You may have heard over and over how important “quality content” is with your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. However, quality is more than providing digestible content that’s informative or entertaining, and gives your target audience what they want. Let’s go back to the basics for a minute and focus on two key things your fourth grade teacher warned you about: spelling and grammar. Spell-check is a great tool, but don’t depend on it to keep your writing anywhere near perfect.
In February 2019, search engine giant Bing confirmed what the SEO pro’s have thought for years—grammar and spelling can make a huge difference with your SEO. That last sentence was a doozy, but spell-check would only have caught a few of those mistakes. SEO may certainly be an acronym for something (just not what you intend), and if Bing is confirming things years in the future, maybe it really does deserve to be formidable competition for Google.
Search Engines are Judging You
You know when you’re reading a book or the newspaper and you’re in the zone, then you get pulled out of it because of a typo or (even worse) a genuine spelling mistake? Not only does your flow get interrupted, but you probably think whoever published or wrote this piece isn’t the most professional person. The Senior Product Manager of Webmaster Outreach at Bing, Duane Forrester, says, “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?”
In other words, search engines are judging your writing just like a “real” reader does. Google hasn’t confirmed this as clearly as Bing, but the head of Google’s Webspam Team, Matt Cutts, has come close. Back in 2011 (and yes, that’s the correct year), Cutts hinted that there’s a strong connection between PageRank and spelling. Google is known for constantly updating its algorithm, and it would be foolish to think that spelling doesn’t play a factor.
A Tip from HR Departments
Some recruiters have “basic” red flags that automatically move applications into the slush pile. In the world of Human Resources, there are so many applicants rolling in that any excuse to reject some is a good thing. The same works with search engines: There are thousands of potential websites and links to choose from, and if search engines can “reject” yours because of spelling or grammar, then why wouldn’t they?
A good editor costs money and it’s an easy shortcut to get as many eyes on the content as possible to avoid embarrassing (and SEO-harming) errors. The best approach is to partner up with an SEO company that reveres the importance of comprehensive quality content so you don’t have to face an embarrassing faux pas. It’s all too easy to leave the “L” out of “public service.”