When creating blog posts or content for your website, you should always pay attention to the type of spelling you use. As you may know, Canadians and Americans spell certain words differently.
If you’re creating content directly for Canadians, you may want to stick to the Canadian spelling, as it can improve your SEO results.
We’ll explain how Canadian spelling affects SEO and how to receive positive results:
Understanding Canadian Spelling
As we mentioned, Canadians spell things differently than Americans. In fact, many countries have different ways of spelling the same words. If you’re planning on optimizing your website with Canadian spelling, you should learn the differences between Canadian and American diction.
Definition of Canadian Spelling
Canadian spelling comes from a combination of British and American rules. Some French-derived words that end with “or” or “er” typically retain British spelling. An example would be words like “Colour” and “Centre.” Some American words will use Anglo-French spelling, while Canadian words use British spelling.
Examples of Words That Are Spelled Differently in Canadian English Compared to American
Some different examples of Canadian and American words include:
- Behaviour (Canadian) and Behavior (American)
- Cheque (Canadian) and Check (American)
- Defence (Canadian) and Defense (American)
- Grey (Canadian) and Gray (American)
- Levelled (Canadian) and Leveled (American)
- Mould (Canadian) and Mold (American)
- Neighbour (Canadian) and Neighbor (American)
- Theatre (Canadian) and Theater (American)
The Main Differences between Canadian and American Spelling
As previously highlighted, Canadians tend to use British spelling, while Americans have a history of Anglo-French words. It’s not uncommon for many words to be spelled the same, but Canadian spelling is the product of settlers from Britain and France that influenced the language. The language is also influenced in part by the First Nations peoples, as some of their vocabulary made their way into Canadian spelling.
How Canadian Spelling Affects SEO
How Search Engines Interpret Canadian Spelling
Google determines what language your page is written in by simply reading it as a person would. As Google crawls your website, it identifies whether your page is meant for Canadian or American users.
Does Canadian Spelling Have a Positive or Negative Impact on Search Engine Rankings?
When Canadians use Google.ca rather than Google.com, the content displayed in the search results pertains to the specific country. That’s why it’s suggested by many SEO professionals that using one type of spelling throughout your content is an effective way to rank higher. When sites aren’t as attentive to their spelling and grammar, Google and other search engines may deem the page low-quality, which affects your ranking position.
If you want to rank in Canada as a reputable pool company or Chinese restaurant, you’ll want to ensure you’re developing content that’s suited for the country where your business is located.
The Potential Impact of Canadian Spelling on Click-through Rates and User Engagement
When optimizing your website for Canadians, you can expect your click-through rates and user engagement to do better than they would if you developed content with American spelling and entities.
For example, an online user in Canada is much more likely to use a search engine like Google.ca to find country-specific search results, especially for local entities. They may be less likely to click on a link that doesn’t relate to Canada or their search inquiries if the content looks like it belongs to a certain country. That can negatively impact your potential click-through rates and determine whether a user wants to engage with your website.
Implementing Canadian Spelling
Always refer to a dictionary or an editing tool like Grammarly when implementing language-specific phrases. That means proofreading and checking specific words to see if they match Canadian spelling before publishing written content and blogs.
Pros and Cons of Using Canadian Spelling for SEO
- Canadian spelling is best utilized for geotargeting purposes
- It appeals to a Canadian audience
- Canadian internet users are more likely to click on a Canada-based website instead of American
- Canadian spelling may deter a wider demographic or audience
- Canadian spelling may often get hit with errors on specific editing software
Best Practices for Using Canadian Spelling on Your Website
As mentioned, editing tools like Grammarly can identify different types of spelling. It often highlights when a specific word doesn’t match an American or Canadian dictionary. You can consult these types of tools when crafting content for your website and ensure the words you use relate to Canada.
Tips for Making Sure Your Website Is Accessible to Canadian and American Audiences
By now, you’ve probably figured out that most Canadian sites use a .ca domain. If you want to reach a broader audience, including our American neighbours, there are a few tips you can try.
- Use subdomains or directories for translated or localized content.
- Use hreflang tags to help Google understand what language is used.
- Implement a ccTLD URL structure for specific operations.
- Use keywords that appeal to a broader audience.
Remember, country-specific spelling is an important ranking factor if you want your website to succeed in Canada. If you require help crafting content that fits your specific location, contact the professional SEO team at First Rank. We can provide many services that help your site go up on search engine results pages.
Jacob Kettner is the owner and CEO of First Rank Inc., a digital marketing agency based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He currently sits on Manitoba Chamber of Commerce Small Business Advisor Council which assists people grow their small businesses in Manitoba.