SEO question: Soccer or Football?

There are some good SEO questions:

Apple or Mac?

IE8 or Internet Explorer 8?

E-mail or email?

For online marketers and SEO experts, this World Cup 2010 the greatest question of all is:

Should I optimize my English language sports website or blog with soccer or football?

The answer is: it all depends.

Depends on what?

Here are some insights into this critical question for the period June 11 – July 11, 2010.

Soccer or Football Search Trends through Google Trends

soccer versus football google searches

Google Trends analyzes a portion of Google web searches to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you enter, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. The graph above shows the searches from the terms “soccer” and “football” from 2004 to 2010, ranked by “football”.

When Google Trends detects a spike in the volume of news stories for a particular search term, it labels the graph and displays the headline of an automatically selected Google News story written near the time of that spike. Currently, there are 6 news that generated a spike in news stories (marked as A, B, C, D, E and F).

The 2 key years to observe are 2006 and 2010 because those are the years when the World Cup 2010 was held (2006: Germany and 2010: South Africa). However, this graph only provides 2 clear insights:

  1. On years when the World Cup is celebrated, the number of searches of “soccer” and “football” on Google tends to be closer in number that in non-World Cup years.
  2. The “soccer” news references volume is higher in 2010 that it was 2006.

Who is Searching for Football

countries searching for football

The blue indicates the volume of “football” searches, while the red indicates the volume of “soccer” searches.

The U.K. clearly dominates the search of “football” in Google with 8 of the top 10 cities in the world searching for this term.

top cities looking for football in google

Who is Searching for Soccer

Football purists might jump to say the United States, however the actual results are surprising.

top countries looking for soccer in google

The host country of the 2010 edition of the World Cup lead the pack in the search of “soccer” at Google. Surprisingly, the Canadians, Australians, and Irish are searching for “soccer” at Google more often than the Americans.

Despite its 5th position on the top countries looking for “soccer” at Google, still the U.S. has 5 out of the top 10 cities in the world.

top cities searching for soccer in google

What about Demand?

LinkWorth, a Dallas, Texas based company that specializes in search engine marketing, reports for the term “football” the following keywords that are currently (as of 06/18/2010) being bid for in their system:

football equipment

football memorabilia

football tickets

fantasy football

football odds

football jerseys

On the “soccer” side, there are only bids for: soccer goal.

While there is no guarantee that the presented football terms are strictly related to the FIFA sport and not to the NFL sport, it does appear that there is more SEO demand for football keywords than for soccer keywords.


So what is a SEO expert to do: soccer or football?

Here are some rules of thumb:

  • If you are optimizing your website for SEO and SEM within the United States, you must clearly optimize for “soccer”. ¬†Also, if you’re planning to purchase some keywords through Google Adwords, take a look at the prices in the following cities: Washington, D.C.; Richardson, TX; Seattle, WA; Dallas, TX and Chicago, IL. These are cities generating most searches for soccer in Google for the United States.
  • If you are optimizing your website for SEO and SEM for any other country in the world (except Canada and South Africa), you should optimize for “football”. If you’re planning to purchase some keywords through Google Adwords, take a look at the British market because it offers the lion’s share of the search engine market looking for “football”. However, be aware that you will need a considerable budget in order to efficiently compete in Google Adwords for this region.
  • In Canada, you need to optimize for both “soccer” and “football”.
  • No matter whether you optimize for “soccer” or “football’, the term “soccer goal” is a keyword to always keep in mind. Owners of YouTube channels featuring highlight reels of goals, pay close attention to all the possible variations of this keyword when selecting the tags for your videos.

Author: Damian Davila

Ideas and concepts from Damian Davila, Ecuatoriano thriving in Hawaii. Pro marketer and blogger. Find him at @idaconcpts on Twitter.

4 thoughts on “SEO question: Soccer or Football?”

  1. I am surprised there are not more comments in here….please if somebody has other sights or points to bring out about the post please share as i am fascinated in the subject…..

  2. Hahahahaha. You hit the nail on this one. This is what my SEO guy keeps yelling at me about for my soccer blog. I like your post it helps us new guys out and it gives me something to to talk about. Keep it up will be back..

  3. We are U.S. based soccer retailer, and push harder on the “soccer” keyword, as here “football” can be confused with American Football where you will waste time, effort and money if you are looking to sell soccer merchandise.
    Thank You

  4. i found your site through search engine.i like your web page content and very attractive theme.really i like this it.


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