High-quality content, target keywords and optimised headings work together towards good SEO performance. But you might be missing out on two more things: proper grammar and spelling.
Yes, your intended audience may not all be writers, editors or proofreaders. But like any digital error, poor spelling and grammar can still harm your brand, traffic and search engine ranking.
How Grammar and Spelling Impact SEO
In this article, we’ll be citing why typo errors are relevant to SEO and what you can do to correct or avoid them. After all, it is every website owner’s goal to follow search engine standards and impress readers.
1. Diminished Credibility
Most of us have perhaps encountered a web article or page peppered with spelling or grammar errors. What were your thoughts about it? Did you read it through the end?
We know. There’s this invisible link between such errors and professionalism, or lack thereof. And somehow, the correlation also becomes your gauge on how credible the content is.
Think of it this way. If an article shows a few to no spelling mistakes, you get the impression that the writer spent time crafting and editing it before publishing. Considerable effort for research probably went into it as well.
On the other hand, a writer who did not even bother to use a spell checker makes the whole post questionable. And when you begin to doubt an article’s accuracy, chances are you will not finish reading it.
If your content is not attracting readers, authoritative sites may not be linking back to your site either. Google will then interpret these as red flags, reducing your opportunity to do well in the search rankings.
2. Shortened Dwell Time
One of the metrics that experts use to assess your SEO performance is dwell time. It’s the amount of time visitors spend while browsing your site pages.
Search engines like Google also give a hint that it is a ranking factor. However, short dwell times may be due to a couple of reasons.
For instance, it could be because the user did not find your site helpful to his search query. Then again, he must have seen poor grammar and spelling in your content, making your site look poorly made and unreliable.
Regardless of the reason, a low dwell time is never a good sign. It will only reduce traffic and can decrease your search engine ranking.
People will not be keen to share your website with others, too. Worse, a potential customer will favour and recommend the competition.
3. Increased Bounce Rates
Did you check your landing page for correct spelling and grammar? If not, make sure you do so to avoid bouncing.
Bouncing is a behaviour that’s quite similar to low dwell time. Both mean that visitors do not stay long on your website. The only difference is that, with high bounce rates, users do not even bother visiting your other pages.
If your visitors do not go beyond your landing page, it would mean traffic, engagement and revenue loss. Search engines will also translate these to low authority or credibility. Thus, increased bounce rates and good SEO performance don’t mix.
But how can spelling and grammar mistakes make people leave your site in an instant? It all boils down to readability and comprehension.
If people have to exert so much effort understanding your content, they are likely to look for a better source. But, more importantly, any user, in general, wants clear, quick answers.
People usually have no time to read your content from start to finish, much less decode jargon and spelling mistakes. But with coherent and error-free pages, there’s a higher chance for visitors to stay longer and check what your site is all about.
4. Bad User Experience
Content with errors makes users frustrated. And if people feel this way when visiting your website, it may send search engines the message that you are not making people happy.
And that’s not good, considering that satisfactory user experience is the top priority of search engines. Google even highlighted it in its recent ranking signal update.
Google, in particular, likes relevant content with engaging images and credible links. But even if you have these, not doing anything about its readability will only lessen your SEO efficacy.
Incorporating excellent user experience requires a holistic approach. Therefore, there should be a balance among various aspects to ensure that your users enjoy your website. And that includes making it free from any spelling or grammatical error.
5. Profit Loss
Ultimately, we aim for excellent SEO performance to attract organic search traffic, make people stay on our website and, eventually, encourage them to convert. But we cannot achieve these if we produce content that is less than perfect.
After all, you cannot expect people to buy your products or services if they find it hard to trust your site or brand. A 2011 news article even emphasised that a spelling mistake can decrease online spending by half.
While most people ignore web mistakes or find them funny, they undoubtedly affect revenue and success. And so, as a business owner, you must always aim for typo-free pages.
6. Penalty Risk
Currently, Google does not consider grammar and spelling as a direct ranking factor. However, it does penalise websites with low-quality content.
Since spelling and grammatical mistakes affect the quality of your posts, failure to fix these naturally increases your chance of getting a penalty.
Also, keep in mind that Google constantly updates its algorithm. Even Bing is penalising content with bad English. And so, it will no longer be a surprise if avoiding typo errors will become part of our SEO strategies in the future.
How to Make Websites Grammar and Spelling Error Free
The main takeaway then is to start being more conscious about these preventable mistakes early on. Instead of concentrating on producing keyword-rich articles, it’s high time we put more weight on correct grammar and spelling.
Here are a few good writing habits that can help you do just that.
Simplify your articles and posts
Make your fresh content easy to read and grasp from now on. For instance, shorten your sentences or paragraphs. Doing this will lessen your chances of making errors, too.
Also, always opt for simple vocabulary. Impress users with your ideas rather than highfalutin words. We often use an online dictionary with synonym suggestions to help us out on this.
If you own a WordPress website, you can also use its readability score tool, so you can spot errors before hitting the publish button.
One trick we also use is to read the article out loud. Aside from spelling mistakes, you’ll be able to spot parts that do not sound right.
Align your writing style with your target audience
American and British English has differences in spelling and grammar. At times, words and expressions also differ, depending on the region. Tone or brand voice can vary as well.
And so, for optimum SEO performance, consider defining your target audience (or country). Then format your content accordingly for consistency and readability.
Make proofreading a habit
Always invest time and effort when creating your content. Rushed work will only produce errors and half-baked presentations. Your readers deserve so much more than that.
If proofreading is not your forte, ask a friend to help you out. Even if you’re a good writer, it’s not possible to spot every mistake you make. Only a new pair of eyes can do that for you.
Observe good writing style on all platforms
To make proofreading a habit, do it even for social media content. The emojis and casual approach used in these platforms often make writers too relaxed.
In turn, posts become more prone to embarrassing mistakes. Followers will likely point them out, and you do not want to encourage the wrong kind of engagement.
So, apply the conversational style of messaging, but keep it error-free always.
Hire a professional
Writers or copyeditors in your team will not only create error-free articles for you. They can also fix outdated content, optimise previous posts and other relevant tasks.
Content is a vital contributor to your SEO performance. And hiring pros is one way to get optimum results, while you can focus on other aspects of your business.
The ultimate goal of your SEO effort is to draw as many customers as possible and boost conversion rates. But spelling and grammatical errors can undermine its effectiveness.
You’ve already started establishing your online presence. And the last you want is to let your hard work go to waste.
Yes, typo mistakes may be inevitable. But the good news is, there are many ways how to minimise or avoid them.
With the right content topic and technique, you can make your pages appeal to readers and top the SERPs!