No matter where you live, even if you are in the United States and all of your audience is in the US or even just your own town there can be language that changes from one region to another and even one city to another.
Local Languages Examples
- Trunk vs Boot
- Lighting Bugs vs Fireflies
- Garage Sale vs Yard Sale vs Tag Sale vs Rummage Sale
- Coke vs. Pop vs Soda vs Very Wrong Answers!!
- Yintz vs. You All vs. Ya’ll vs even more
- Gym Shoes vs Sneakers vs Tennis Shoes
- Examples above are from Josh Katz’s book, Speaking American.
How Language Impacts Keyword Research
Tools and keyword research can only take you so far and then you need to localize your data. A tool may say that sneakers gets X searches and gym shoes gets Y so go with sneakers. What if your audience is who searches gym shoes? The data is wrong.
As you write copy the examples covered may not impact you but there may be similar differences in your own region and industry. Are you a hoagie shop or a sub shop?
Regional and Language Impacts to Writing
Similar to the video to how someone says “Illinois” and “Chicago” things can change based on your regional dialect.
Below is an example of how many dialects there are (and I was told about many that were missed too) just over in the United Kingdom. Give a listen to get an idea of just how different language (spoken and written) can change in very small areas.
Streets, Cars, Shoes, Shopping, All the Things
As you write your site’s copy or an ad think about who you are targeting and where they are from. Will someone know what you are talking about? Are you targeting people from out of town? Localization and translation isn’t just for when you are doing International keyword research or for other languages but also think about your target audience and words they may use.
Even if none of these examples impact you the whole idea is to speak the language do think about your marketing speak compared to what your customers are saying to your customer service team, sales team and what they actually are searching for online.
Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Welcome to another exciting episode of the business of digital podcast, featuring your host, Matt silt and Dave roar. Hey guys, excited to have you on another one of these business of digital podcast episodes. And as always, we have Dave over there, how’s it going, bud?
Dave Rohrer: [00:00:18] It is going, it is going crazy for the two of us trying to figure out places to record.
Matt Siltala: [00:00:23] Yes, I’m trapped in the closet right now. So I apologize. To anyone listening, if the normal great sound that I have is not up to par
Dave Rohrer: [00:00:34] something about contractors and a week behind on flooring two weeks behind. Oh three. Oh, that’s it. So
Matt Siltala: [00:00:42] anyway, hopefully we’re going to find out something today, but yeah.
House was pretty torn up. And so I appreciate you guys dealing with us, but yeah, I’m glad that, uh, you went ahead and started the, you just stopped us from our chat earlier and said, Hey, we need to be recording. So yeah, this has been a fun one already. And so I’m [00:01:00] looking forward to getting into this one, but what we’re going to dive into today guys is why brands need to always think a local and they’ve had a pretty good exercise going.
And this was based on a tweet that you saw, uh, this idea, right? Dave,
Dave Rohrer: [00:01:14] it was based on a tweet, which is based on a book that some people have probably heard of. Um, it’s called speaking American by Josh Katz. And over the last couple years, I think I’ve seen variations of this or some of this data pop up every now and then.
And I just happened to see it. I don’t know, last couple of weeks. Oh yeah. This is original. This Facebook post I found, which has a bunch of stuff is from 2017 when the book came out. So we’ve all seen it from time to time, but it’s still interesting. Um, yeah. Um, Oh, I was grilling you. So here here’s some examples, depending on where you live in the U S so this is just us other places call it.
Well, here’s an example. What do you call where you put the stuff in your car? Like if you were to open up and put your groceries in it, what do you [00:02:00] call it?
Matt Siltala: [00:02:01] Oh, we call it a trunk.
Dave Rohrer: [00:02:02] Yeah, unless you’re in the UK, then it’s the boot. So, you know, the boot. We have happy hour, they have tea time. Like, you know, um, although I do know some of my UK friends that do I enjoy happy hour as well.
Matt Siltala: [00:02:19] They’ve been to America too.
Dave Rohrer: [00:02:21] Yeah, that there’s, there’s probably that. So here’s another example. Do you call it fireflies or lightning bugs?
Matt Siltala: [00:02:27] Fireflies, of course,
Dave Rohrer: [00:02:29] because you’re on the West coast. We call it lightening bugs here.
Matt Siltala: [00:02:32] Yep. Interesting.
