SEO is SEO, but when you’re advertising the different forms of English can get in the way.
I work with people all around the world, but there’s quite a bit more to achieving that than you might think.
Being able to sell services around the world from the comfort of your own office is fantastic. But for those of us with geographically ambiguous spellings it raises a few issues.
I speak (and write) British English – or as we like to call it, just English. So naturally I list my services using that spelling; in this case Search Engine Optimisation. But a large proportion of people around the world will be spelling that last word with a Z rather than an S.
Google’s John Mueller has tried to say it doesn’t make a difference but I rather think he’s over-simplifying the issue.
My understanding is it doesn't play any role for SEO — maybe for users (and conversions), but not directly for SEO.
— ????〈link href=//johnmu.com rel=canonical 〉???? (@JohnMu) February 27, 2019
We can see in Google Search Console variants based on language are reported as different stats. I simply don’t believe Google’s system is allowing different spellings of words interchangeably. Searching for “Search Engine Optimisation” is much more likely to find my site than the American spelling precisely because I use it more often in my text.
There are ways I try to work around this. When I sell my services on specific service marketplaces (like PeoplePerHour) they have the option to include ‘tags’ behind the scenes – users don’t see those but they help support the sites’ fairly rudimentary search functions. So that’s a nice way of making sure I’m found for both spellings there.
But the second part of John Mueller’s reply is the most interesting. Let’s imagine Google did have some magic way of knowing everything all language variations were referring to and would show results regardless of those differences. The meta information displayed isn’t going to change. I could be found for Optimization but the information in front of the user will still say Optimisation.
That slight language difference could put a potential client off.
The better approach would be to allow different meta settings for different languages. But even that is fraught with technical and other issues – really there is just no simple fix for this.
I’ll continue to sell my SEO services around the world, but predominantly to the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Purely for technical reasons – because when it comes to delivering awesome SEO I can do that for anyone, anywhere.