This weekâ€™s SEO tip may speak more to your writing and editing skills than your search optimization techniques, but in some cases, you canâ€™t have one without the other.
In February, Bing confirmed what many in the industry have suspected all alongâ€”spelling and grammar have a significant impact on search rankings. Duane Forrester, Bingâ€™s senior product manager of webmaster outreach, said search engines judge writing the same way readers do.
â€œIf 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?â€ he asked.
While Google hasnâ€™t come out and said it as plainly as Bing, Matt Cutts, head of Googleâ€™s webspam team, has indicated as recently as 2011 that there is a direct correlation between spelling and PageRank. And, with all the changes Google has made to its algorithms over the years, itâ€™s safe to assume that spelling factors into how Google evaluates and ranks content for quality assurance.
Although this shouldnâ€™t come as a surprise to seasoned content marketers, these comments continue to shine light on just how important spelling and grammar are to content marketing and search results. You might be thinking that these statements donâ€™t affect you, but even the most robust brand newsrooms must develop an editing framework that prevents small mistakes and boosts the SEO value of their online content.
Every brand marketer should ask the following about his or her content strategy:
- Are my content creators also my editors?
- Should more than one set of eyes review each piece of content before I publish it to the Web?
- Do I have a plan in place to quickly revise published content if it has spelling or grammar errors?
- Can I train a non-editor to edit for brand journalism, or should I hire someone with more experience but a higher price tag? A recent Skyword blog further discusses this question.
Ensure that these questions are resolved to avoid any SEO shortcomings on account of poor grammar.
A penalty for low-quality content can leave your site open for manual review from Google. In some cases, you may find some of your custom content being de-indexed from search engines because of grammar inconsistencies. While this SEO tip doesnâ€™t shed light onto the back-end elements of your Web presence, it does speak to the close ties of content marketing and search engine optimization.
My advice to publishers is to consider the reader experience. If your online audience is anything like me, errors will be a quick turnoff and will encourage readers to look for information elsewhere. When Iâ€™m reading content, I want it to be nearly perfect, because when I need quick advice or information on how to succeed in a business settingâ€”whether with clients or in marketingâ€”I want to trust the information I read from websites found through search.
So, before you publish your next piece of content, take the extra time to ensure there are no errors in the copy and that youâ€™re articulating your beliefs to the best of your ability.