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October 30, 2009

The SEO of colloquialisms: Is it worth it?

If you follow Jaimy on Twitter, you likely saw her RT the AP Stylebook’s notation of the correct reference to ‘daylight saving time’-as opposed to the incorrect, yet more common plural of ‘daylight savings time.’

Andrea WisdorfHer tweet reminded me of a recent blog post I read by Susana Speier on the Search Engine Journal, entitled ‘Daylight Savings 2009 Optimized.’

In her post, Speier uses the example of daylight saving to illustrate some important SEO insight. Specifically, she explains that for optimization, any post or Website making reference to daylight saving benefits more from the incorrect term than the correct one, both in copy and in tags.

Speier shares that ‘According to Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool, the global monthly search volume for ‘Daylight Savings’ is 1,000,000. The grammatically correct ‘Daylight Saving’ global monthly search volume, on the other hand, is a mere 368,000.’

This makes sense-I rarely hear people leave off the ‘s.’ I don’t even leave off the ‘s’ and I know better. Therefore, it’s not surprising that someone using an internet search to seek information on the topic likely searches the same incorrect phrase.

This interesting point raises an even more intriguing question: When developing Web copy for maximum SEO, is it really acceptable to sacrifice grammar or style in exchange for visibility?

The writer and etymologist in me wants to sob uncontrollably while shouting ‘WHAT HAVE WE BECOME?!’ Yet, the marketer in me recognizes the value of SEO and thinks ‘Well-.maybe-.’

I don’t know-I’m torn. I can see many instances of this being acceptable-more so on a blog than a Website. But I also cringe at some of the colloquialisms out there. What do you think?