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My major question is: What is everybody else seeing, and how do you feel that google ranking the terms (eg, does a plural term count towards keyword density on a singular term search and if so, is it given a full weight).
By default, Google searches for variations of your search terms. To search only for an exact term, place a '+' sign before it.
Has anyone else seen this? It looks like they're finally admitting what we've known for awhile.
Not consistently. I just ran a search for "Manx cats". From the SERP, stemming is obvious. However, that notice wasn't at top. Also, Google has stated on the site they now use stemming for a while.
It is not an exact match but in my case it is close. To check, pick a singular term and get the rating and then try the plural - best to test on term(s) that are not top rated.
I believe the exact term gets full credit and the stemmed version get partial credit.
both sets of results highlight all stemmed keyword variations in the title and in the snippet for all of the sites, but the serps are totally different
logically: an exact match gets a higher weight than a match to a word variation -- singular and plural aren't treated equally