Spelling & Grammar: Do they Affect your Search Ranking?
Google is working harder than ever to ensure that the search results we see are of the highest quality. That’s why it’s important to make sure your content is not only interesting and engaging but also grammatically correct and free from spelling errors. If you have ever Googled a word or phrase only to find that Google doesn’t understand what you’re saying, you know how frustrating this can be. Despite most professionals’ efforts to create the highest quality content possible, spelling and grammar errors occur. How do you handle those errors when you publish? Will search engines be less likely to rank you higher in search results as a result?
Read on to learn more about whether grammar and spelling are Google ranking factors.
Are Spelling & Grammar Google Ranking Factors?
Many marketing professionals believe that spelling and grammar can affect your website’s ranking in search engines. After all, Google has stated multiple times that you should avoid publishing low-quality content.
For example, in Google’s Advanced SEO guide for bloggers, they say:
“A useful post once a week is better than low-quality content published daily.”
This makes sense because if you’re constantly publishing content with lots of spelling and grammar errors, it shows that you don’t care about the quality of your content, which is something that Google does not want to promote.
In a helpful blog on how to create high-quality websites, the Google Search Central Blog specifies:
“One other specific piece of guidance we’ve offered is that low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings, and thus removing low-quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low-quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content.”
Google’s SEO Starter Guide recommends avoiding “writing sloppy text with many spelling and grammatical mistakes.”
The Search Quality Rating Guidelines describe low-quality content as below:
“This content has many problems: inaccurate/meaningless information and a complete lack of editing with poor spelling and grammar—both of these characteristics in combination justify the Lowest + to Low rating.”
Google also launched a post about spelling and search queries, noting that:
“Thanks to advancements in deep learning, we now have a better way to understand spelling. Late last year, we announced a new spelling algorithm that uses a deep neural net that better models and learns from less-common and unique spelling mistakes. This advancement enables us to run a model with more than 680 million parameters in under two milliseconds — a very large model that works faster than the flap of a hummingbird’s wings — so people can search uninterrupted by their own spelling errors.”
Or we can put it simply:
Google recently released a post discussing spelling and search queries, and how they have improved their spelling algorithm with deep learning. With this new algorithm, they are able to model and learn from less common spelling mistakes, which has enabled them to run an extensive and fast model that can search uninterrupted by spelling errors.
The Evidence Shows that Spelling & Grammar as Google Ranking Factors
Back in 2011, Matt Cutts, who was leading Google’s webspam team at the time, was asked if spelling and grammar matter when it comes to content and website quality evaluation. He started by saying that, to the best of his knowledge, spelling and grammar were not direct ranking signals.
Cutts says that Google has conducted various tests and has determined that websites with better spelling and grammar are more reputable. Finally, Cutts suggests that content should provide a good user experience regardless of the effect on search rankings.
A month after fielding a question about spelling and grammar, Cutts was asked whether it’s appropriate to edit or approve poorly-written comments on blog posts to protect the site’s quality.
He pointed out that there are nonsensical comments on popular sites like YouTube, but that doesn’t stop YouTube from ranking the videos properly. The key is to ensure that you have high-quality content.
In 2017, when asked if grammar affected SEO, John Mueller, Search Advocate for Google, said that it doesn’t have an impact on search engines. However, Mueller went on to say that proper grammar does make an impression on your users, which is more important.
In 2021, Mueller was asked whether Google’s search algorithms check for broken HTML, spelling, or grammatical mistakes. Then, he answered that he considers spelling and grammar a gray area, he noted that it affects SEO because if crawlers can’t determine what the page is about, it can’t be indexed appropriately.
Moreover, he pointed out that Google’s primary goal is to provide users with high-quality content, and thus, content littered with spelling and grammatical errors appears low-quality.
Most websites should be more concerned with proper spelling and grammar than they should be with broken HTML (unless the HTML is so broken that search engine crawlers can’t properly understand it).
Are Spelling and Grammar Important for SEO? Should we care about it?
Cutts and Mueller both agreed that spelling and grammar can affect a user’s experience on your website, regardless of Google rankings.
Moreover, if your webpage contains errors, it will be difficult to convert searchers, even if you provide good information and services.
Besides, it’s also important to note that spelling and grammar matter to other search engines, not just Google.
In 2014, Bing’s Sr. Product Manager Duane Forrester published a blog post on quality. After discussing common errors on the web, he ended the post with the following:
“This might all seem a bit “down in the weeds”, but 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.”
The explanation above is in line with Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines, which contain quality and credibility sections.
“Determining the quality and credibility (QC) of a website includes evaluating the clarity of purpose of the site, its usability, and presentation. QC also consists of an evaluation of the page’s authoritativeness, which includes such factors as the author’s or site’s reputation, the level of discourse (for example, an article with citations and references to data sources is considered higher quality than one that does not explain or cite it’s data sources; pages that call for violence, name-calling, offensive statements, or use derogatory language to make a point are generally considered low quality), the completeness of the content, and transparency of authorship.”
Bing employs a system not dissimilar to Google’s Search Quality Rating Program to ensure that users are given quality results. This system not only helps with spelling and grammar but also with the overall quality of the search engine results.
Final Verdict about Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar are NOT direct Google ranking factors, but they’re essential signals to users about the quality of your website. You should care more about that than whether the algorithm counts them. Google isn’t the only search engine, and they might be ranking factors for other search engines.
While a perfect editing job may not guarantee better rankings on Google, it can help with other search engines and improve conversions from search traffic. Additionally, good spelling and grammar usually correlate with better performance in search engines.
Therefore, working with an editor or using readability tools like Grammarly to check your website content for spelling, grammar, and readability issues is wise.
Overall, a high Grammarly score won’t guarantee a number-one ranking for your target keyword, but it can help improve user experience. And that makes it a worthwhile investment, regardless of the SEO benefits.
Although spelling and grammar do not directly affect your search ranking, they really impact how users perceive your website. Because spelling and grammar are a big part of the quality of writing, it is important to have the correct spelling and grammar to attract the most viewers and thus improve your search ranking. This blog post discusses how spelling and grammar affect your Google search ranking. We hope that you have found this article to be helpful and potentially eye-opening.
If you would like to learn more about how to improve your SERPs, please contact us at EverRanks. Thank you for reading!
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