Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Google and grammar

I recently came across the surprising revelation that Google has looked at the quality of spelling and grammar of sites in its index (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qoFf6Kn4K98&gl=GB). This is not to say that poor grammar will directly affect a site's score when it comes to its search engine ranking (at least not yet). Rather, Google has noted a correlation between a site's Pagerank (trustworthiness in Google's eyes) and its spelling and grammar. Of course, as this video makes clear, it would be incredibly difficult for Google to automate the assessment of a page's quality of writing.

Nevertheless, the fact that there is a correlation between spelling and grammar on one hand and Pagerank on the other suggests that users and webmasters might just be making that assessment anyway, and affecting sites' search engine rankings as a result.


Well, your website's Pagerank is affected by the inbound links from other websites. And the higher the Pagerank of those sites, the more likely your own site is to be seen as trustworthy. The correlation between Pagerank and spelling and grammar suggests that webmasters of trusted sites may be more likely to link to sites where the quality of writing is good.

This isn't something that's often addressed by companies looking at search engine optimisation, but it does suggest a need for good proofreaders and editors to work alongside webmasters and marketers.

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