A question was posed recently in the biggest SEO team focusing on one vertical:

What’s searched more?  “Chevrolet” or “Chevy”?

One of the mad scientists in the group contended from his past research that it was “Chevy.”  Let’s call him Bob.

In our mind, the only way to truly validate the answer to this question, we verify it with our trusty tool that comes straight from the horse’s mouth: Google.

Jumping into the Adwords Keyword Planner, it said the opposite:

“chevrolet” was searched 2,740,000 times a month.

“chevy” was only looked up 673,000 times a month on Google.

But was this really the case?  

So, this was in general.  Across the world, the longer spelling was used to find ideas based off the top automotive brand name.  However, we speculated that there might be different reasons why the former would be sought after more than the latter.  At the same time, we always operate off the assumption that the general populace aims to be efficient about their searches.  They use shorter phrases or type with as few characters as possible.  Also, in America, “chevy” makes more sense.  So, we thought we would check a couple “southern cities” in the U.S. to see what they are doing.

In Atlanta:

chevrolet – 18,100

chevy – 9900

So, despite being a longer phrase and despite it being a southern city, they opt for the longer permutation of the auto brand.  Maybe this southern city which claims host to the largest cola brand in the world just likes to spell it out?

Let’s check the capital of country music: Nashville

chevrolet – 5400

chevy – 3600

Interesting.  This city also seems to like the longer permutation.

Hmmm, this isn’t supporting Bob’s claim…

*Note, I used Adwords Keyword Planner and I always select the Nielsen DMA version of the city (where available).

The above supported the contrary, but how about the rest of the top cities in the U.S.?

#1 – New York

chevrolet – 33,100

chevy – 49,500

Well, now looking at the top U.S. city, we see maybe Bob is right.  

#2 – Los Angeles

chevrolet – 40,500

chevy – 40,500

#3 – Chicago

chevrolet – 14,800

chevy – 22,200

*More support for Bob

#4 – Houston

chevrolet – 22,200

chevy – 12,100

Interesting that southern cities actually like the longer form.

#5 – Philadelphia

chevrolet – 9900

chevy – 14,800

#6 – Phoenix

chevrolet – 9900

chevy – 12,100

#7 – San Antonio

chevrolet – 6600

chevy – 4400

#8 – San Diego

chevrolet – 8100

chevy – 6600

#9 – Dallas-Ft. Worth (combined region)

chevrolet – 22,200

chevy – 14,8000

#10 – San Jose (NOT nielsen)

chevrolet – 2400

chevy – 2900

We thought the top 10 cities was enough, but we also decided to add #11 & #12 because they’re southern:

#11 – Austin

chevrolet – 6600

chevy – 4400

#12 – Jacksonville

chevrolet – 3600

chevy – 3600

Despite all the city by city analysis, Bob’s claim didn’t seem to be supported.  The gross number of searches potentially supported the search for the longer version of the American brand name.

However, do people JUST search for “chevy” or “chevrolet?”  If they are looking for a car, wouldn’t they be adding other words to the brand name?  The experts at CDK claim you do.

Bob said “if you add ‘Silverado’ to ‘Chevy’ or ‘Chevrolet’ then it proves that ‘Chevy’ is searched more often.”

chevy silverado – 135,000

chevrolet silverado – 33,100

So, it appears that maybe Bob is right.

But why is there such a difference in keyword volume overall?  We thought maybe it was international locations possibly skewing it:

Greater London

chevrolet – 4400

chevy – 720

Toronto (NOT nielsen)

chevrolet – 5400

chevy – 1900

Initially, we asked the question broadly.  However, driving towards the answer to the question, we decided we should limit the volume to the “United States” as targeting instead of the default. And we found:

United States

chevrolet – 550,000

chevy – 550,000

So, it really does depend on many factors:

  • are you talking about the “most” in terms of the United States or Globally?
  • did you know that search volume may also be dictated by local geographies and demographics?
  • also, some brand names may be dependent on specific products or services connected to the company


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