy.

I’ll create hypothetical case studies inspired by common SEO practices and strategies that have proven successful for small websites. These examples are meant to illustrate how singular versus plural keywords for search engines can be effectively leveraged, based on general SEO knowledge and best practices observed in the industry.

Case study 1: the local bakery – dominating with singular keywords

Background: A small, family-owned bakery in a competitive urban area struggled to stand out in search results against larger chains. The bakery’s unique selling point was its century-old sourdough starter.

Strategy: The bakery focused on singular keywords closely tied to its unique offerings, such as “artisan sourdough bread” and “best croissant [City Name].”

Outcome: By optimizing their website content, blog posts, and local SEO around these singular keywords, the bakery not only improved its rankings but also attracted a more targeted audience interested in artisanal baked goods. This led to increased foot traffic and a noticeable uptick in online orders from customers seeking the best in town.

Case study 2: the eco-friendly product marketplace – expanding reach with plural keywords

Background: An online marketplace specializing in eco-friendly products wanted to expand its reach and attract more customers interested in sustainable living.

Strategy: Understanding that potential customers might not be looking for a specific item, the marketplace optimized for plural keywords like “eco-friendly household products” and “sustainable living accessories.”

Outcome: This strategy broadened the site’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) for users at the top of the funnel, just beginning their journey toward a more sustainable lifestyle. The marketplace saw a significant increase in traffic and conversions as a result of targeting broader search queries.

Case study 3: the independent tech reviewer – gaining authority with a mixed keyword approach

Background: An independent tech reviewer with a focus on the latest gadgets and tech news struggled to compete against major tech publications.

Strategy: The reviewer adopted a mixed keyword strategy, using singular keywords for specific product reviews (“iPhone 12 review”) and plural keywords for comparison and roundup posts (“best smartphones 2021”).

Outcome: This approach allowed the reviewer to rank for specific product searches while also appearing in broader, comparison-based queries. The site gained authority and trust as a comprehensive source of tech information, leading to partnerships, sponsorships, and an expanded reader base.

These case studies, while hypothetical, are based on SEO strategies that have been effective for small websites across various industries. The key takeaway is the importance of understanding your audience’s search intent and how to strategically use singular and plural keywords to meet those needs. This approach can lead to improved SEO performance, increased traffic, and better engagement with your content.

Crafting your SEO strategy

Keyword research best practices

Effective keyword research is foundational. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to uncover valuable insights into search volumes, competition levels, and more.

Incorporating keywords into content

Once you’ve identified your target keywords, integrate them naturally into your content. Remember, quality and relevance are paramount – never sacrifice the readability of your content for the sake of keyword inclusion. Just remember that keyword stuffing isn’t an advantage and it is in fact punished by Google.

Monitoring and adjusting your strategy

Use Google Analytics and Search Console to monitor the performance of your chosen keywords and adjust your strategy as needed. SEO is not set-it-and-forget-it; it’s a dynamic process that requires ongoing attention and refinement.

Search Intent- Singular versus plural keywords for search engines: SEO guide - article by Attila Bögözi


The debate between singular and plural keywords is not about choosing one over the other but understanding how to use each effectively within your overall SEO strategy. By considering the strengths and applications of both, you can enhance your site’s visibility, engagement, and conversion rates.

Embrace the complexity of SEO with confidence, knowing that your understanding of singular versus plural keywords equips you to make informed decisions that drive success.


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