SEO Advice: Spell-check your web site

Here’s some quick advice. If you’re going to ask people to give you money, spell-check your site. For example, here’s a banner from an SEO site I heard about:

Banner with typo

It should be spelled “guarantee,” not “garuntee.” By the way, I can hear the Kentuckian jokes now, and you can just stop. :) Worst-case, ask a friend to look over your site for typos just like you would with a resume. If your objective is to get someone to give you money, the effort is definitely worth it.

If you have a UNIX webhost, there are a variety of programs that can spell-check your docs, including spell or ispell. If you search for [spell check web page], you can also find sites that offer spell-checking of live web pages. I found and tried this service in five minutes and it worked fine. You get a useful service for free, and they offer the option to upgrade to a paid package. Offering a useful service to visitors is a great way to attract repeat visitors and links. There’s often a lot of room for improving on existing services, too. For example, the free tool I found flagged a lot of words like Abondance, Harmonix, JavaScript, etc. It would be an easy improvement over that free tool if you added an option to ignore words that were capitalized, for example. There’s also the spell-check on webforms that the Google Toolbar offers, and there are numerous plugins for stuff like WordPress that do spell checking.

John Walker has an interesting method of dealing with typos: one strike and you’re out. Essentially, you stop reading a message after the first misspelling you hit. On a quick sample of Slashdot discussion, he found that

a total of 34 words were read before the respective messages struck out, from a total of 444 words in the original postings (not counting headers or identification information). Striking out the messages thus eliminated more than 90% of the text you’d otherwise have read…

All the more reason to spell well. :)

92 Responses to SEO Advice: Spell-check your web site (Leave a comment)

  1. Dave

    lukilly i hav had a good edumecation and doent nead a spel checker :)

  2. They got “Don’t” wrong as well. :)

  3. Geez, I missed the Dont. Sigh. :)

  4. Well that is one way to get around ever having to give anyone their money back. They can just claim it was a moneyback “garuntee” which everyone knows is French for “ripped off”.

  5. Harith

    Good morning Matt

    “By the way, I can hear the Kentuckian jokes now, and you can just stop.”

    Lets hear one of those Kentuckian jokes :-)

    Have a great day and a successful “spam falling” week.

  6. Tell you what: I’ll tell one tomorrow, Harith.

    It has been a successful “spam falling” week on the Pacific Rim. When I talked about going all i18n in 2006, people didn’t expect that we’d start out and go clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. ;)

  7. There’s one very interesting problem that stems from all of the “spill chukking” that doesn’t get discussed.

    What happens to the person who beleaves that there spelling is correct and that everone else is spelling the words rong?

    One of my clients actually got chewed out in an email by a customer because the client neglected to apply the “I before E except after C” rule to a word.

    The problem: the word in question was “height”.

    So, as ridiculous as it sounds, sometimes it’s better to spell things incorrectly. I do it quite intentionally to communicate with some of my clients, for example.

  8. Thu

    “height”

    During a job interview, I was asked to hand-write html code on the whiteboard. I can usually do so, but I had done a night shift before the interview so I was a bit sleep deprived. I was doing fine until I got stuck on the word “height”. I couldn’t figure which vowel went first. :(

    I think if I could have typed the code out, I wouldn’t have had that issue because my hands would remember the typing motions better than the writing gestures of the word since I rarely write these days. Plus, I’m more used to seeing the word on a computer screen, and it looked funny on the whiteboard in my handwriting.

  9. If this is an adword ad, the wrong spelling would have been flagged at the ad creation level. The spelling checker is built-in! Although it does have a lot of false positives, like when i’m putting in terms that are specific to our country. (PHilippines)

    By the way, is there any truth to an article i just read from Dan Thies
    Editor, Inside Out Marketing :

    “To get accurate data, set your campaign options to limit distribution to Google.com only. You do this by making sure the boxes that say “search sites in Google’s network” and “content sites in Google’s network” are unchecked in the “campaign settings” screen. This keeps your ad from
    being displayed on AOL, among other places.”

  10. I’ve certainly applied the one-strike rule when I’ve been recruiting, and I’m looking at a big pile of résumés. You’ve got to start applying some kind of rules to reduce the pile! And, especially if I’m recruiting for jobs in marketing, I can’t expect you to take your work seriously if you can’t at least spellcheck what is effectively your promotional leaflet.

