One of my go-to phrases is “language is squishy.”
The writer part of me loves that language changes, and digs the freedom to use words like grrl and veepees in blog posts because, well, they are blog posts. And those are fun words. Even Scrabble is accommodating these new words born from the belly of the Internet. Sometimes those words may be appropriate for certain kinds of content. But much of the content I deal with is business-focused. The sites where our teams place content are generally newsy and mature. It’s important to use correct grammar, right? Or, is the language of AP Style disciples everywhere getting squishy as well? The editor in me wants to know.
I find myself asking things like, “email or e-mail?”
What’s the difference?
I recently had a client ask me how I differentiate between “heath care” and “healthcare.” I answered that I default to AP style guidelines. She then requested I use “healthcare” because it fit with their branding guidelines. Naturally, I obliged. But then I wondered what the SEO implications of these spellings were.
So, I Googled it.
Global monthly searches were the following:
Health care: 16,600,000
Well, big deal, right?
Actually it sort of is. Not for the purposes of being accurate within a blog article, but in the case of a keyword, YES. While the search volume is the same for each, “Health Care” is the more competitive phrase for anyone wishing to rank for it. It is also the preferred spelling according to the AP style guidelines. Everybody wins. And after a bit of research, I’ve noticed that the AP stylebook is not the stodgy word police I had been envisioning. Those guys are cool. More on that in a second.
First, check out the global monthly searches for this phrase:
Web site: 30,400,000
If you are a company looking to rank for this phrase, choosing and winning “website” is a much bigger victory. When I went to the AP Stylebook, I was expecting to see that they preferred “web site.” Nope. On April 16th, 2010, the AP stylebook announced “website” is now the standard. And how did they announce it? In a tweet. So hip and trendy. Are you following them?
Want to know if it’s “email” or “e-mail?” On March 18, 2011, the AP stylebook announced in another tweet that “email” is now the standard.
Going into this article, I figured I was going to be making a point about how AP Style guidelines were going to have to get on the SEO bandwagon, and change some things to reflect what’s good for our clients’ rankings. But, it turns out they already are on that bandwagon. Probably because they too, know that language is squishy.