Do Search Engines Care about Errors?

We produce about 30,000 words a week over here, so I’m not going to claim that we never have a typo. I will say that we try very hard to catch any errors before they’re published, and that we instantly correct any error found at any time after publication.

Partly this is because we believe that errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation lessen the quality of the product. True, there are people who don’t notice them and people who don’t care. But there are also people who think, “If they can’t be bothered to proofread, they must not be very concerned about quality” — and take their business elsewhere.

Another important reason to be careful of typos, though, is that search engines use quality of writing as a measure of trustworthiness.

Randomly generated content or poor articles written for $1.00 apiece, both hallmarks of spammy websites, tend to have a lot of errors. Since lots of errors correlate with spammy sites, it makes sense to use those errors in the algorithm used to measure trust. It’s not just that it makes sense, though — we have proof that Google actually does consider such errors.

Check out this section of Google’s patent number 20120158711 A1:

Automated tests for measuring spelling correctness, grammar, and reading levels can be used to generate a metric value that reflects writing style. A score proportional to the measured quality of writing style may then be assigned.

Yes, they care.

We often hear people say that they don’t think this kind of polish matters on a blog. Yet the BBC reported that a UK researcher found that correcting spelling errors on a website could double revenue from the corrected page. Whether because search traffic increased or because human visitors found it more trustworthy wasn’t specified.







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