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Which keyword to use?

8:09 am on Jan 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Greetings fellows,

Have one question for you.
I want to change my accommodation page title from “accommodation” to “holiday accommodation” or “holidays accommodation”. But I can’t make up my mind which keyword to use. Google keyword suggestion tool offers to use “holidays accommodation” (as plural) but SEO Book keyword suggestion tool shows that people search for “holiday accommodation” (as singular). So now I’m considering which keyword to use. Singular, with higher search volume but also with much higher competition, or plural, with less competition but as SEO Book shows, no search volume as well (google’s keyword suggestion tool shows that holidays accommodation search volume is higher). Rather confusing isn’t it?


10:30 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Best bet might be to try a test for each and see which works out better.
2:19 pm on Feb 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Trying both to see which one yields better results is the best solution in the situation described.
1:58 pm on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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for me, in targeting keyword. just make an analysis of your site, if your site is focus on particular holiday then go to single but if not then use the plural. tools are only your guide or makes your job fast but it does't mean that you follow what its indicate.
i hope you get my point.. thanks

4:51 am on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Analyse different sites using the same keyword and then go for one which has less competition. It will be helpful for your site to rank high for that keyword.
8:27 pm on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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...SEO Book keyword suggestion tool shows that people search for "holiday accommodation" (as singular).

axxe - You've picked an interesting example.

First, you should be aware that the excellent SEO Book suggestion tool is driven by the Overture tool. The Overture tool routinely changes almost all plurals to singulars and then lumps singular and plural search figures together. It also changes word order, and in fact it alphabetizes the words in many searches and then lumps those together. If you read the documentation on the SEO Book tool, it discusses these limitations and how you need to be careful of them.

Now, if you were targeting, say, "placename hotel," you'd find that plural searches outnumber singular searches by about 3-to-1. You wouldn't see this singular/plural distinction in the Overture tool, but you'd see it in other tools available as well as in AdWords stats.

For several reasons, I'd expect to see the same pattern with "accommodation"... and particularly with a phrase like "holiday accommodation"... but in fact this doesn't seem to be the case. The keyword tools that distinguish between singular and plural (viz, Trellian and Wordtracker) reported that searchers favored the singular. In the pages listed in Google, webmaster usage also favored the singular.

But my instincts favored plural usage. This was confusing enough that I checked "accommodation" in Dictionary.com. It confirmed my instincts...


...5. Usually, accommodations.
a. lodging.
b. food and lodging.
c. a seat, berth, or other facilities for a passenger on a train, plane, etc.

So, what's going on? I'm not sure, but I have a few thoughts...

1 - It could be a British thing. At quick glance, anyway, most sites that appear in Google for this phrase are Australian or Commonwealth sites. There are lots of differences in singular/plural usage between British and American English.

2 - It could be an Overture driven thing. First, "holiday accommodation" is not a commonly searched phrase, and... important... the Google tool doesn't return results for the phrase (singular or plural) at all. So, it could be that sites targeting the phrase picked it up from other sites targeting the phrase, and these had originally picked up the singular from Overture.

This is complete conjecture, but I have seen a lot of sites, including those of companies I've worked with, target the singular because of Overture. I've also seen many optimizers imitate the bad targeting of competitors without doing in depth research of their own. Down the road, as webmasters and optimizers check their positions, this could lead to skewing of searcher stats, further skewing ongoing efforts.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:31 pm (utc) on Feb. 11, 2007]


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