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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

US / UK English
What to do
brotherhood of LAN

 12:29 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi peeps, this is a mainstream issue...

I use UK English because Im in the UK. Im not so bothered about optimising between the languages but...

...when people search my site they are using American spelling, thus not getting as many results as they should.

How to people deal with this? I suppose I could provide US spelling in my meta tags, but I try to keep them as small and as relevant as possible

Suggestions to this issue anyone? :)



 12:49 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

It is an interesting challenge BOL (brotherhood_of_LAN) and one I have pondered many times in to the wee hours. I often wonder if the Interent won't play a small part in the gradual migration world wide to US Spelling, simply because there are more of 'em than us. <ducking>(But then more is not necessarily gooderer!)<raising head again>

But to practical matters, you could choose sections of your site to emphasise the US spelling whilst leaving other parts to the UK Spelling, not to mention the Australian spelling... You could chose the sections to spell in US by looking through your log files for which pages are found mostly by US spelling and then go from there.

One obvious starting point might be your dictionary where you could have the alternate spellings listed in your definitions.

There have been a few threads on this topic over time, try searching for "US UK Spelling".


brotherhood of LAN

 12:58 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Cheers Woz

Did you get my sticky email a while back btw?

In regards to 'more of em than us' this is not the case I am glad to say :)

Ive asked in many Asian chat rooms their english spelling preference and it is UK. Dont you Ozzies also use UK spelling?

There is a danger of the US versions becoming mainstream because of the ratio of Americans online, but I see it switching to UK. I just dont want to lose the US visitors as they account for 50% of my hits

Ill check for other threads, cheers!


 1:05 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

great idea woz. We have this problem too with our users being spread over UK and US spelling countries.

The ex-UK colonies -eg Australia, Hongkers, Singapore, Malaysia, use english spelling generally and Philippines, Thailand, and I think most East Asian countries (but I may be corrected by Bill and Woz) generally use US spelling, on the rare times they use English.

We plumped for an editorial policy of using US spelling for precisely the reason that Brotherhood mentions. But we slip in the English spelling every so often. And we leave it to our columnists in various countries to use the english version they are confortable with (which should be the version used by people in their country hopefully)

Never thought of a dictionary.. or maybe a mini-woz glossary! Good idea, though to make sure Woz accepts it for his Meta-Glossary site will have to make sure it remains interesting and not give cobbers the raw prawn with content as dry as a dead dingo's donger.

yes, we slip in australian lingo sometimes too.. heh it took me longer to learn that than English English


 1:47 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

BOL >Did you get my sticky email a while back btw?
Yep! reply forthcoming.

Asian English - I think Chiyo has the breakdown pretty well correct from my experience. It is a result purely of cultural and colonial influences. Canada also uses UK spelling. Aussies use UK spelling with a lot of very colourful words thrown in for good measure as Chiyo has demonstrated with her excellent rendition.

From my teaching experience in China, my students were mostly interested in US culture and Spelling, and in fact I was often asked for the US spelling or pronounciation.


brotherhood of LAN

 2:13 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Its definetely an issue worth looking at

An old UK english keyword of mine ranked #1, which the page was nowhere to be seen under US spelling. I imagine using the US spelling I wouldn't be #1 because of all the American sites out there....


 2:30 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

B.of.LAN & Woz,

definetly a topic worth being raised, i can't help spelling in the Queens English, i live in the UK and for the companies that i have done sites for, they are UK based, with mostly UK and European customers, except one, which is US and i got told off for my flagrent missuse of S's instead of Z's. I know for the UK companies, with mainly UK customers, they have been schooled English, from the UK and Europe. Where as for the US site, then it has to be US English.

However, the way the search engines see this, could either be dealt with regional filters or not at all ! i don't personally know, but i am in the process of building a big site for the company i work for, though for the domestic UK market, i will have to incorporate US word variations, until i can get the US.com together, to counteract US companies in a similar market place, I.E. dont want to miss any sale's.


 2:31 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

>I imagine using the US spelling I wouldn't be #1 because of all the American sites out there....

The only way to guarantee you Won't be #! is not to try!

BTW, a little OT, but is it Dictionary or Glossary? Another question I cogitate.

selected definitions from Dictionary.com

. A book listing the words of a language with translations into another language.
. A book listing words or other linguistic items in a particular category or subject with specialized information about them: a medical dictionary.

. an alphabetical list of technical terms in some specialized field of knowledge; usually published as an appendix to a text on that field

I have always thought of a Dictionary being about a particular language, and a Glossary being about a particular Subject. The other factor being that a Dictionary is usually stand alone, whereas a Glossary is an adjunct to a larger work.

But then, to misquote Gershwin,

"You say Dictionary, I say Glossary,
Lets call the whole thing off.."


brotherhood of LAN

 2:51 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

To me - glossary and dictionary are the same word, though only my interpretation :)

Woz, since your going to list my dictionary on the glossarist, i suggest calling A.N.Other sites glossaries, and mine a dictionary, this way anyone looking for a dictionary can be 100% sure that they will fine one...MINE!!

Whoever would want to look for a glossary anyway :) still, its another keyword for my dictionary page!



 3:03 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

HeHe, you would have very little edge BOL as the use of parallel terminology seems to be somewhat wide spread. In any case, this is getting a little too far off topic. Lets get back to UK US English.


brotherhood of LAN

 3:26 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

ok Woz ;)

Example - I run a page that looks at cell specialisation, where the UK spelling is used throughout

Question - including cell specialiZation as a keyword, how would that affect anything? i.e. if the likes of Google can find the word "specialiZation" on my page then why would it deem any keywords relevant?

i.e. how do I accomodate the spelling differences without creating new pages. Do you think adding an <alt> tag to some of the links on the page is a good idea?

Essentially, I wouldnt want anything visible getting in the way of this problem!!

i.e. preferably not have to re-write content in any way to accomodate the "incorrect" US spellings ! :)

Any suggestions welcome

Salesmaster II

 5:37 am on Feb 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Use Both versions in Key-Words

I recently put a site to the top with the keywords "Acomadation Bath Uk". I was quite suprised as I had little content.
Later I realise accommodation has 2 c's and 2 m's(here in the Uk anyway).
Knowing I was not alone in that listing for the spelling "acomodation", I revisited the listings, and looked at the source of my competitors: Some like me had made the same mistake. Others had capitalised on both keywords "accommodation & acommodation" (so I did the same). If you add to that the variables of 1 or 2 m's, there become actually 4 combinations of this word.

I think what I am getting at is this... Irrespective to language, surfers like me (not too hot on spelling) are generating many leads for webmasters PURPOSELY going after spelling mistakes.

I therefore suggest if your keyword is that important, then use both versions in keywords. Language irrespective.

Come to think of it.. If your target market is in the UK, then I suggest that ANY keyword that uses a "Z" anywhere(other than first letter), should be replaced with an "s" for us Brits.

As for Euroland, they may be close by, but many of them learn "American" language. You'd be suprised how many Germans with American accents I met on my travels.


 7:08 am on Feb 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

One way around this UK/US english is advertising with Overture. Overture tends to take the english spelling and deliver the american results as well.

I wouldnt be suprised if Google would come with the same - or at least the option of doing so.

In some other thread I read that GoogleGuy said that Google are in the second development stage of their categorisation/theming utility. It would be neat if they included the US of UK spelling results in that option as one of the categories.

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