Dave Rohrer: [00:02:35] Um, Do you call it a tag sale, rummage sale yard sale, or garage sale?
Matt Siltala: [00:02:42] Well, this one’s tough because we kind of are a mix between yard and garage garage sale here. But I would say probably mostly garage sale,
Dave Rohrer: [00:02:50] which is funny because Arizona, Utah, where, where you’ve also you’re up in New Mexico, you kind of live in amongst where it’s a [00:03:00] bit like hazy. They covered both of it.
It seems like parts of Arizona is yard sale part is garage sale.
Matt Siltala: [00:03:07] Oh, well, Hey, I fit the thing. Perfect then.
Dave Rohrer: [00:03:10] Yeah. Cause you’re kind of like, I don’t know. Um, pop soda, Coke, Coca Cola or soft drink
Matt Siltala: [00:03:18] soda.
Dave Rohrer: [00:03:19] Yup. And we call it poppy
Matt Siltala: [00:03:21] and I ended up calling it. I mean, not that, not all the time. I’d say soda most of the time, but.
Every once in a while, like I do refer to it as I need a Coke, no matter what
Dave Rohrer: [00:03:30] Coke seems to be. The one universal one soft drink is a weird, like really small group in the East coast. Yeah. I’ve never
Matt Siltala: [00:03:38] referred to it as that.
Dave Rohrer: [00:03:40] Like, would you like a soft drink? You mean a pop, like, you know, and then up here, you mean Coke is headquartered in Atlanta.
So it makes sense. That’s where they got cut
Matt Siltala: [00:03:49] in the words of happy Gilmore. If I spoke like that, I’d have to kick my own, you know, I don’t know if you remember that part from happy Gilmore. If I dress like that, I have to kick my own. [00:04:00] Just sorry for all you people that call it soft drinks. I’m not
Dave Rohrer: [00:04:04] very, very small group that called says Yence Pittsburgh.
Um, I should ask, we should ask mr. McGinnis. Who’s from Pittsburgh, uh, parts of New York, Jersey and Pennsylvania. They say use,
Matt Siltala: [00:04:17] what are we talking about?
Dave Rohrer: [00:04:18] You guys or y’all
Matt Siltala: [00:04:21] Oh, you guys.
Dave Rohrer: [00:04:22] Yeah. The only place that y’all shows up is the South. And it’s literally like really, there is a distinct border between the quote unquote, North and South where y’all and you guys,
Matt Siltala: [00:04:33] I know.
And I only say y’all want to make in front of y’all that are from down there
Dave Rohrer: [00:04:38] except Kentucky, because Kentucky is silly and they say you all, but they’re also right on the border. Like smashed
Matt Siltala: [00:04:46] fun fact. My, um, half of my heritage or my, my mom, that’s where. That’s where we all come from Kentucky, but I used to, but I’ve heard that there’s an East or West side of [00:05:00] Kentucky.
And depending on which side you are, you’re, you’re judged. And so I don’t know exactly what side we’re on, so I’m not going to let you judge
Dave Rohrer: [00:05:07] me. Someone’s judging you cause I’m sure they know. All right, last one. And then we’ll actually get into why the heck this matters. Gym shoes, sneakers or tennis shoes.
Matt Siltala: [00:05:18] Sneakers.
Dave Rohrer: [00:05:21] You are not from the East coast, the Northeast.
Matt Siltala: [00:05:25] How did she know?
Dave Rohrer: [00:05:27] Cause that’s the only place according to this that says sneakers, although you are a sneaker head. So I think that may be why
Matt Siltala: [00:05:34] I
Dave Rohrer: [00:05:35] That that
Matt Siltala: [00:05:38] referring
Dave Rohrer: [00:05:38] to shoes, most of the U S has tennis shoes except Chicago and Cincinnati where we say gym shoes.
Which is true.
Matt Siltala: [00:05:47] I’m just trying to think. Cause like
Dave Rohrer: [00:05:48] I grew up saying gym shoes, cause you warmed the gym or you, you know, you didn’t wear them to play tennis. You wear your tennis shoes to play tennis. I wore shoes, you know, or I wear my basketball shoes, like literally there’s [00:06:00] words and they have meanings.
Matt Siltala: [00:06:01] Well, yeah, I mean, I could see that I’ve used tennis shoes a lot, but I would say that I’ve been heavily influenced over the years of, of being kind of a sneaker head that I do call them sneakers. So that’s a good point there.
