For small business owners, digital marketing is their best shot at growing their business. In this day and age, people consult their favorite search engine—Google—before making purchases, whether online or offline. With this being the case, companies are always jostling to be at the top of the list of organic search results.

Putting together a winning SEO strategy requires a working understanding of keywords. Your place on the list of search results hinges on your ability to use keywords in blog posts, social media posts, and on your website’s landing pages. Keywords are so nuanced that Google even ranks singular and plural words differently—read on to learn why.

Importance of Keywords

When it comes to digital marketing, your strategy is incomplete without keyword optimization. When people go online and enter a query into the search bar, they’re entering keywords to fish for the results they’re looking for.

Have you ever noticed that when you perform a search online, the words you used for your search are highlighted in the results? Conversely, when searching on Google, it also shows you if the words you used in your search don’t appear in the organic search results.

For website content optimization campaigns to succeed, you must understand how to naturally work the right keywords into your blog posts, social media ads, etc. Great content falls short without relevant keywords to bolster the content and increase the chances to rank in organic search lists. Having high-quality content without the right keywords is like having a sports car with an economy car engine.

Having relevant content and using the right keywords are both crucial to increasing your page views and converting page views into product purchases. In the next section, you’ll learn how keyword research can help you to find the most relevant keywords.

Keyword Research

A successful content marketing strategy utilizes keyword research. This research gives you a window into the thoughts of online searchers by showing you the words that they most commonly used in organic searches regarding specific topics.

Every topic under the sun has relevant keywords and with Google analytics, finding them isn’t hard. However, it’s important to have a mix of short-tail, medium-tail, and long-tail related words. Short-tail words are one or two words long, medium ones are three or four words, and long ones have five or more words. Shorter keywords will bring more hits, but long words have a much higher conversion rate.

Why? Well, let’s say that you own a company that makes and installs garage doors. It’s likely that “car” will be a keyword because people park cars in their garages. But “car” is such a general word that people looking for a new car may find themselves clicking on your website. Even though you’ll get page views by using the word car, many of the people who visit your page because of the word car may not be interested in garage doors.

Conversely, people driven to your page by a long-tail keyword are more likely to use your services because long-tail words are more specific. If a searcher uses a long-tail keyword in their organic search and sees your page as a result, then they’re more than likely looking for the exact products and services you offer.

Plural and Singular Keywords

When it comes to the difference between how singular and plural words are ranked, don’t blame algorithms or Google analytics—blame the English language. This language— where so many words look and sound the same but are completely different—can even be confusing for algorithms.

Why? Well, because search engines don’t audibly speak, singular and plural words can take on totally different meanings. For instance, a search using the keyword birthday cake may yield results for nearby bakeries. However, simply making that keyword plural may bring up organic search results for the best birthday cake ideas. So, it’s important to target keywords in ways that will coincide with your goals for your website.