  11. Rob Said

    Does the “striking out” rule also mean that you shouldn’t link to such spelling errors. If so, two posts down you did just that. The post regarding the Bush Administrations request of Google data included this wonderful line:

    “Yahoo got a request, and I’m guessing compled”

    Hard to tell whether that’s supposed to be “complied” or “crumpled”, I prefer the latter :-p

  12. Hello Matt,

    Frgive me to write this letter in your blog, didn’t match this article’s subject, because I can’t find your contact mail.

    I need your help, one of our company new sites: http://www.ceconline.com which lanuched at Dec 15,2005, the old site http://www.cec.globalsources.com was 301 redirect to this new one, at beginning, the new site was indexed about 4,000 pages in google, (note: I’m in China search), but today, I see it has 691 pages indexed only, but I can see it has 281,000 pages indexed in 64.233.179.104 server.

    The traffic is very important to us, can you give some thread what happend in our site? can you give some information about google DC’s working?

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Aimee

  13. 10080:BTG174

    Hmm

    One strike and your out well thats a lot of CISCO docs out o fthe window ;-)

  14. David

    >When I talked about going all i18n in 2006, people didn’t expect that we’d
    >start out and go clockwise instead of counter-clockwise.

    because it’s much easier to clean the hawaii index than the greenland one?

  15. Everyone knows American’s can’t spell anyway…

    Aluminium, Colour just two examples ;-)

  16. Of course, if you optimise your site for the word “garuntee”, or indeed any of the misspellings between “guarantee” and its cognate “warranty”, you are likely to pick up traffic from people (a) who don’t care and (b) may be more likely to fall for whatever it is that you are purportedly garunteing…
    ;-)

  17. I must say I find the attitude you spelling elitists very disconcerting, is there no place in the world for those of us who are typographically challenged? ;-)

  18. I used to work like this, immediately dismissing sites which had poor grammar, but if you Google [photos] and [photo's] ( http://www.googlebattle.com/index.php?domain=photos&domain2=photo%27s&submit=Go%21 ) you will find that far more than 1000 times as many occurrences of the apostrophe being omitted than the correct abbreviation.

    What with Americans’ spelling being different to Englishmen’s spelling as well, it is hard to know where to draw the line.

    There is a sign above Becky Falls which reads ‘Danger, Bowlders are slippery.’. Much amused I mentioned this to staff and was told that this was deliberate – misspelling draws attention much more than correct spelling – perhaps having a howler in your banner is a good thing from a marketing (*spits*) perspective?

    The ‘Dont’ is unforgivable, however.

  19. Je suis content de voir qu’il existe toujours des gens qui se sentent concernés par les problèmes d’othographe en anglais.

    Nous avons les mêmes problèmes en français : méconnaissance de l’orthographe et des règles de grammaire les plus élémentaires, fautes volontaires et messages au format SMS, et les anglicismes.
    Aujourd’hui, personne ne sait plus faire la différence entre un manchot (penguin) et un pingouin (auk), etc.

    Now back to your English problem, I think the most widespread mistake is “its” instead of “it’s”. It makes me jump out of my seat every time I see it.
    An I just keep bouncing…

  20. Julie

    Spelling and grammatical errors are completely unacceptable in the business world. If you are trying to win people’s trust or business, take the extra time to proofread before you publish.

    If someone is trying to sell me something and doesn’t know when to use “where” or “were” or “to” and “too”, you can be that I won’t ever be a customer. It drives me insane when people spell things wrong.

    Then there’s also the problem of people who write loads of bullshit on their pages that make no sense whatsoever. And if they’ve asked your opinion of it and you tell them the truth, they still believe they’ve written the world’s best sales pitch…..but I won’t even get into that……..

  21. a total of 34 words were read before the respective messages struck out, from a total of 444 words in the original postings (not counting headers or identification information). Striking out the messages thus .. I stopped reading it at the word “thus”.

  22. Connie

    Spell checkers are great. But they do no point out the difference between there, their, know, known etc. Even with a good spell checker you can have errors.

    Fire Fox has a spell checker plugin. I use it all the time.

