Why is quality writing so important for SEO?

We Make Media looks at how poor writing, spelling and grammar can impact SEO

When it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), we think of keywords and their importance for a website’s ranking in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). While keywords are an integral part of your SEO strategy, long gone are the days when you could fool the algorithm by stuffing your poor-quality content full of relevant keywords and hoping for the best.

Search engines now prioritise well-written content that matches the search intent of users, and delivers valuable and helpful information. In August 2022, Google released the content update which is “part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results”.

While website content should be well-written and helpful, it must also be high quality. According to Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, one of the most important ranking factors is known as E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. But what does this mean?

Expertise means that Google wants to show content from subject matter experts in its search engine results pages. Authority is about reputation and whether an individual or website is seen as the go-to source of information about a particular topic. Trustworthiness looks at how legitimate, transparent and secure a website is.

If you want potential customers coming to your site to believe you are a trustworthy, authoritative expert, then create accurate and error-free content. Not only are spelling and grammar errors unprofessional but they could also cause potential customers to lose faith in your brand, damage your credibility, and could mean you lose opportunities.

Poor-quality writing, spelling and grammar will affect the perception that users have of your business and can give the impression that your company lacks attention to detail. If you can’t ensure your own content is good quality, why would visitors believe that the products or services you sell will be good quality? A website full of spelling and grammar mistakes will undermine your marketing efforts and ultimately erode trust and could damage your reputation.

Are spelling and grammar ranking factors for SEO?

Bing has stated that spelling and grammar are ranking factors for their SERPS. Google has previously said that it doesn’t use spelling and grammar as a direct signal for ranking site quality, but it does have an impact on other factors on which Google depends. Here are some factors that could have a negative effect on your SEO efforts.

1. Poor user experience
If visitors are greeted with landing pages on your site that are poorly written and include errors, this will negatively impact their user experience, as the content may not be clear or easy to understand. Visitors will rarely stay on a site with a poor user experience, so if they leave quickly, this sends a clear signal to Google, and other search engines, that your site does not deliver a good experience, and that will have a detrimental effect on where your website ranks.

2. Low dwell time
If visitors are not spending time on your website, or looking at multiple pages, or not doing what they came to do – whether that’s to contact you, make a booking, or buy your product – then this is called low dwell time. Google assumes that your visitors did not find what they were looking for. This in turn will cause your ranking for the search term that the user chose to find your website to decrease. This means you will get less traffic for that search term in future, thus affecting sales.

3. High bounce rates
If the first page a user comes to on your website is poorly written and riddled with spelling and grammar errors, this could cause them to bounce. This means that they visit a page on your website and then leave without visiting any other pages. If many users do this, you will end up with a high bounce rate, which is damaging to your SEO. A high bounce rate signals to search engines that your site didn’t match the search query or that it is not trustworthy.

4. Fewer backlinks
A great way to improve your small business website’s SEO is to create such high-quality content that other websites want to link to it. Link-building sends a signal to search engines that other people consider your website to be authoritative, trustworthy, and expert enough to send their visitors to. However, a poorly written, error-filled site will struggle to convince other websites to link to you.

Here are six simple ways to immediately improve your website’s spelling and grammar.

1. Take your time
Your small business website needs to make a good impression. Every landing page should be helpful, well-written and error-free, so take your time. You are much more likely to miss spelling and grammar mistakes if you rush the content creation.

2. Proofread
Once you have created the content, make sure you read it from start to finish and check for errors. It helps to leave a few hours before proofreading so you can return to the task with fresh eyes.

3. Read the text out loud
Reading the text out loud can help you spot mistakes. When we read to ourselves, our brain will often autocorrect to what we meant to write rather than what we actually wrote.

4. Get someone to check it
It’s important to ask someone else to read your work before you publish it. They can check for comprehension as well as picking up any spelling and grammar errors you may have missed.

5. Use an online spelling and grammar tool
There are several online tools that you can use to flag up spelling and grammar errors and help improve the quality of your writing. You may have to pay to use them but given that they can help improve your SEO and protect your reputation, it’s a worthy investment.

6. Hire a professional writer
If writing isn’t your strong point, perhaps consider outsourcing this to a professional. Our web design company works with experienced journalists, editors and writers who regularly contribute to leading regional and national newspapers, magazines and websites.

If you’re looking to redesign your website with good-quality, well-written, error-free content, we can help. We Make Media is a Devon-based web design company. We’ve been helping small businesses grow in the West Country since 2010. If you’re interested in a website design for your business, book your free discovery call to discuss what you’re looking for.

Jeff Cooper. 15 November 2022

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