Mind Your Language in Online Content to Improve Site Quality

Have you ever wondered if spelling and grammar are considered by Google algorithms while assessing the quality of a page and assigning rankings to that page? Well, Matt Cutts – the beloved head of the Google Webspam team, clears up any doubts that you may have about spelling and grammar in online content in this video. He also makes the case for good grammar and spelling in online content because people will come back to a site that has good grammar and spelling as the site looks more reputable.

Are they direct ranking signals?

Matt clarifies that good grammar and the ability to spell well is not considered as direct signals when deciding the ranking of a page but he thinks they should be. This is because the Google Webspam team has observed that good grammar and correct spelling actually correlates quite well with the PageRank of that webpage. This means that sites that have higher PageRank generally tend to have better spelling and grammar. So the more reputable sites naturally have better language.

In fact, there are some people on the Internet that have rated sites based on the reading level of the content of those sites. So a site with content at 12th grade reading level is obviously considered more reputable than a site with content at 3rd grade reading level.

Problems with making language and grammar as ranking signals

Although Matt is quite convinced that the ability to spell well and good grammar should be considered as quality signals while ranking a web page, he admits that there are problems with doing so. Firstly, there are millions of web pages online that are written in thousands of language, so how can ranking algorithms take into account the grammar and spelling of all these different languages properly? This not only seems like a difficult task but a ranking algorithm that takes spelling and grammar into account could unfairly rank pages written in a certain language higher than those written in other languages.

Also, recognizing the language on a page is hard to do and even with the best language recognition software many pages could get missed out. More importantly, language recognition and evaluation of grammar and spelling can become especially troublesome if a page has content written in various languages. Due to all these reasons, Matt argues that using language and grammar as ranking signals might not be possible.

Grammar and spelling may not be ranking signals but Matt strongly recommends that you take more care when creating and publishing content online. According to him, it may not directly help search engine rankings but readers will appreciate your content more if they can see that the grammar and spellings are flawless. When readers appreciate your content more, they are more likely to come back to your site or bookmark your site for future reference. Watch this video to know what else Matt has to say about good grammar and spelling in online content.