An SEO Dilemma: American or British Spelling?

American slang is making its way to the top of the Web. There’s nothing wrong with that from a social point of view, but from an academic point of view the British English language will have a lot to suffer.

Rumours say that Google’s spellchecker comes with an American dictionary, which is going to correct British spellings in some situations, not on google.co.uk, but on google.com. I was reading recently a thread on Webmasterworld about this topic and I had to test it myself: is Google really correcting, “rumours”, or asking “did you mean rumors” on google.com? Is Google really trying to force the American spelling into the .com search queries? The answer is no.

I don’t know what started the thread. Probably Google had this problem in the past. But right now you can spell rumour, defence, centre and so on, and Google will not ask, “did you mean rumor, defense, center”. Yet this doesn’t change the fact that people tend to use American spelling instead of British.

There are more American Web pages with slang than British pages with proper English. Sometimes we see American slang even on the “proper English” pages, but mostly on pages that emphasise an idea or jeer at stereotypes. We see more and more Americanised web texts on British pages for SEO reasons: many SEO companies, even those based in UK, will recommend that you optimise your pages for misspellings if you want to reach a broader international audience.

That’s not true! You don’t need to use the American English on your site if you don’t want to. You could use it for the links pointing at your site, especially when you exchange links with international websites. This way you keep your British website free of American terms and comply with the practices of the sites linking back to you as well. A win-win solution, don’t you think?

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