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
- go to http://www.google.com/advanced_search
- 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
- 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
- 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.