Spelling, Grammar and Search Engine Rankings

Poor Grammar

Does spelling and grammar have an affect on Google search rankings? According to Matt Cutts of Google, there is no direct search ranking benefits, but there seems to be some correlation between sites that rank well and good grammar. The reason he gives for that is because sites with good spelling and grammar tend to be shared and linked to more often than sites with poor grammar. Grammar also plays a role in user experience and the time that visitors spend on a website. Makes sense.

So, in other words, yes, you should pay care attention to your spelling and grammar when publishing new content.

But, what about grammar in blog post comments?

Matt Cutts says: “”I wouldn’t worry about the grammar in your comments. As long as the grammar on your own page is fine … there are people on the Internet and they write things and it doesn’t always make sense…”

Comments are sometimes left by real people with not-so-perfect grammar, and Google understands that. So, as far as correcting your blog comments for misspellings or grammar errors, no need. It would be wise to spend more of your time filtering out spam comments.

So, what does this say about Google’s algorithm?

Well, it seems that Google is treating the blog post content vs the blog post comments differently. It obviously knows how to distinguish between the two sections, but is it a factor in search engine rankings? I’d say “maybe.” But, to be on the safe side, I would say treat your content like it does matter.

What’s Bing take on this?

According to Duane Forrester of Bing, Bing does take into account typos and grammar when judging the quality of a webpage. He summarizes by saying: “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.”

What does this mean for bloggers that write in a casual style?

A lot of bloggers out there, including me sometimes, write in a style that is more casual and don’t always follow the rules of proper English grammar. This doesn’t necessarily mean these casual bloggers are bad writers – they just have a different way of communicating with their readers. This casual style sometimes makes the relationship more personal between the blogger and reader.

Is it fair for writers that speak English as a second language?

English is the most internationally written language on the Internet. For many bloggers where English is a second language, it may be difficult for them to write articles that are free of grammar errors or typos. Will these bloggers be penalized? My guess is most-likely if everyone is being judged by the same guidelines. At first glance, it might be unfair for these international writers, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

Remember years ago when publishers would buy mass produced articles from a 3rd world country at incredibly low prices just to get more and more search engine rankings? Before, volume may have been more important than quality. Now, quality is more important. Without some sort of filter against poor grammar and typos, we would still be having problems with these low quality articles being written simply for profits and not for value.

Are the language algorithm filters fair for everyone? No. Is it needed? I think so.

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