  23. it’s not just spelling and grammar. Acronyms are a big problem too..

    So many companies talk about ROI, CRM etc without ever defining it.

    Sure, us professionals know what it means.. but many of their readers don’t.

  24. One thing I have to say for this post is that it brings the SEO industry closer to being see as it should. A lot of SEO “businesses” are nothing more than one guy in a basement drinking a Big Gulp and changing some meta tags or copy/pasting keyword dense text some from some other web page. Kudos, Mr. Cutts.

  25. I’ve read (and blogged about) Walker’s strikeout idea before. I like it. It always amazed me to see the egregiously bad spelling and grammar strewn about the web..

    Now, is Google working on an automated strikeout filter for inclusion into the Google toolbar? :D

  26. yeah. I’ve seen a lot of “web development” companies who add SEO on as a service simply because their clients request it..

    They know nothing about it, but aren’t afraid to charge that extra 2k/ month for adding it on.

    I actually worked with one company who told me that I was wasting my time telling clients to write fresh, on-topic content, and work on link building..

    It’s downright funny.

  27. David

    Matt,

    About the security codes on this site and spell checking ;-)

    Now get back to choping down spam sites.

    I know where there is an interlinked 4000 domain MFA directory forest, sharpen that double biited beauty and start swinging.

  28. The google toolbar has an excellent spell check that I use instead of my CMS spell check.

    Also, sometimes I build sites that rely on poor spelling in order to attract website visitors. For example, there are 46m pages in Google for “Mediterranean” (proper spelling).

    There are 349,000 for “mediteranean” (wrong spelling).

    You can build a pretty nice business on wrong spellings. (I just wish Google wouldn’t give the proper spelling at the top of the page!!)

    Matt – Does the Googlebot give negative SEO to folks who spell badly?

  29. Smoke2Much

    With the wonderful education in our country, some high school graduates can’t even read and write! It’s sad to see how dumb the majority of the people really are. I see it all over, not just on the web and it’s not only spelling, but grammer is horrible too. Optimizing for spelling mistakes pulls in a decent amount of hits as we all know.

  30. yeah. I actually spelled homonym wrong on one of my websites once, and got about 10-15 vists / day for it..

    I decided to actually work the word “hominym” into the text on the page somehow, as most people who confuse homonyms can’t actually spell the word.

    noslang.com/spelling.php not linked, but just in case you were curious as to the page.

  31. Matt

    You seem a fair enough guy but I find one problem in all this spelling madness.

    At 6’0 210lbs my hands are larger than the average ‘typing model hand’ anyway as I am sure many van relate to fingers and hands are at times not well suited for keyboards..

    Add in an ergonomic model like the one I use thinking it will help the wrists and it is very easy for anyone to see why many of us are fluent in typonese.

    Who is Google to find someting rong wid dis??

    Plus if uusse ever bin to souff filfthydelpheea uuse wood no we spell wat we sai

    Yo

  32. The problem with the “one strike you’re out rule” is that you might actually lose out on some important information that way. For example, the wonderful ResearchBuzz newsletter *deliberately* includes misspellings in its content in order to get past spam filters. There’s gotta be a better way.

  33. With the wonderful education in our country, some high school graduates can’t even read and write! It’s sad to see how dumb the majority of the people really are. I see it all over, not just on the web and it’s not only spelling, but grammer is horrible too. Optimizing for spelling mistakes pulls in a decent amount of hits as we all know.

    It helps to spell “grammar” correctly when you’re making a point about it. ;)

  34. I didn’t found any other way to contact you than through comments. This is a fantistic URL for you to write a post about: http://eclipsewiki.editme.com/WST

    Looks like any other site until you check the source at the bottom ;)

  35. wow, every page on the site is like that.

    :: ponders the thought::: How long before somebody puts out a CMS that adds their links like that to every post?

  36. Misspelling is a technique for ranking highly for popular and competitive keywords. In spite the spelling checkers used by SEs, plenty of people still use misspelled words in their queries. One of the more interesting examples I’ve seen is “oogle earth,” for which Google offers no alternative suggestions.

