How do you spell s.e.o?

I was a little dissapointed listening today to the otherwise excellent SEO Rockstars podcast site-review program, with guest s.e.o. expert Chris Boggs, when Boggs pointed out amongst the failings of one site the fact that they had ‘spelt optimization wrong’  [Chris has been in touch to point out he was actually being ‘tongue in cheek’ – see his comments below].

Wrong because they had used the standard British spelling for optimisation that is.

Now you could argue that the largest online public in English is in the US and so it makes sense to use standard American spelling when copywriting. You could also argue that the target market involved was undoubtedly American, and for that reason the spelling should not have opted for standard British spelling.

What you can’t do is say flat out that ‘optimisation’ is a misspelling of ‘optimization’. It’s not, and there are plenty of cases where it’s the most appropriate spelling. For example, if you’re dealing with an Academic market in Europe where cultural sensitivities might suggest that things are, in fact, the other way around – that ‘optimization’ is an incorrect American-ism.

Don’t get me wrong. Boggs is an expert with lots of sound advice, but that slip of the tongue seems to me to be indicative of a widespread problem where the world wide web is considered to operate in just one cultural setting – a North American one. It doesn’t.

Interestingly if you type ‘search engine optimisation’ into google you don’t get their suggested spelling link. It could be because Google is a world wide company that does have to deal in cultural sensitivites. More likely though is the fact that the search pulls up about 41,400,000 results (a search for ‘search engine optimization’ pulls up 49,100,000 results).

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