by G.B. Oliver
I was doing research of a particular Google search for a client when I noticed some subtle differences on how people search for products that may change how you phrase your headings, subheadings and keyword tags.
Fact # 1 – Not Many People Use Apostrophes Correctly When Searching
Maybe because we are all in such a hurry these days, but it appears that people very rarely use apostrophes when searching.
For example, they don’t search “men’s shoes” they search “mens shoes“. The exact phrase “men’s shoes” pulled up data of 58 searches a month compared to 60,500 for the exact phrase “mens shoes“, without the apostrophe. That’s quite a difference and it was consistent with other terms as well.
The exact phrase “kids clothes” showed 45,000 searches per month, where the exact phrase “kid’s clothes” showed nil. Now the phrase “kids’ clothes” (where the apostrophe is at the end) also pulled up 40,500, which showed me that Google ignores the apostrophe when it is at the end of a word, but not when it is in amongst the letters.
So if grammatically incorrect can pull in higher searches, do you wrestle with the dilemma of writing your product copy according to keywords or opting for the correct grammar?
Fact # 2 – Plural versus Singular Can Make a Difference
People also vary in their searches as to whether or not it is more common to add the plural. For example, the exact phrase “throw pillows” pulled up 18,100 searches per month, whereas the singular “throw pillow” was dramatically lower at 2,400. However, it was the opposite for necklaces. The exact phrase “gold necklaces” pulled up 2,900 searches monthly compared to 12,900 for the singular “gold necklace“.
As adding the plural seems to vary by product, it means you really have to research both singular and plural with your product keywords to see which is more commonly searched. Tedious, but it could make a big difference.
Fact # 3 – Gender Isn’t Always Implied
Another thing I noticed is that when you are looking for an item by gender, it appears there are more searches specific to “mens” then there are to “womens”. For example, “mens jewelry” showed 5,400 monthly searches compared to only 1,600 for “womens jewelry“. “Mens shoes” showed 60,500 searches compared to 49,500 for “womens shoes“. Now, I would think more women are searching for shoes online than men, so is it that women just type “shoes” or “black shoes” or “high heels” and just naturally assume the search will know they mean women’s? If that is the case, it may not be worth your while to include women’s in your description or keywords, and instead focus on other adjectives such as color, style or material.
Remember, these facts are not really specific to Google, these are specific to human behavior. That is why you really have to test all variations of your keywords to see how your target market mostly commonly uses them for search.
I have many more search tips and advice in my PDFs (because I save my best tips for there!), Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work, available here.
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© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.