Local lingo in a global market

A local client who sells their product around the world has a problem: Terminology in their industry is not consistent around the globe. What’s a website to do?

There are a few ways to do get your web site to be friendly to alternate terms. More Important ways to insert key words is to add them to the Title meta tag (the text that appears at the very top of your browser’s window) and the Description meta tag. You can also add them to the keyword meta tag, but remember that Google does not index that tag, even if other search engines do. But you may need to sacrifice some text already in there, since search engines will only look at the first 160 characters or so.

A really good strategy is to add a page that specifically addresses the alternative terms. An easy way you could do this through a case study of a non-North American client. In that case, you can write it using the local jargon. This gives you the option of having those alternate terms throughout the page, including the meta tags.

Adding the alternate terms into the image alt title is a good approach, too. But be careful your alt title is still relevant to the image. Maintain the spirit of the alt title, which is intended for people who have audible browsing turned on.

I also think there’s no harm in editing your web copy to insert some of the “foreign” terms. Some of those terms used more often in Europe/Britain are probably not unknown in North America. It also allows you to acknowledge your global market. Something as simple as “term x, also known as term Y” judiciously inserted will work.

What do you think? Join the conversation and leave a comment.

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