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singular and plural

3:26 am on Jun 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I was checking the difference in number of requests using this tool:


and using fast it appears that the singular has more requests than the plural for most words (ie cellular phone, clothing store and computer vs the same terms with the (s) at end)

Does that make sense that generally the singular gets more requests than the plural?
You need to use Fast to check this because evidently the webcrawler results combine singular and plurals.

3:26 pm on June 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I'm sure it's quite possible that overall, singular is more common than plural, but the thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to keyword research/selection, broad, general statistics are fairly useless. What is important to you is how singular vs. plural shakes out within your particular niche.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the spellweb tool only tells you what webmasters think is the most popular. Just because there are twice as many pages in a SE database that contain the singular version of a particular word rather than the plural doesn't mean that more users conduct searches using the singular version. It just means that most webmasters think they will. Quite often, these assumptions don't really pan out.

A great deal of traffic can be gained/lost with the simple addition/subtraction of an "s". :)

4:21 pm on June 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

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so what happen if i put all my keywords to plural ??
i got the search for the singular and the plural or i only got the search for the plural ??
4:32 pm on June 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Jilly, that spellweb tool reports on how often the word is USED, but not how often it is SEARCHED on.

At a guess, plural terms would come up more frequently in searches (people thinking "I want to know about cell phones") than they would on pages (which tend to be describing "OurBrand of cell phone"). Unfortunately, with GoTo mapping plurals and singulars together, I don't know of a tool to find out for sure.

4:38 pm on June 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I was under the impression that the standard was to concentrate on "root" words...ie "root" rather than "roots", "rooty" or "rooted"...because most SEs will feed sites using the root word to searchers looking for the plural etc
4:10 am on June 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

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The degree to which word stemming [searchengineworld.com] is used varies greatly from search engine to search engine. The particular word or phrase also can play a big role in whether or not word stemming is used.

Out of all the major engines, Excite seems to make the strongest use of word stemming. If for example, you conduct a search for the word boat you will get the same basic set of results as you would if you search for boats. However, using the same process with the words kayak produce two completely different set of results.

You will also get different results when you use variations of the word boat combined with an additional word. (i.e.used boat vs. used boats)

MSN, uses word stemming with it's featured and directory results, but not with the Inktomi results. (you can enable word stemming for Ink from the advanced search page, but the default setting is disabled).

AltaVista, Google and Fast don't even come close to producing similar results when you search on stemmed variations of a word.

As Tedster pointed out, the spellweb tool seems to be simply counting the number of pages in a particular database that contain each variation of the particular phrase. Using a tool like that to try and determine which variation you should target isn't a good idea because, quite often, the version that gets searched on the most will have fewer competing pages.

A good example would be the one Tedster used. Spellweb shows twice as many competing pages for the term cell phone as it does for cell phones but cell phones is the term that is searched on the most.

With other phrase combinations, the results will be the opposite.

The bottom line is that generalized statistics about singular vs. plural are completely useless when it comes to determining what the best strategy is for your particular niche. What is important is finding out what is the most common way people searching for your keyword phrases search. Once you have a handle on that, you can then determine whether or not you may see any benefit from the use of word stemming.


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