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Anyway, here goes...I am confused as to what might be my best option for my domain name. For example if I sold cycles what would be my best option? single, plural, branded?
Sorry to be vague but I hope I'm clear enough.
Whatever name you decide on, register both the singular and plural variations if possible, and also the hyphenated version if it's more than a single word, plus predictable misspellings if they're available.
Even though you'd only use one, it would be good to have control of obvious variations to protect your branding and reduce consumer confusion.
As for choosing whether to use singular and plural, consider issues such as which version would feel more comfortable in natural speech? Which version is used more often as a search term?
No question if you sell them then the plural - cycles.
It's better branding if you sell them. The plural IS A BUSINESS. Many times you can see that the singular is preferred in searches but for a business the plural is the way to go. Of course grab the singular anyway and I appreciate that there is another whole debate about whats better keywords or branding. It's not a question of either or in many cases and the keyword is in fact good branding.
1. Not all the time. When people want to buy a widget or find a service, they often search using the singular. It really depends on the unique situation. It can go either way. I don't believe it's settled one way or the other. For consumer products it's not unusual to see the PLURAL have more traffic than the singular. But which version converts best? For some campaigns I find the plural converts at a significantly higher rate, but the traffic is lower than the singular, which also converts. In other (different) campaigns the singular wins out handily.
2. I agree with buckworks about buying all the variants and would add that you should pick up any .org/net/us variants and if it's important to you, the .co.uk. variants.
3. The ideal method is to set up a web page and drive PPC traffic to it for a month and see which variant converts best for you.
Google anyway is smart enough to realise the plural is derived from the singular or are closely related.
Unfortunately Google is not smart enough and there are instances of many words where the plural can be something completely different.
My own widget trade is a perfect example with one specific word both the singular and plural being the actual product whereas the plural is a well-known children's game and has also been trademarked by a bank!
Again another of our widgets is known in both singular and plural however in the case of the plural it has a trademark by an extremely well-known clothing company.
By all means get both names if you can and if there are multiple "cycles" available personally I would lean towards using the plural and, at the end of the day, it will more likely be the on-page SEOing and relevant information that will deter where it ends up in the results.