If you are hoping to reach an international audience and not just limit your site’s visitors to those from your own home country, then it is important to make sure that your SEO strategy has been written the right language. In terms of targeting the United States and the United Kingdom, although you may be writing in English in both cases, you will also need to pay attention to the important yet subtle difference between search engine optimization and search engine optimisation.

They may be the same thing, but there is a notable difference in the spelling and expressions used by each country, which will make all the difference to the way that English words will be entered into the query box at Google by individuals looking for the content provided by your website.

Therefore, while the foundation SEO efforts that you make will not change; they will need to be slightly adapted, depending on the market that you wish to target: the U.S. or the U.K., or both. The optimization techniques remain the same, but it is the words that are used which must be altered.

Pay attention to the details of the language that you are using for a given market. The following are some of the areas of difference between American English and U.K English:

  • Spelling – for example, recognize vs. recognise, behavior vs. behaviour, jewelry vs. jewellery.
  • Words – for example, an elevator vs. a lift, a truck vs. a lorry, and two weeks vs. a fortnight
  • Expressions – for example, in the United States, “football” means American football, but in the United Kingdom, it refers to soccer.
  • Slang – for example, your telephone line could be busy in the U.S, but it’s engaged in the U.K.
  • Abbreviations – for example, though someone in the United States won’t have any trouble knowing that PA means Pennsylvania and CA means California; those aren’t widely known outside the U.S.

When all is said and done, the concept of your SEO will remain the same, in that it will be applied in the same way as it would if you were targeting only one group of English speakers. However, it will need to be effectively and consistently enhanced so that you are covering a number of different terms and spellings so that when international visitors are seeking what your site has to offer – from information to products and services – they will be able to find you using the language with which they are most comfortable.

Adam Donkus, CEO of Search Engine Optimization Company, Baldy Dog