There are so many reasons why bad language can prevent your SEO campaign from reaching its full potential. Some are fairly obvious, but you might find others a little surprising. Read on to discover why correcting dodgy typos and becoming a slave to your spell-check is vital to improving your reputation online.
Reason number one – your customers will notice
Don’t you just hate it when you’ve spent hours and hours putting together content for your site, only for someone to come along and pick up a tiny little spelling mistake on a page you’d completely forgotten about? Irritating as this may seem at the time, they’ve actually done you a big favour.
Badly-written copy makes your business look unprofessional and can even make you, as the person responsible for the way in which your company communicates, seem incompetent. Whether it’s a missing apostrophe in a landing page page or a missing letter in a main headline, every mistake matters. Plenty of people will automatically assess a website’s credibility from the language that’s used, and if they don’t like what they see, they’ll simply go elsewhere, which leaves you with higher website abandonment rates and lots of lost sales. If you don’t believe us, check out this article from the BBC in which a successful online entrepreneur (who has a lot of practical experience in making money out of a wide portfolio of websites) claims that one single spelling mistake has the potential to cut a company’s online sales in half.
Reason number two – Google will notice!
Search engine algorithms are far more sophisticated these days. Matt Cutts, Google’s own SEO guru, has even suggested that “pages and websites with a higher reputation within Google [tend] to have better spelling”. The algorithm assumes that if there are a large number of mistakes on the page, the overall quality and value of the content is going to be much lower, so the site is unlikely to be ranked within the top pages. The recent Panda update (and the number of algorithm refreshes that have followed in its wake) have been focused on removing low quality, spammy-looking content from the search engines altogether, so unless you want your site’s rankings to suffer, make sure your site’s content is up to scratch!
Reason number three – customers may not be able to find you
Google will correct users if they type in a misspelt search term, whether they do so on purpose or have just made a slip-up. If one or more of your key search terms is consistently spelled incorrectly across the whole of your site, you could be compromising your rankings. This is because Google’s crawlers will not be able to accurately locate and store the pages on your site, which in turn will have a huge knock-on effect on its indexing process. Ultimately, this will lead to lower ranking positions and will prevent customers from finding you.
What to do to keep your copy accurate
We all make mistakes, but taking the time to double-check your content will ensure you’re not losing any customers or search engine rankings due to poor grammar or spelling.
We would always recommend asking several people to proof-read your web copy for you. If you own a small website and you can find a friend, family member or a colleague who has an excellent grasp of English, ask them to read through your copy to see if they can spot any errors. However, if your site contains hundreds or even thousands of pages, you may benefit from employing a professional copywriter to do this for you. You’ll need to pay out for this service, but a skilled and talented copywriter will be able to make sure that no stone is left unturned and will often be able to help you understand how your website is coming across from a branding perspective.
If a number of people in your team contribute to the site on a regular basis, make sure you supply them with content guidelines to ensure consistency across all channels. Remember, everyone who is distributing copy on the web on your behalf is responsible for the reputation of the company, so will need to deliver high quality English. Be especially careful that you don’t let standards slip when you’re posting on social media sites, too!
The key is to always ask for a fresh perspective on any content that you’re planning to share online. This will help catch any mistakes early before they have a negative impact on your search marketing campaign.