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SEO: How Poor Grammar Can Hurt Your Performance

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Written By
Digital Content Team

What kind of message is your agency sending to prospects and customers? To search engines? If your message contains typographical or grammatical errors, chances are it’s hurting your business more than you think.

The presence of even minor spelling or grammar mistakes can result in negative consequences for your business’ brand reputation, search engine optimization (SEO), and in turn, your bottom line. You may be asking yourself questions like “Why is it so important to use proper grammar online?”, and “Aren’t things like spelling and grammar not important to internet users?”.

The truth is that when your business uses poor grammar, it sends red flags to customers, prospects, and search engines. Still don’t believe that you need to double check your grammar? Here are some more details on how your search engine optimization (SEO) and site performance can be hurt by these simple typographical mistakes.

  • User Satisfaction and SEO: The main goal of search engines is to make users happy. So, it makes sense that user experience and satisfaction is a factor used by Google to determine ranking. While there are many factors that contribute to user experience, it can also be harmed by spelling and grammatical errors. Positive user experience can not only help improve search engine ranking, but it can also help increase the amount of time users stay on your site. Many people don’t realize that Google actually measures whether people click and stay on your site, or if they leave your site quickly to check a new one in the search results. Don’t you want to do everything you can to make users stay on your page?
  • Current and future focuses on quality in SEO: The Google Panda Update (2013) is primarily focused on penalizing websites that are low quality. This includes ones that are considered to be spam, or have duplicate content. Since typos and poor grammar typically indicate poor quality or spam, it would make sense for Google to take these errors into consideration. According to the head of Google’s Webspam team, Matt Cutts, spelling and grammar are not currently used as direct signals in search rankings. However, Google does currently analyze website content for quality and reading level. This has lead many experts to believe that spelling and grammar quality may in fact become one of the many direct signals used by Google in the future, especially since Bing is already including spelling and grammatical errors in its algorithm to rank sites.
  • Credibility and SEO: Website credibility is a crucial factor when it comes to search engine optimization. While spelling may not be a direct signal right now for search engines, it does have an effect on how credible users believe your site to be. So, the more errors there are in your content, the more likely people will leave your site and go to another one. Also, Matt Cutts has mentioned that there is actually a correlation between PageRank, which is primarily measured by a website’s credibility, and the quality of a site’s spelling and grammar. While proper spelling in no way causes PageRank, it shows that the most reputable, well-ranking websites on Google are paying close attention to the quality of their content and double checking for errors before publishing.

So, it turns out all of the spelling and grammar you learned in school is actually an important ingredient to your business’ success online. And, it’s not only important for how search engines view your site, but also for how consumers view your site. In fact, one study showed that more than 40% of online users notice typographical errors, so it can really pay to check your grammar before publishing content online.

Be sure to check out the second blog in this series, in which we go into more detail about how poor grammar and spelling can negatively impact your agency’s brand reputation and ultimately, your profit.

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