  37. Spelling schmelling ….. Matt you are such an … eltitist!

  38. I can relate to the comment about “when you’re so sure you’re right”. When I was a wee lad an elementary school teacher made quite an example of me. She was grading papers and in front of the entire class she asked me how to spell “A LOT”. Well, I was pretty sure this was one word, so I confidently blurted out A-L-O-T. When asked how confident I was of the spelling, I replied 100%. She then asked me to walk over to the classroom dictionary and “look it up”. Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find it.

    Ever since then I spell/grammar check ALL of my work – a lot.

  39. Why is this categorized as “SEO Advice?” I think anyone publishing anything ought to remember to do that. I see typos everywhere.

    In fact, I’d say the only thing about misspellings (there’s a commonly misspelled word for you) that’s specifically related to SEO is that some of us (no, not me) will optimize a page for a misspelled word in order to grab the people who put a typo into their query and ignore the “Did you mean” link on the SERP. So people create pages like http://www.windowshutters.biz/windoe-shutters.html to take advantage of it (either that, or they can’t spell either). Either that, or they’ll optimize a page for “windoes” with content like “You’re here because you misspelled the word ‘windows.’ Please click here to go the correct page.”

  40. What a Maroon

    I firmly believe that email and text messaging are primary causes for the demise in good spelling and grammar habits. Just like the words we use, how we write conveys an image.

    Love this english teacher’s blog entry, http://mr-skipper.blogspot.com/2005/08/spelling.html, about the freshmen students and their ability to spell.

    A Baker at http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=8&threadID=187343&messageID=1928725 has a similar perspective.

  41. There are plenty of people who suck at spelling who still make a tonne of money in the business world. Whats the big deal about spelling? Words change over time anyway.

    Take a look at written english from shakespeares time and it looks completely different.

  42. Thats like a commercial in my area for Metro PCS a cell phone company. The add makes a joke on a miss spelling.

    It says, “umlimited minutes”.

  43. I make lots of spelling errors.

    One time one of them meant one of my pages was 1 of only 2 misspelled pages in Yahoo!’s index for a term that earned me a few thousand dollars for misspelling it.

    OOOPPPPPSSSSSSSS!

  44. David

    We get many users that post questions to our site. Many times we leave their questions as they are. Does Google frown upon this?

  45. Matt,

    Being typographically correct is not always synonymous with traffic and earnings.

    I have to agree with Aaron on this one as my wife made a minor typo on a major category heading on a new web site in a fairly competitive area and suddenly traffic started flowing in surprisingly.

    I looked at her web stats and started laughing and then told her the traffic was coming from a typo and her knee-jerk reaction was to go fix it which got me yelling “ARE YOU CRAZY? IT’S YOUR ONLY SOURCE OF TRAFFIC!”

    We left it alone and now she’s on top for a typo and smiling away ;)

  46. LOL fruit cakes thats awesome.

    Ps I just noticed that all the google cache has gone, is it a big update or a mistake ??

    Thanks Sigmon

  47. Ron

    What about clients who fashion trademark names such as, for example, GetRclean or GoodSmackGum? (both fictional)

    … combining words for the sake of marketing or the development of proprietary products or services.

    I have a client which has many names like this which I know do not pass any spell-check. Is it to the detriment of the client to have such product names – names which would never pass a spell-check?

  48. Ne1home

    Matt,

    Serious question:

    I’ve quoted Chaucer at length on one of our pages, how does G handle Olde Englifh Fpelling?

    Will the page be marked down by the algo because it perceives it to have spelling errors, when in fact it doesn’t?

    I have many pages like this by other historical authors.

  49. There should be a distinction between blogs and sites when it comes to the importance of correct spellings. I don’t see the need on a blog or a forum to be perfect. One a site yes, but not somewhere where time is a factor when it comes to getting your posts in.

  50. colin_h

    In these days of search engine keyword saturation, sometimes the only way that an seo can compete is to pick up the scraps by deliberately spelling incorrectly. We have to remember that the key to finding something online is accuracy in searching, not everyone is accurate. Therefore there are a load of scraps to pick up if you don’t mind looking a bit silly. In fact some words (I’m sure everyone knows this) are habitually spelt incorrectly and the competition online is nearly as hot for the mistake as it is for the accurate spelling.