Dave Rohrer: [00:06:14] And there’s a bunch of other examples. Like the last one I know that was like semi-truck truck, 18 Wheeler tractor trailer.
It all depends on where in the U S you are.
Matt Siltala: [00:06:24] Yeah.
Dave Rohrer: [00:06:25] And I thought that was interesting because so often when you’re doing keyword research, um, for my clients, you know, I don’t have to worry about these, but when I work with local ones, I do start asking more questions around. What do people call things? Like, is there a weird, like, you know, as I dig in it’s like, is there a weird name for this?
Or what do people really say? Or how do they say it? You know, give me some direction. So when I do keyword research and it comes back fireflies and lightening bugs, which one is actually, which one will [00:07:00] make us look like, we actually know what we’re talking about. And we’re really local. And it’s not like for some national brand or some consultant based at somewhere else that has no idea how the local speak.
Matt Siltala: [00:07:11] Well, you know, it’s fascinating for me to think about all of this because as you know, I, I lived a couple of years in the Fiji islands and it was always amazing to me. Like it’s just a small Island, but when I’d go to one place way over, you know, on one of the other islands, cause it’s a con you know, consistent like 300 islands, but only a couple big, main ones.
But no matter where I travel there was like, they have their own different dialects. And like different areas where, you know, they would leave this word off. Like you basically have the same exact language, except certain words would be left off and the way it was pronounced. And so you’d have to like pay a little bit closer attention to exactly what they were saying.
Cause they were leaving certain words out at the same thing. And so, I don’t know. It’s just fascinating to think about that
Dave Rohrer: [00:07:58] cargo [00:08:00] Chicago. Cause I say, I say Chicago. Yeah, just the way I say certain words like Chicago. Um, Illinois, not Illinois the, or is a, what is it? It’s the Midwestern vowel shift or something like that, I think is what it’s called.
It’s theirs. It’s something of all shift. And it’s people in the Midwest specifically in certain areas say certain words, a certain way, you know, much, much more like we were just talking about, you know, completely different words. We just pronounce things differently. And there was another video I found and I actually pinged like sign assignments, not on Facebook.
I pinged a bunch of friends like Jim banks, who we’ve had on before and a couple other people. And I said, Hey, how right are these? Because over in Ireland and UK and all over there, it was, um, it was like 30. This one guy did like 30 or 35 accents and he just kept hopping from city. The city just how [00:09:00] different it is.
Wow. And a lot of them were like, Oh yeah, that one was really good. That one was bad. He also missed an name. They started naming off other like regional accents that were missed. I’m like between Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, like Northern Ireland, like all these it’s like a minute long. And it’s just him saying different things in these different accents and how different they are.
It’s not that big of a space. Like it’s not that big of a, you know, This is countries are not that big, but that’s
Matt Siltala: [00:09:32] what I think about with like, like when I watch shows and they’re from Wells and they speak like this well. Yeah. And I’m like, I had no idea that that was, I mean, I couldn’t understand it.
It’s a whole different language.
Dave Rohrer: [00:09:46] Oh, and some of my friends, when they, um, commented on it, some of them were like, Oh my God, I cannot. That accent he did from Beaubla was right on. And he’s like, you can’t understand a single word. They say, I’m like, that person lives like 150 miles away [00:10:00] from you and you can’t understand their accent.
And they were like, Nope.
Matt Siltala: [00:10:05] Yeah, that’s funny.
Dave Rohrer: [00:10:06] Um, which is a little bit off topic, but I mean, just think about that. Just what words people say within. A single country can completely change. And there’s other countries in Europe and even in the U S or, you know, Canada, for example, if you go to Quebec, it’s French, English, English is spoken, but really French has spoken more.
The first time I ever went to Bob. Which is, well, whatever it is now, bank of America, ballpark, what is it now? Chase. Field. Yeah. Yup. Shows you how long ago I was there. Um, it was the first time for me going to a stadium where literally every announcement was in English and Spanish and every sign was in English and Spanish.
And that was like, I don’t know. 1520 years ago or whatever. It was like the first time I was there, it was a long time ago, but it was just, it was like weird to me. I mean, it didn’t, I noticed it, but I didn’t [00:11:00] really like, it didn’t register and all of a sudden, Oh my God, I started hearing announcements and stuff and he started paying attention.
