Does Spelling and Grammar Matter for Bloggers? | A Case Study
Minor spelling and grammatical mistakes don’t appear to have a significant impact on SEO. However, Google measures user experience to determine page rank. If users are leaving your post due to swaths of broken English, it’s fair to assume that it would negatively impact SEO.
Has Google Stated Whether They Use Spelling and Grammar as a Ranking Factor?
In 2011, Matt Cutts actually took this question directly. Here’s what he had to say.
To sum up, in 2011, they weren’t using spelling and grammar as a direct ranking signal. However, Cutts clearly states that they’ve studied this and that the more reputable pages tend to have better spelling and grammar. He speculates that they might use spelling and grammar as a future ranking factor.
Well, it’s the future (2023), so is Google using this as a ranking factor now?
Google’s a black box, and they’ll never share their algorithm with us. So I devised a fun experiment; I googled the most competitive queries on the Internet and checked how many spelling and grammatical errors the top-ranked article had. It’s hardly a definitive test, but it’s interesting to see how where the blogosphere’s top pages landed.
|Query w/Link to #1 Result||Spelling/Grammatical Errors||Readability score||Word Count|
|How To Start a Business||54 Grammarly errors||55 (9th-grade level)||4,925 words|
|How To Lose Weight||30 Grammarly Errors||74(7th-grade level)||2,053 words|
|How to Start a Blog||42 Grammarly Errors||77(7th-grade level)||2,159 words|
|Why a business partner is a bad idea||20 Grammarly Errors||69 (8th-grade level)||1,171 words|
|ShaunPore.com’s post on why a business partner is a bad idea (I rank 8th)||9 Grammarly Errors||74 (7th-grade level)||1,359 Words|
Does this little case study prove anything? Well, no. However, I tested dozens more queries than I listed here. The vast majority of #1 results had a 65-75 (7th/8th-grade level) readability score. The readability score of 55 above (9th-grade level) was the worst #1 ranked blog post I could find.
Also of note, I found at least a few minor grammatical/spelling errors in virtually every blog post I tested. However, I failed to find any #1 results so rife with errors that it felt difficult to read.
My conclusion? Run your blog posts through Grammarly one time before publishing. It won’t cause your posts to rank #1, but you can be confident your post’s readability is high enough to rank there.
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