    All the Best

    Col :-)

  51. someone

    It’s good you’re the best SEO out there so that you can attack the others. It sure is “embarassing” to see misspelling on large banners, but I wonder how well you would spell any word in any other language than your native (uhm, your only I mean)… Remember, boy, the Internet is global, not English. It’s what’s under the surface that matters, to good people.

  52. do you know of a checker which looks for contiguous or alternate words being same/contained in the other?

    as in as far as or be believed or a new address

    or just one that does alternate word. i used to be a systems programmer but am also lazy enough not to want to have to learn perl or load up c type languages to code it up when someone has done it already for sure………

    i like your blog style. i used to work for geac/apak in seventies.
    now run a teddy bears site…….there is a moral there somewhere.

    malc rubery england

  53. “For example, here’s a banner from an SEO site I heard about:”

    Is it three strikes and you’re out for grammar also? LOL

    Carol

  54. Sue

    Matt,
    I’d like to subscribe to just your Google/SEO blog but when I grabbed the RSS link, it gave me stuff across topics. Are you by any chance planning on refining that?
    Thanks!
    Sue

  55. Chuck Gould

    Matt,

    Could you tell me if this company is “blacklisted” and spamming? I have an associate doing business with them, and they claim that they use Google for SEO but I’ve heard otherwise. The company is GDS International, and the sites are:

    http://www.gdsinternational.com
    http://www.cxoamerica.com
    http://www.extendedretail.com

    The last two are the publications they put out, and claim that they send out strategic marketing campaigns through Google to an extended readership for their advertisers. Another associate of mine said that he’s been told they are blacklisted for spam.

    Thanks for the help,

    Chuck

  56. Callahan

    Kentucky? Isn’t that where signs and bumper stickers say, “Drive Smart” instead of, “Drive Smartly”? (Of course, there’s a famous computer company that used to use, “Think Different”, showing that they think differently about English…) And why can’t you use, “fastly” just as you’d use “quickly”? And is it, “e-mail” or, “email”? And then there’s that strange, “ghoti” thing…English!!!

    Anyway, maybe you can help me with a little homework problem:

    If there are exactly 30 seats in a room, and exactly 30 students to be assigned to them, and the instructor (let’s say his name is, “Ken K.”) assigns students seats randomly on a daily basis–what is the probability that at least one student will end up in the same seat on days one and two?

    P.S. I’ve done a little programming in the past–can you get me a job at Goggle?

    Bob

  57. Don’t have much faith in spell-checkers, thanks. Actual “copy-editing” (by at least one other set of hopefully professional editorial eyes) is much mo’ better. For one thing, spell-checkers can’t tell when the writer is merely hacking with the language intentionally and colloquially, and spell-checkers have no sense of CONTEXT.

    “Context”? When I was an editor at the ol’ MacUser Magazine, a senior editor named “Abby” had a Wall of Shame outside her office door. It displayed actual hard-copy evidence of the blind faith shown by other magazine editors, PR press-release writers, and advertising copywriters in their proofreading precision. All of the displayed spelling and grammatical errors were the sort of things routinely approved by spell-checking software.

    The acknowledged favorite posted on the Wall of Shame was an announcement issued by a newly-appointed top executive at a Highly-Prominent multinational electronics corporation most famous for laser printers. He had sent (to all computer-magazine editors in America) a press-release announcing his status as the company’s new “Pubic Relations Director.” Now THAT is a spell-checker worth using.

  58. Hamtoucher Said: ‘I used to work like this, immediately dismissing sites which had poor grammar, but if you Google [photos] and [photo’s] you will find that far more than 1000 times as many occurrences of the apostrophe being omitted than the correct abbreviation.’

    Photo is an accepted word unto itself and in wide-spread, common usage; hence ‘photos’ does not need an apostrophe unless it is in the possessive tense or an abreviation.

  59. I agree that spelling mistakes can drive customers off very fast. I have, however, found that in some cases, a simple misspelling can create a “low hanging fruit” in search engine optimization results. Of course, you need to “plan” these misspellings right…so yes, you should always spell check your work, but a “Britney” Spears and a “Britny” Spears can take you far at times!.

  60. Ex GDS International Employee

    Re the GDS issue.

    It’s probably too late now but the company is not legitimate. I once worked there and can safely say they have not been barred because they do not carry out the marketing operations they claim. I would advise your colleague to steer well clear but I’d imagine I’m $11,000 USD too late.

