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Oban International

SEO, Social Media, Testing

The many faces of English

Local business uses differences between UK and US to target different markets

It is obvious that a UK-based website targeting French people should be available in French. It may be less obvious, however, that a UK-based website targeting Americans should be converted into American English.

Is there much of a difference between the two Englishes?

Basingstoke business Allo France, offering tips and tricks for Paris attractions to English travellers, thinks yes. They have hired an international search engine optimisation (SEO) company Oban Multilingual to optimise their website for British and US English.

Oban’s director, Greig Holbrook, says that there are some important differences between optimising for British and US English. For example, US searchers will use the word ‘vacation’ in searches, whereas British searchers tend to use the word ‘holiday’.

“In order to optimise a site for both cultures,” says Greig, “both keywords must be visible to search engines.”

UK websites targeting American audiences should be wary, he adds, of British English words that are not used in the US. Such words include “full-stop” (Americans say ‘period’), “whilst” (which sounds archaic in American English), lorry (truck), queue (line-up), etc.

This is Allo France’s first time using SEO. The US is a relatively new market for them, but they are already getting attract more visitors to the site from the UK.

Using international SEO allows them to do this at a lower cost than using Google Adwords, as they had done in the past.

Laurie Pruvost, managing director of Allo France, has high hopes for the SEO campaign. “We certainly hope that it will at least double the number of visitors,” she says.

“We have more orders which actually come through from people who do not click on sponsored search than people who do. I do believe that it’s going to work.”