There is strong evidence that Spelling and Grammar can impact search engine rankings. Spelling and grammar errors are an indicator of poor quality and trustworthiness. Good quality content that is error-free is more likely to keep a user on the page and for the content to be shared with others.
Let’s see what Google and SEO experts say about spelling & grammar.
What Google Says about Spelling & Grammar
Not only is usability at the core of Google’s mission statement, but there are compelling quotes from senior, reputable Google employees who frequently comment on the Search Engine Algorithms. Finally, we see from Google’s own search rating guidelines, that there are clear references to the trustworthiness of content that contains bad spelling and grammar.
Google’s Mission Statement
Of all the evidence, Google’s mission statement probably best sums up its viewpoint.
Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful
Information is obviously less accessible and useful if it is hard to understand due to spelling and grammar errors. If you’re learning about a new topic, misspelling key terms would make it significantly harder to accurately understand. We can therefore infer that there will be components of their search engine algorithm that treat Spelling & Grammar either directly or indirectly.
Google’s Search Quality Rating guidelines
Google goes further than inference – on their published Search quality rater guidelines there are two examples of how poor spelling contributed to the quality rater providing a score of ‘low’.
|36||“This content has many problems:|
inaccurate/meaningless information and complete lack of editing with poor spelling and grammar—both of these characteristics in combination justify the Lowest+ to Low rating…”
|127||“The author lacks expertise in the topic; the writing has frequent misspellings, typos, and grammar errors;…”|
Google employee quotes about Spelling and Grammar
Here’s what two of the most senior, authoritative Google employees say about Spelling & Grammar.
Matt Cutts – Administrator, United States Digital Service; ex-Google Engineer
how reputable we think a particular page or site is — the ability to spell correlates relatively well with that
“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. The other aspect is also that we try to find really high-quality content on the web and sometimes it can appear that a page is lower quality content because it has a lot of …kind of… grammatical and technical mistakes in the text. So that’s something where from my point of view if you’re aware of these kinds of issues I would just fix that.“ – Matt Cutts – Google.
John Mueller – Webmaster trends analyst, Google
I would almost say …like… spelling and grammar is probably for most websites a higher priority than broken HTML.John Mueller, Webmaster trends analyst – Google
What SEO experts say about Spelling & Grammar Mistakes
We asked several leading SEO experts for their opinion, and here’s what they said.
Sean Rooney – Founder, Amire Digital Marketing
a pretty solid case that poorly written content indirectly impacts your SEO performance
“We’ve always known that quality content should primarily be written in the interest of the end-user. Of course, it can be optimised to also benefit search engines, as long as we focus on users. It goes without saying that quality content has to go through a rigorous QA process to remove typos and any grammatical errors. Not only will this result in professional, quality content, but it will also improve your SEO. User experience is an important ranking factor for Google. Creating poor quality content with typos and grammatical errors will result in higher bounce rates, reduced time on your site and fewer backlinks to say the least. Google will interpret these signals as a poor user experience which will negatively affect your rankings. It’s, therefore, a pretty solid case that poorly written content indirectly impacts your SEO performance.” Sean Rooney – Founder, Amire Digital Marketing.
Vahe Arabian – Founder, State of Digital Marketing
ensuring information quality (taking into account no spelling and grammar errors) is what will build trust, expertise and authority in the long run
“Whilst Google does not directly incorporate grammar and spelling as a ranking factor, its systems take into account users’ search intent, which recognises human error. In the age of misinformation, as a site owner, ensuring information quality (taking into account no spelling and grammar errors) is what will build trust, expertise, and authority in the long run.” – Vahe Arabian – Founder, State of Digital Publishing
James Norquay – SEO Director, Prosperity Media
Spelling mistakes on the website are something you want to avoid as you can lose trust with the user. Loss of trust will impact webmasters possibly linking to you, users converting on the website.
“If you are in a competitive space such as finance where you want to show trust to the user correct spelling is highly important in my experience. Spelling mistakes on the website are something you want to avoid as you can lose trust with the user. Loss of trust will impact webmasters possibly linking to you, users converting on the website. Are spelling errors a direct ranking factor I would say no.” – James Norquay – SEO Director, Prosperity Media
Sagar Sethi – Founder, Xugar Digital Marketing
poor copy will put off your visitors but can and will most certainly affect your overall rankings
“According to Muller and a lot of experts, spelling may not affect the SEO rankings directly and it’s more about the user experience. However, what they’re missing out on is that keyword density is still a big thing in SEO. Yes, a poor copy will put off your visitors but can and will most certainly affect your overall rankings. While we focus on current grammar, we should also focus on how a certain word is natively spelt in the geographical target of your audience. For example, the word colour is spelt differently in Australia and USA. Goes without saying that the search volume is also different.” – Sagar Sethi – Founder Xugar Digital Marketing
Can I improve my SEO by fixing spelling and grammar?
So, will you jump to position #1 by fixing spelling and grammar errors on your website? No, but, it’s unlikely you will achieve and sustain a high position unless you continually prioritise the quality and readability of your content.
We highly recommend speaking with your web/content marketing agency about the QA processes they follow to keep your website content at the highest quality.
To check the first 100 pages of your website for free, try our Spelling & Grammar tool, SitePerfect.