I was like, Whoa, everything’s in both languages because of the location.
Matt Siltala: [00:11:09] Yeah.
Dave Rohrer: [00:11:11] And I think when we. Kind of with the whole point of this was, was
Matt Siltala: [00:11:15] I was going to say, how do we tie this into life?
Dave Rohrer: [00:11:19] It’s a rambling well from keyword research, for how many, how you phrase things, your copy, I’m on a landing page, your copy for your product pages, your product for, you know, services like depending on where you are and what you sell.
You know, if, if you’re a national brand versus if you’re a local brand, you know, You might be able to get away with saying sneakers versus tennis shoes versus something else versus gym shoes. If you’re targeting certain local places, you know, if you’re a national brand, you probably won’t do that. But for those local brands that can, or that are trying to speak to the constituents and customers and prospects [00:12:00] there, I think it goes a long way.
Matt Siltala: [00:12:02] I was going to say, how tricky can we get in this? Because we all know with like social, like we can. We can target very specific things, people with, with ads and stuff like that. And I almost wonder if it, it would be beneficial with certain things like that. Like with your speech sneakers example, you know, to target a certain demographic of people on the West coast with tennis shoes versus sneakers on the West or East coast.
Um, I wonder like how into it, some people get with their, with their social ads or just their ads in general and stuff like
Dave Rohrer: [00:12:33] that. I just like everything, I would always say test
Matt Siltala: [00:12:37] it. Yeah.
Dave Rohrer: [00:12:39] I mean, I keep hearing, I’m the one rock station, whenever I’m in my car, I don’t have satellite radio. So I get to hear the local stations and some people, some people still go in cars and, you know, listen to the radio
Matt Siltala: [00:12:50] radio.
Dave Rohrer: [00:12:50] I know. You’re like, what do you mean leave the house. Um,
Matt Siltala: [00:12:54] but you’re leaving the house,
Dave Rohrer: [00:12:55] but there’s a local place that is always talking about, get your CDL, get [00:13:00] your license for this. And they always say, you know, drive a semi truck. Now, if they had multiple locations in there had some in the South or somewhere else, I would honestly hope that they would test 18 Wheeler versus semi semi-truck tractor trailer, depending on if they’re in the Northeast.
Because then they would be localizing their pitch, their sales copy, their, you know, just everything so that it, someone hears it. It doesn’t seem weird.
Matt Siltala: [00:13:33] Yeah. Cause it’s, I was just gonna say that, cause it seems so funny to me because like, I don’t even associate the term tractor trailer with like, I’m thinking of something else.
Like I don’t even think of an 18 Wheeler or a semi truck, obviously 18 Wheeler or somebody’s truck. I think of the same thing, but. But, yeah, it’s just weird how it’s all the same thing, but yet it’s so different.
Dave Rohrer: [00:13:53] Well, and there’s another thing. If you have an ad and I’m thinking about sh there are certain, I don’t know if [00:14:00] Chicago is, or they think a lot of places have this, but I could, from the house I grew up in to the highway or to this city, I could tell you two names for almost every single street.
So you’re going to go get on, um, grand Avenue. And then as you’re going down, one 32, you’re going to pass, you know, Elmhurst road, which is 83. And as you’ve turned on to 83, you’re going to make a right. And then you’re going to keep going down the road. And then you’re going to hit, uh, Milwaukee Avenue. Now, as you’re driving down 21, you want to make sure you don’t miss the turnoff.
To go down, you know, whatever highway, but like literally every major road. So there’s Ogden, which is 34 Dundee road, which is, uh, 58. Um, you know, every road here is a main street. Oh yeah. And also, um, grand Avenue slash one 32 is also main street in some [00:15:00] places, you
Matt Siltala: [00:15:02] know what I mean?
Dave Rohrer: [00:15:03] So again, that’s local.
Matt Siltala: [00:15:06] Well, well, you just got me thinking of something else again, because think about this. They think about how many, uh, Midwest or, or Chicago transplants we have here in Arizona. I mean, think about all the, I mean the Chicago Cubs spring train here, and they did a big push because there’s so many people from.
That area that come out here and we have Portillo.
Dave Rohrer: [00:15:31] Yeah. Portillo’s Lumana Annie’s Geno’s yeah, we
Matt Siltala: [00:15:34] have all that. And yeah,
Dave Rohrer: [00:15:36] two brothers bought a brewery down there, I think, just so that they can retire vacation, have a business excuse to go down.
