You’re Grammer Sucks – Did I Really Just Do That?

April 28, 2014
by Conor Treacy

    SEO Content_Big Red SEOI cringe even reading the title – I apologize to my legion of fans! Spelling and grammar are something that I take quite seriously. To purposefully degrade the article with both of those in the first two words of this article really hurt! I promise, it gets better!

    I’m one of the many people that loathe Facebook memes, fix grammar on postings, and publicly shame businesses that have food menus or signs that are spelled incorrectly. I’m not a great speller, and I really have to work on my grammar, even though I was forced into writing better at an early age.

    I started my first business when I was 16, a BBS (Bulletin Board System or BBS is what existed before the Internet). For many years, people had no idea how old I was, and it wasn’t until a meetup one year that people finally saw how young I really was. The message boards and approach I took with discussions really stood out to people once they found out my age. I took things seriously as a BBS owner, and eventually it grew to be one of the larger BBS operations in Riverside County, California.

    But I am not here to share my entire life story! Instead, I want to focus on grammar and spelling. It’s not just myself and the team at Big Red SEO that care about proper grammar–Google and Bing do as well!

    Public Image – You Can Ruin It In An Instant

    Bad spelling and grammar just looks bad. On the web especially, people make snap decisions about the intelligence of another. Could you imagine reading a published article and finding phrases using texting shorthand such as, “ur crazy”? Could you imagine giving a business presentation, or publishing a brochure for your business and having misspellings and other such nonsense throughout the brochure? Generally, people wouldn’t do this – so don’t do it online.

    People judge your online writing the same way they judge any other published writing. I know I’ll be judged on this article! Public writings carry as much (if not more) weight than when you’re speaking to a client in person. In writing, you actually had time to correct the errors, and you either chose not to or didn’t know they were an error. This is where you need to hire a proofreader, or at the very least, run a spell check and grammar check in MS Word before publishing online.

    For our company, Big Red SEO, we have our own in-house writing staff, some with degrees in English writing, others without. Before any article gets published online, either for our company or one of our clients, several people must review it and sign off on it.

    Google’s Take On Bad Spelling

    Back in 2011, Matt Cutts, head of Google Spam Team was asked a question regarding spelling and grammar, and at the time he stated that they’re not the main deciding factors, and while he came very close to saying “yes, they matter,” he never actually came out and said it.

    When the Panda update was released, one of the many things that the algorithm update looked at was “spelling, stylistic elements and factual accuracy.” There are definitely going to be differences when it comes to spelling, especially between American English and UK English, but how many times have you performed a search and Google returns with “did you mean XYZ?”

    So while Google hasn’t officially stated that they’re ranking sites based on grammar and spelling, they essentially are. If you look at the top results in a Google query, one of the common trends will be that they normally have great spelling and decent grammar. We all need to strive to reach these goals!

    Here’s the video posting from 2011 – Grammar and Spelling Effect in Google Rankings
    Here’s the video posting from 2014 – Spam Comments With Bad Grammar 

    Bing’s Stance On Grammar and Spelling

    Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager for Bing, posted a blog in February 2014 that directly calls out bad spelling and grammar. Essentially he stated that “‘how you write’ matters as much as ‘what you write.’” If you’re constantly making the same mistakes, not only are you confusing your visitor, or in my case annoying me, you’re also confusing search engines.

    He went on to say that “just as you’re judging others’ writing, so the engines judge yours. If 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?” That’s a biggie! Let that sink in a minute!

    Does Bing care about grammar and spelling? Yes they do! Here’s a link to his blog on the issue:

    “Let’s Eat Grandma” – Commas Needed

    I’ve seen plenty of posts online from people saying “but what about people that speak English as a second language?” I agree, it’s tough, but look at your competitors. If they’re outsourcing their writing to a different country and  getting poorly written articles in return, that’s a great thing for you! All you have to do is write coherent articles and you’ll be able to outrank them on Google.

    You’ve Reached The End – Or Is It “The End?”

    The bottom line is this, if you don’t take the time to grammar check, or at the very least run a spell check, then you won’t be taken seriously. People will forgive you if the question mark doesn’t go inside an end quote, or you create a run-on sentence that runs for several lines without a single punctuation mark. People generally don’t care too much if you end the sentence with a preposition – if you even remember what a preposition is. But spelling is something that many business people will not forgive lightly. A casual email? Sure. A business proposal? Probably not!

    Hire A Content Writer If You Don’t Have Time!

    At Big Red SEO, we’re more than just an SEO company that helps rank websites on the search engines. Many times, our skills of web design, website navigation and usability, and even our writing team are called upon to make sure everything flows correctly. A portion of each of our SEO packages, custom designed for every client, involves writing articles. While some clients write their own content, we still write additional content to be used in blogs online.

    We’d love to help you and your business with quality blog and article writing. Contact us Today!

    Conor Treacy

    About

    Conor Treacy has been in the SEO game since the mid-90's when SEO hadn't yet come into full fruition. He spends most of his days performing website audits, reading and writing SEO blogs and industry related material. The rest of his time is consumed with correcting people on their invalid and blackhat ways. The SEO world has changed in recent years, there's a lot of disinformation on the web!