Spelling & Grammar Not A Direct Google Ranking Factor

Oct 13, 2011 • 8:17 am | comments (14) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

A new thread at Google Webmaster Help asked a question that Matt Cutts of Google has a video answer on. The question was, is spelling and/or grammar a ranking factor used by Google?

The direct answer is, no. Matt Cutts said, last time he looked, spelling and grammar is not a direct signal used in search quality.

But he also added it would be something fair to use and based on studies they've done, pages that are higher quality, more reputable (i.e. higher PageRank) tend to use better spelling and grammar.

Here is the video answer from Matt:

Google reading level was launched back in December 2010, and you may want to check that out as well.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Note: This story was written earlier this week and scheduled to be published today.

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Modestos Siotos

10/13/2011 12:39 pm

Hi Barry. Matt Cuts also tweeted a few days ago in response to a question that  US English wouldn't be seen as bad spelling/grammar on UK sites. Matt's tweet has been added into a post which can be found at http://connect.icrossing.co.uk/international-content-panda-whats-pov_7056 

Giuseppe Lanzetta

10/13/2011 01:52 pm

Spelling and grammar is not actually a direct signal used in search quality, but hight quality articles and resources will receive more inbound links and better ranking on SERPs

josh bachynski (SEO)

10/13/2011 03:46 pm

#seo I would not be surprised to see Google starting to use grammar and spelling checks as one of their signals, or are already suing it - spun articles have terrible grammar

josh bachynski (SEO)

10/13/2011 03:47 pm

and my posts do too apparently! :-) perhaps they are spun...

Ajay Kumar

10/13/2011 04:39 pm

If content in king...and in my opinion spelling and grammar are apart of "quality content"...then shouldn't it be a factor.  I agree that it wouldn't be fair to penalize sites of those people who English isn't their first language but I can see grammar and spelling being a factor in the future.


10/13/2011 04:44 pm

Google spreadz lotsa misinfo and Matt picks questions he wants to ansuer.

Nick Stamoulis

10/14/2011 02:15 pm

Even if Google isn't looking at spelling and grammar, your visitors/readers are. Since they are the ones who are going to be doing business with your brand, you'd think that would be enough of a reason to invest in proofreading now and then!


10/14/2011 03:27 pm

I think it depends on which words are misspelled, that is, misspelling your target keywords and you can expect an undesirable impact.


10/14/2011 03:33 pm

Watching Matt's video, I see a standard reply format, that is, "no, it doesn't affect rankings, but..."


10/21/2011 06:45 pm

Spelling and grammar may not have an impact on your search rank, but it will definitely have an impact on how many visitors you convert to customers. Getting them to your site is only part of the battle, so your preparation shouldn't end with search engine optimization. You need some human visitor optimization to go along with it. Clear, understandable content is a big part of that.

Richard Redmond

04/06/2012 12:53 am

I think you hit the nail right on the head. While it's not a factor, good spelling and grammar can help form a connection between your content and your audience. That is especially important in a business website. An improper flow or words would be a pretty big flaw in the professional image you're trying to create.

Jane Sumerset

09/24/2013 12:08 pm

Another point of view to consider: http://www.grammarcheck.net/can-bad-grammar-influence-google-rankings/ - The better the writing the higher the chances to get linked from an authority. Does make sense?

Tom Goodwin

12/13/2013 12:41 pm

I'm pretty sure that grammar isn't a factor when it comes to SERP ranking. Much of the web's most compelling content is user generated so you'd be penalizing top quality content. Possibly they could use it to detect article spinning but in most cases the spun content is distributed to sites which should flag as low quality anyway.

Tom Goodwin

12/13/2013 12:44 pm

If Google were to tighten up on grammar in the coming years then it would be a rare example of the internet boosting the quality of the English language. Tools like grammarly seem to understand grammar rules better than the average man

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