Spelling and grammar on planet Google

How important are spelling and grammar to Google?

And do they affect your search results positions?

Back in late 2011 Google’s Matt Cutts released a video explaining how the search engine prioritises content with correct spelling and grammar over stuff that’s full of mistakes. Clever, that.

If you fancy taking a look, here’s a link to Matt Cutts’ video.

Apparently good editing also has a positive effect on search engine rankings. So it’s worth spending time getting your thoughts in order – introduction, beginning, middle, end, conclusion –  to create clear, logical arguments instead of simply brain-dumping a load of random information and hoping for the best.

What about ‘reading levels’?

Google also breaks content into three reading levels: basic, intermediate and advanced. If you operate B2C it’s usually a good idea to create basic level content that appeals to a broad range of people with varying reading and comprehension skills. My site contains 64% basic level content, 36% intermediate and no advanced-level copy. Because I work B2B I often find intermediate level plain English fits the marketing bill best.

What about your site?

Here’s how to identify your site’s reading levels 

  1. go to http://www.google.com/advanced_search
  2. type your site or page url into the site or domain box half way down the page, under the Then narrow your results by… header
  3. further down in the same section you’ll find a reading level option. Choose annotate results by reading levels from the drop-down list then press the advanced search button
  4. Google returns a page of results showing the reading level for each page, headed by a graph showing how your content is split between the three levels

If you’re not 100% confident in your writing, grammar, spelling and editing skills, get a freelance writer on the case. The same goes if you can’t string a sentence together without blinding readers with complex corporate speak.