Do Spelling and Grammar Matter for SEO?

I get unfriended on Facebook a lot. This is because I take it upon myself to correct grammatical errors in posts. I know that it’s kind of snarky, but I believe that things should be proof-read before they are displayed publicly. I also believe that unless mistakes are acknowledged, people will continue to make them.

The problem that my grammar-Nazi tactics employ when writing for the web is that I want the content I create to be searchable… even for those who can’t spell what they’re looking for correctly. Let’s face it; even native English speakers don’t have the greatest grasp on grammar and spelling. So, do I have to misspell things in order to rank for commonly misspelled search terms? How much do spelling and grammar really matter for SEO copywriting?

Although spelling and grammar are not currently used by Google as a direct signal for ranking site quality, it may influence other factors that determine page rank. For instance, if a user stumbles upon a page that is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, they will likely leave the site fairly quickly without engaging. This will hurt the bounce rate, which is a contributing factor to page rank.

In a web query with Matt Cutts from Google, he explains that sites considered reputable by Google tend to have better spelling than poorer ranking sites. This is likely due to the fact that poorly written content generally doesn’t get read and typically only appears on low quality sites. Poor copywriting can also hurt SEO strategies to share content and get links back.

In terms of purposely misspelling things to nab a few grammatically inept searchers, it’s simply not worth the risk. This was a tactic used by some “SEO strategists” several Google algorithm updates ago. It is mostly ineffective because the overuse of misspelled SEO keywords has since been identified as spam. Now, misspelled SEO keywords can actually lower the worth of a website.

Furthermore, the evolution of autocorrect now has the ability to correct errors in keyword searches before, during and even after a search is executed. Check out what happens when I attempt to search for a misspelled Subaru “Forrester.”

Even though I have misspelled the name of the vehicle in the search bar, Google already begins displaying results with the correct spelling.

I searched for the incorrectly spelled “Forrester,” but Google recognized this and instead retrieved results for the correct spelling of the vehicle.

As time goes on, the sophistication of autocorrect and search spelling correction are only expected to increase. The importance of spelling and grammar are also expected to increase when it comes to page rank, as they are a major contribution to the perceived quality of a site’s content. Since spelling and grammar do matter when it comes to SEO, don’t forget to proofread before you post!


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