Matt Siltala: [00:15:43] So that’s my point. You’ve got to think about that when you’re, when you’re, um, you know, figuring out the kind of words to use.
And do you use words that will attract those kinds of people? I guess that all depends on the specific, uh, Thing that you’re promoting or whatnot, but, but [00:16:00] yeah, it brings an interesting dynamic one that, uh, one would normally think of, I think, I guess,
Dave Rohrer: [00:16:05] well, I think when people do keyword research at a national level, for at least in the U S you don’t think you don’t worry about localization, you don’t worry about miscommunicated or misunderstanding like you would, if you were going okay.
Well, here’s the keywords that normally people search for an English. Now we’re going to target. Spanish speakers in the U S or we’re going to target someone in Quebec, not just Canada or, you know, we’re going to go for international keywords. Now we need someone to translate it. We need them to translate it.
Not just direct, but you know, there’s localization. I don’t think people think about localization when you’re just targeting here in the U S or even in your own country. Like the example we did with, you know, within just England or Wales.
Matt Siltala: [00:16:50] And, and other factors, if you’ve lived in other places or things have changed like that, like, for example, when I first moved to Fiji, they would call the [00:17:00] apartments or whatever that you lived in flats.
And that came from their influence when they were, um, Ellen or whatever by England. And of course everyone over there calls it a flat. And so like even I catch myself over here when I’m talking about things like that. I’m like, Oh, you’re gonna check out that flat. And people look at me like, what, what are you talking about?
I’m like, yeah.
Dave Rohrer: [00:17:23] Is it talking about an apartment or condo?
Matt Siltala: [00:17:26] Exactly. And so there’s that influence that, that mixes into the, to that there. And so I guess, um, you know, my final thoughts on this, uh, before I pass over to you for your final thoughts would be like, you know, this is just that kind of thinking, um, that brands need to be doing and figuring out like, It, it, it all goes back to what they’re selling specifically.
It goes back to the kind of crowd that they’re trying to get. It goes back to, you know, the different influences that are around, just everything that we’ve talked about and just factor that into your ads. And [00:18:00] like you said to Dave test, you know, if you’re curious to see if that, if you’re selling, if you’re selling tennis shoes, You know, what, what gets you a better than are on ROI with certain areas that you’re in?
Is it tennis shoes or is it sneakers? Is it whatever else? Basketball shoes. So those are just some final thoughts and I’ll leave it to you to wrap it up.
Dave Rohrer: [00:18:23] Yeah. I think the examples we gave most likely do not impact anyone’s e-commerce or lead gen type things, but think about. What your customers and prospects call things.
And that’s what usually what goes for me, it goes back to it’s like, look at what people are actually searching in your PPC data. Look at what the actual career queries are in your being web master or Google webmaster tools. Listen to sales calls and listen, two customer service calls. What are people calling your product?
What are they calling your service? What, how are they referencing things? Like just, how are they [00:19:00] speaking about things? For me understanding what they’re calling it, whether it’s a regional thing or an industry thing, it’s all the same to me. It’s I want to be able to speak to them and not just Mark marketing vomit on them
Matt Siltala: [00:19:16] marking.
Dave Rohrer: [00:19:17] Yeah. It’s usually what it ends up being. It’s marketing vomit. Like come look at our do Hickey that, you know, we’ve named something that has no. Impact on what it does or what problem it solves, but we thought it was really cool. And here’s the name of it? And you’ll hear this ad and you have no idea what the heck it does, or like Pamela and who does, like, I swear once a week, what are they selling in this ad?
And she’ll post on Twitter, you know? And everyone’s just guessing it’s the, it’s the table, it’s the paintings. It’s the rug we don’t know, you know, and it’s.
Matt Siltala: [00:19:51] The glove or the pants or the, just some weird the golfer looking.
Dave Rohrer: [00:19:56] Yeah. Like no idea, no idea. And that’s what you’ll come [00:20:00] across. So. All
Matt Siltala: [00:20:01] right, well, um, we appreciate you guys listening, and as always, if you, if you enjoy this podcast, please go to iTunes and give us a five star review.
And for Dave Rohrer with Northside metrics, I met sociable with avalanche media and we appreciate you joining us on this podcast. Bye.