Q and A: How Do I Tackle Regional Keyword Issues in SEO?

QuestionHey Kalena,

I’m trying to optimize a site for the first time. Its a fashion jewelry site. I have come up against a couple of stumbling blocks that I need a little clarification on. One is the target market – its a New Zealand website, but we want to target New Zealander’s, Australians and the rest of the world this brings up issues of spelling – do we focus on Jewellery (New Zealand/British spelling), Jewelry (US spelling, but where a lot of the current customers come from) or Jewellry (a common misspelling).

Secondly, I’m having a hard time trying to choose my keyword phrases. Silver jewelry and costume jewelry (which seems to be the most common way people search for fashion jewelry, even though fashion jewelry sounds so much more modern!! – found out through the Google Keyword tool) seem to be the best as they are well searched for. I want to be more specific however i.e *women’s silver jewelry*, or *silver jewellery nz* or *buy silver jewelry* etc. but the search volume according to the Google Keyword tool is well below 20 per day.

Can you please suggest what I should do in this situation?

Thank you!

Hi Mitchell

To answer your questions:

1) The regional spelling issue is a tricky one. There are a few ways you can approach this – do you have the .com as well as the regional Top Level Domains (TLD) .co.nz and .com.au? If so, you can use the American spelling on the .com domain and the British spelling on the regional domains. However, this may create duplicate content issues unless you block robots from the near-duplicate pages.

Alternatively, you can simply use the appropriate language version for your largest target market as the default throughout your site. For example, although we are based in New Zealand, our main target market for Search Engine College is the US, so we use American English throughout our web site. Most regional markets will understand that American English is common on the Internet, so you should not isolate them by doing this.

Another, trickier, option is to use British English on your main site to attract organic local search traffic and then create a Pay Per Click advertising campaign (e.g. Google AdWords) with tailored landing pages and ad text using American English to suit your other markets. Then, run your PPC campaign targeting only those countries where American English is used more commonly, making sure you block search engine robots from indexing your American English landing pages. You could do the reverse if you decide American English should be your default language.

As for misspellings? Those are fantastic for picking up extra traffic your competitors are missing. Best way to get that traffic is by targeting the misspelled keywords within your Pay Per Click campaign or by including the misspellings in your Page Titles and META Tags (the META Keywords tag is a particularly good place for them if you don’t want human visitors to see them).

2) You are spot on wanting to target the longer tail keyword phrases such as *women’s silver jewelry* and *buy silver jewelry* because it is these specific phrases that are more likely to bring you qualified visitors who are more ready to purchase. But the beauty of targeting these longer phrases is that they also contain the more popular shorter search terms such as *silver jewelry* and *women’s jewelry*. So, by default, you are also optimizing your web site for these shorter phrases by integrating the longer ones into your tags and page copy.

Choosing long tail phrases that contain more generic popular search ones is a great way to save valuable keyword real estate in your page titles and meta tags. For example, instead of having to include both *buy silver jewellery*, AND *silver jewellery* in your meta description tag, you only need to include the longer one as it covers both. A META Description tag of “Buy women’s silver jewelry from French Fashions” sounds a lot less redundant than “Buy silver jewelry and women’s silver jewelry and silver jewelry from French Fashions”, don’t you agree?

When researching keywords for multiple international markets, remember to use a keyword research tool that offers regional search data so you can pinpoint what persons are searching for in each country. Apart from regional spelling, regional jargon such as (accommodation vs lodging) can impact keyword search trends considerably.


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