Thursday, December 1, 2011

Misspelling... on purpose

Graphic from Carey's presentation

This morning, Carey Gatz, Online Marketing Supervisor at online pharmacy, gave first-year Creative Communications students a valuable primer in search engine optimization ("SEO").

As an online pharmacy,'s business success relies heavily on its customers' ability to find it on the web -- so Carey Gatz and his team always need to stay on top of evolutions in search engine technology. They need to understand what the search engines are looking for, and how they look for what they're looking for, so's site can be set up to earn the best possible search rankings.

Advising students to misspell?

In CreComm, misspellings can be very expensive -- because professional communicators just have to be able to spell. It's pretty tough to make a career of communications without that key skill.

But as Carey pointed out this morning, if you're hoping to help your customers find you online, it's a good idea to include common misspellings of your keywords in your site's tags (where no-one can see them). 

The sad fact is that typos happen, and sometimes spelling isn't your customers' strongest suit. But that doesn't mean you don't want to serve them!

I'm guessing's hidden tags might include "words" like perscription and prescriptin. They might also include slang terms for commonly-used medications, which the companies don't want to strengthen by giving them credibility on their sites…. but which customers might use to search for them.

The key is to help your customers find you in an ocean of competition.

Again, as always, know your audience

Along with his point about intentional misspelling, Carey pointed out that since many of the company's customers are American, uses American spelling. So while the company's headquarters is located in a Winnipeg neighbourhood, the site might talk about a customer's neighborhood.

Think these things don't matter? Think again. 

If you want your publics to be able to find your site using search engines, you have to start by using their language.