    Regards

  61. Matt,

    If we have a forum on our site and your users are constantly using misspelled words, does this have any sort of detrimental effects on my SERPs?

  62. Chris Fielding

    I found this post while doing a google search for a website spell checker and found the netmechanics one quite useful but hate having to wait for results to be emailed to me.

    In my travels I’ve found two others that are quite useful for quickly spell checking a website (and that are free).

    iwSpell
    Ekstreme Spell Checker

    Hope they help.

  63. Paintball: Good questions… be interested to hear Matt’s comments. I guess it is even more important with the duplicate content argument…

    Si

  64. I found a free online spell checker that will crawl your site for you:

    http://www.furtheronline.co.uk/site-spellcheck.aspx

  65. Actually, we’ve never found any spell checker to be be perfect (but you all know that). I think that’s why this company – http://www.texttrust.com – uses software and people when it spell checks web sites. Very neat service that looks like it will solve most of the debate above.

    Karri

  66. Google’s “Did you mean?” has become an enabler for atrocious spelling. I’ve become too reliant on it.

    I still can’t remember how to spell “Albuquerque,” because every time I need to spell it, I just type something that approximates it into Google. Without Google, I would have memorized it.

    Here’s a blog post I wrote about how technology affects language:
    http://blog.agrawals.org/2007/10/14/technologys-affects-on-our-language/

    And yes, I do know the difference between affect and effect. Just had a typo when I made the post; SEO keeps me from changing it.

  67. My brother and I put together a new website spell checker a few days ago at http://www.spellery.com

    It’s still a work in progress, but the functionality is increasing every day! : )

  68. Spell check’s fine, but what about grammar? Ain’t there no good live grammar-checking sites?

    (By the way, re US math education: everyone knows that 4+8=48.)

  69. Chompy

    I use a tool called inspyder insite to spell check my sites. It makes checking larger sites easier since it crawls page by page (hard to do with the FF spell checker). http://www.inspyder.com

  70. I wrote a general website checker a while back. You give it a URL and it’ll do a spell check (using aspell with a slightly-improved dictionary), meta scan, keyword check, etc.

    It isn’t very pretty, but it does the job fairly well and outputs a nicely formatted report at the end.

    Haven’t added a crawling function yet so it only does one page at a time but…enjoy!

    DistinctScan: http://www.distinctquality.com

  71. Poor guys! Must have lost tons of customers……hahaha

  72. Interesting read.

    I agree with the original and susequent posts that typos can lead to lost sales or people leaving a site. I have left sites and moved on myself for that very reason.

    I also see the other side of the argument to and agree that typos can be used for gaining traffic and I do not mean by registering a domain similar to a popular site to steal their traffic by having a commonly used typo of that domain name. No I mean by using typos in a way that is merely a clever use of text content in order to catch traffic in a wholesome way that is just using insight to do so in a nice way.

    I wrote an article some time ago about spelling and US Standard English and UK standard English (The link is in my name) and I pointed out in my article that British English and American English use similar words spelt slightly differently including the words “Optimiser” & “Optimizer” and “Optimisation” and “Optimization”.

    Now the funnt thing about this is that prior to writing that article Google always flagged Optiser and Optimisation as typos/spelling errors on http://www.google.co.uk but not too long after putting that article online Google.co.uk stopped flagging Optimiser and Optimisation as a typo.

    This has me wondering if it was merely coincedence that not long after I put that article online Google stopped flagging Optimiser and Optimisation as a typo or whether someone at Google read the article and tweaked things accordingly.

    I for one would find the answer to “Why did Google.co.uk recently stop flagging Optimiser and Optimisation as a typing error or spelling mistake” very interesting.

  73. Question

    If a site would get a penalty of any sort for spelling errors why do blogs not have an edit facility?

    The sussequent comments or previous ones could subsequently make for an interesting read to especially if the answer to my last question became a part of a sub-sequence

    Smile Please :) I write in jest but but it is light hearted and on topic as well as also having a serious side to.

  74. > If you search for [spell check web page]

    Kind of ironic that this page is the first hit :)

  75. Martin Feuchtwanger

    Hamtoucher’s assertion about [photos] and [photo's] — albeit poorly written and quite wrong — reminded me of a question I have:

    When there are two correct-but-different versions of a word, how do I write my web source matter to appeal to both audiences’ search terms?

