Does Spelling and Grammar Affect SEO and Rankings in Google?
It comes a no surprise that correct spelling and good grammar have a big influence on the experience of your readers as they interact with your content.
But Are Grammar and Spelling Considered a Ranking Factor?
It is still not clear whether spelling and grammar are counted as a direct ranking factor.
Some time ago Matt Cutts, former head of the webspam team at Google, said:
We noticed a while ago that, if you look at the PageRank of a page (how reputable we think a particular page or site is) the ability to spell correlates relatively well with that. So, the reputable sites tend to spell better and the sites that are lower PageRank, or very low PageRank, tend not to spell as well.
His answer is ambiguous. While he says it isn't considered a direct factor, he also mentions that pages with higher ranks tend to spell better.
The statement from Bing is a bit more clear. Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager at Bing, said in Bing's blog:
...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.
In short he says that if someone doesn't take the time to proofread the content of his site, why would they should rank it higher than other webmasters that make an effort to get it right.
So, should you worry about your site grammar and spelling?
Of course! While there is still not an official answer about this being a direct ranking factor, (in Google's case less than Bing's), we do know that user experience is worth important from an SEO perspective.
Both statements were made a few years ago (Google 5 years, Bing 2 years) and since then search engines algorithms have evolved a lot. Current algorithms are more than capable of detecting a bad user experience, which bad grammar and spelling are an important contributor.
But the that's not all of it. In October of 2015, Google made one of the most important SEO related announcements in recent years; the launch of an Artificial Intelligence System to see the pages as the user sees them and detect a bad user experience with even greater certainty.
This AI machine is called RankBrain and is considered the third-most important ranking factor. Rankbrain is a sophisticated computer program, part of the Hummingbird algorithm, used to provide better search results.
This software is in its early days and will probably take some months to learn to see websites like users do. However, to avoid getting caught in the middle, you should start today. Compared to the difficulty and time used to optimize other important factors, proofreading your content is a piece of cake.Why You Should Start Considering Grammar and Spelling for SEOClick To Tweet
How to painlessly proofread your content?
If you want to give it a go yourself, may I suggest reading your content out loud. It is a proven fact that your ears will hear mistakes your brain has difficulty deciphering. If your English skills aren't up to snuff, you can hire someone to do it. Or you can do it yourself with a proofreading tool. Here are my personal favorites:
Grammarly is my #1 choice. I discovered it when I started this blog, and it's been one of my essentials since then. There is no need to install software or plugins; it integrates seamlessly with your Browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari). For more details, you can check out my Grammarly review.
Ginger: Another great tool to proofread your content, I haven't used it as much since I'm hooked to Grammarly, but I've had heard many good things about it. Its features set is much like Grammarly.
Polishmywriting (aka. After the Deadline): Before the previous two appeared, this was one of the best proofreaders. The user interface hasn't been updated in a couple of years, but the core is still good.
Although we do not know for sure if grammar and spelling are a direct ranking factor for SEO, it is clear that it is crucial for the user experience, which with the introduction of artificial intelligence machines like RankBrain, is gaining a lot of weight among the most important ranking factors.
Plus, when considering the difficulty and the time dedicated to other important factors likes backlinks or content creating, the extra 5, 10, or 20 minutes to check your grammar and spelling are a bargain! I know I sound like a broken record, but grammar and spelling are important!Why You Should Start Considering Grammar and Spelling for SEOClick To Tweet