Will spelling and grammar mistakes affect search rankings?

Everybody knows that getting the basics right is important for a great user experience online, but it has been suggested that poor spelling and grammar can also knock your site out of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Some years ago, search engine optimisation (SEO) centred on using specific keywords in a certain density, even if the phrases were misspelled or grammatically incorrect. The search engines rewarded exact matches, even when typos were present, so spelling and grammar took a secondary role. Some SEO copywriting services even went as far as to cut costs by outsourcing content generation to non-native English speakers in countries like India and the Philippines.

However, the incremental updates in search algorithms over recent years have changed the game considerably. In a blog post last year, Duane Forrester, a senior product manager at Bing, stated that spelling and grammar are factors that the company considers for its SERPs. Google, meanwhile, has never stated that it uses spelling and grammar to rank pages, although it does admit a correlation between reputable websites and error-free content.

Even though Google does not reportedly check spelling and grammar itself, this is not actually needed since the Panda update introduced user experience as a factor. Searchers generally prefer content that is easier to read, contributing to the search ranking. There are exceptions, of course. For example, someone looking for the lyrics to a rap song will prefer accurate verses to a grammatically sanitised version.

Therefore, in a typical website news feed, spelling and grammar are going to affect your search ranking, however indirectly this effect might come about.

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