Grammar and Spelling Mistakes – Do They Matter?

XDid the days of watching your commas, minding your semi-colons, and knowing it is “accidentally,” not “accidently,” end when you turned in your last term paper or put down the pencil? Does spelling and grammar matter to search engines, and will you be penalised for errors?

Is Spelling and Grammar a Factor in Your Ranking?

Yes, and no. And it depends. Bing’s Duane Forrester is clear with his search engine’s stance. In a blog post from February 2014, the Senior Product Manager writes:

…just as you’re judging others’ writing, so the engines judge yours. If you struggle to get past typos, why would an engine show a page of content with errors higher in the rankings when other pages of error free content exist to serve the searcher. Like it or not, we’re judged by the quality of the results we show. So we are constantly watching the quality of the content we see.

Google, too, wants to serve high-quality content. Typos and mistakes make it difficult to get through content, much less take it seriously. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, says that grammar and spelling are not among the over 200 direct signals that the search engine considers. But, he added, it can play a part in your PageRank. This is the measure of a site’s reputability, and egregious and consistent mistakes impact that.

We’re not talking about one mistake on 100 pages of great content or breaking “rules” by having sentence fragments, but rather serious misspellings and poorly constructed sentences all over the page. In addition to harming your PageRank, it can increase your bounce rate and decrease your conversion rate. Say a visitor clicks through to your site. He or she finds error after error and quickly bounces out. This is a signal to Google that your site may be of poor quality.

All of this boils down to the importance of having clean content that is as free from mistakes as possible. You’re not going to be 100% perfect. Your 3rd grade teacher may still be able to spot your errors, but for users, your content needs to “pass” the grammar and spelling test before they will engage further or consider viewing you as an authority.

Show you’re readers your a good writer!

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