I was watching a Google webmaster help video recently where Matt Cutts (currently the head of Google’s Webspam team) answers the question “do spelling and grammar matter when evaluating content and site quality?”.
For those of you that are interested I’ve included the video below
The comments made in the video are that spelling and grammar are not direct signals in the rankings but there is a suggestion that this might change in the future.
There is also an interesting comment that Page Rank (PR) seems to be related to the spelling and grammar on the page with higher PR pages having better spelling and better grammar.
Personally though I suspect that there is a correlation, as if a page has been written well with no spelling mistakes and correct grammar usage then more people are likely to link to the page which in turn helps the search engine rankings for that page.
The other thing to remember is that if you, as a firm of accountants, have a page on your site that is full of errors this doesn’t reflect well on you and is more likely to turn people away from your site encouraging them to look for an accountant elsewhere. After all, if you are a professional, people expect you to know how to spell and use correct grammar.
This is one reason why, if you are paying someone to write blog posts for you, you should really check the quality of any articles written on your behalf. I have actually seen a blog written for a firm of Accountants (persuamably by someone who doesn’t speak English as a first language) where one article starts :-
“An income tax prosecutor for finance entails enough information about the income tax act in particular; it will not just become restricted to the position as Criminal Court representative for the client’s civil case suits, moreover are required to be reliable to offer relevant information. Their advice are necessary for solving problems relating to the tax law, and using the different approaches in dealing with tax bills and tax investigations, so this legal method will be reduced.”
and continues later with :-
“Does not take matters into your own hands. Selecting options with out consulting professional advice might be risky and could end up with legal issues any time. Without a doubt you could reduce your taxes, but you must be sure that the options you are considering are approved and acknowledged globally with Government and are in accordance to the law.”
Another article starts :-
“Property Investment may well be named the safest expenditure boulevard. Correctly, properties investments, having a enough exploration with the property (and its real value), can lead to better earnings. This is a good reason why some individuals think of venturing on them aside from their full time job.”
Anyone coming across these articles, which are branded with the accountant’s name might be forgiven for saying “What?” and added that firm as one that is probably to be avoided.
Of course the examples above are an extreme but I have also seen examples of sites where words are suddenly capitalised in the middle of a sentence – so a sentence might read “We provide Tax Advice to Individuals and companies of all sizes including Small Businesses.”
Even if you feel that your spelling and grammar is good it does no harm to have someone else read the content of your webpages and point out any possible problems – don’t just rely on a spell checker on your PC when you are putting the content together, remember that we specialise and not specialize here in the UK for example and many spell checkers would pass the US spelling of words as being correct.
What do you think? If you see a page with obvious spelling errors or poor grammar do you bother reading to the end of it or do you just think “oh well…” and move on to the next page in the search results?