There is some debate within content creation circles as to whether grammar and spelling are things that Google and Bing rank for. Some claim they are direct ranking factors and other say they aren’t. But ranked or not, grammar and spelling are still important. Their existence, or the lack thereof, does influence how visitors perceive the site.
Google and Bing ultimately want to provide visitors with the best possible results on every search. So much so that both are continually developing their search algorithms to better analyze content. And if that is the case, it stands to reason that grammar and spelling influence quality rankings.
The Official (but Outdated) Word
The official word from Google, at least according to Search Engine Journal’s Kristi Hines, is that Google’s Matt Cutts came out in 2011 and stated that grammar and spelling are not direct ranking factors. There hasn’t been much said about it since. But a statement made more than a decade ago does not necessarily constitute current policy.
Hines also documents statements from Google explaining that natural language processing now allows their algorithms to account for spelling errors. Google has stated that they use this capability to help them generate the best possible results even when users do not spell keywords correctly.
Bing algorithms have the same capabilities. So while we have heard officially from Google that spelling and grammar are not ranking factors, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be. Both search engines already have the technology to do it. So maybe they are doing it. Rather than ranking spelling and grammar directly, maybe both search engines are at least looking at it to help determine content quality. Therein lies the rub.
Quality Is Now King
At Webtek Digital Marketing in Salt Lake City, UT and Austin, TX, they subscribe to the old adage that content is king. But they take it one step further. They like to say that quality is king. In other words, it is no longer enough to load your website with content. It needs to be quality content, or you run the risk of it being ignored.
Way back when Matt Cutts made his official statement about grammar and spelling, Google was getting ready to launch its much-anticipated Panda update. For those who don’t know the history, Panda represented Google’s first attempt at weeding out internet junk by measuring quality. Ever since then, Google has been on a mission to improve content quality one way or another.
Go to Google’s own documentation and you’ll discover an incredible emphasis on quality. If Google – and Bing too – are truly interested in always serving up the best possible results, you can bet they are looking at every aspect of content quality.
Don’t Forget Your Site’s Reputation
While Google and Bing do what they do with their algorithms, visitors who find your site and read your content will form impressions of both. That is why Webtek works so hard to maintain quality in the content creation process. They insist on high quality content that impresses readers.
If a site and its content are filled with spelling and grammatical errors, both give the impression that either the website owner doesn’t have a command of English or isn’t motivated enough to make sure grammar and spelling errors are corrected. Neither option is good for that website or its owner.
Whether or not spelling and grammar are direct ranking factors remains a matter of debate. But even if not, both are still very important. They both contribute to quality which, in turn, makes search engines and content consumers happy.