UK SERPs and American Spellings

UK SERPs and American Spellings

By Falkon Digital on January 28, 2010

Recently we published a post about how the Google UK SERPs were displaying American spellings in the results, in a post called What’s Google Got Against the UK. In this post it showed how if you entered the keyphrase Search Engine Optimisation, it would display American results and ask if you actually meant “Search Engine Optimization”. I’m sure Google had a lot of grief over this from all the UK SEO companies, and when I last checked the problem seemed to have been rectified. However, interestingly enough while performing my usual daily checks I noticed that if you used the keyword “optimisation” on it’s own or as part of another keyphrase (not involving the keywords “Search Engine”) that the problem actually still exists (see image below):

Google UK SERPs showing American spelling of optimisation i.e. optimization

You can see from the screenshot, that I have infact clicked the option to only search pages from the UK when searching for “optimisation”, but I’m still asked “Did you mean optimization?”. So although the immediate problem was fixed by getting the SEO companies off their back, it would seem that there is still an underlying problem with the UK / US spelling of certain keywords.

I wanted to test this a little further, so perhaps rather sadly (I know, I’m such a geek!) I tried a few other words that have different American alternatives including “colour”, “honour”, “favourite” etc (American spellings of these words do not have the letter “u” in them) but everything seemed ok. I tried a few more and eventually found another – “Memorise” was given the same prompt, “Did you mean memorize?”. Perhaps then the issue was spellings using a z / s replacement? Well I tried a few more like “analyse”, “criticise” etc but there were all ok. Interesting…

Although this may seem like a really minor issue, if your keywords were affected by this issue it could cause some real issues and potential loss in organic traffic. I would be interested to hear if anybody else has seen any other American results in the UK SERPs, or if their campaign has been affected as a result.