    For example, if I write extensively about a “centre point” and yet 80% of my actual audience might search for a “center point”,

    do I always add the clumsy-looking “(or center)” every time I have a “centre” in my content,
    do I just add “center point” to my meta-keywords-content and stay with only “centre” in my main content, or
    do I “fuhgeddaboudit” and assume that search engines know that there are two valid spellings of the word and make the appropriate substitutions when searching.

    My guess would have been that the 3rd option would not work and I’d have to do some careful web content writing. However, and here’s the Hamtoucher connection, when I tested [theatre] versus [theater] on http://www.googlebattle.com (I don’t know why I didn’t test centre/center) one of the highest ranks for “theater” was the AMC Theatres Homepage which didn’t have “theater” anywhere — not even in any meta-keywords-content. It had “theatre” everywhere.

    What’s happening?

  76. Martin Feuchtwanger

    After posting the above, I thought I should have first checked out Keith Mains’ article on “Optimisation” and “Optimization”. Unfortunately, said article seems to have been written for search engines, not for people: It repeats, over and over, the various different UK/US spellings of words and concludes, rather anticlimactically, that one can write in UK english, in US english, or in a mix of both UK and US english. Is that so? Just how do I write for both a UK and US english audience without reverting to the very awkward “optimise (or optimize)”, “colour (or color)”, “litre (or liter)”, etc, style? Search engines would love that but I think humans would not. It makes me think that Google still has a long way to go in encouraging good content writing technique.

    To Keith’s credit, I did learn, assuming he’s right, that my 2nd option (in the previous post) of putting the alternative spellings only in the meta content, would fall foul of Google.

  77. Hi Matt,

    This is my question to all those who good SEO webmaster but can’t write good english. I meant don’t have good command in english writing.

    What they do and how they do SEO for any site?

    Thanks,

  78. Mighty small world. Or maybe the people I know all have the same interests.

    In reading the posts, I spotted at least four people who have corresponded or done business with me.

  79. Rather than focusing on the UK or the US versions of words, I think google is certainly looking at pages as a whole more carefully. I think they want to see contact pages, about us pages, etc. I don’t think they actually look at the spelling of words in order to decide if it is good content or not.

  80. chiba

    honestly after reading all of this and some people typing liek dis wiff der gibberush it really is comprehendable (which seems to be wrong spelling) and the funny thing about it is if you can read it and understand it doesn’t that make it applied communication? It’s like ok… so the grammar is horrible, yet somehow we still can make sense of the phrase or statement, which seems to be the ultimate goal in this here scenario. So, basically, if you can get your point across, then use whatever means necessary to do it. If you want to type in shit-grammer then by all means do so if it applies to your audience. It’s really hard to determine your real target audience when some people’s patience differs from others. It’s like one guy is drinking Black Label and laughing at your horrible shit-grammar yet understanding, and another is a grammar nazi, and then of course you have the people that find it really hard to wrap their mind around emptying the recycle bin.

    chaos.

  81. Hello, Matt.

    Just one point of nitpickery here (and yes, spell check software will flag this neologism) that I feel compelled to point out since no one else did.

    Mind you, this is a question of grammar rather than spelling, but as a professional nitpicker, I feel compelled to mention that the sentence

    “There’s also the spell-check on webforms that the Google Toolbar offers, and there are numerous plugins for stuff like WordPress that does spell checking.”

    should read:

    “There’s also the spell-check on webforms that the Google Toolbar offers; and there are numerous plugins for stuff like WordPress that do spell checking.”

    A great post though; if you want someone to do business with you, it’s imperative that you can demonstrate at least a minimal level of professionalism by bothering to use spell check.

  82. Hi Matt,
    It’s always great to read your posts. I would like you to write a post on how to analyse a website giving links to tools to be used and also to find strengths and weakness and optimization recommendations. How to document for a site as a website analyser.

  83. Spell check is usually a pretty reliable source for most documents and such, but it has a tendency to not catch certain things (such as different types of spellings of words; their, there, they’re) but for the most part that shouldn’t be spell checker’s problem.

    I use the spell check built in with my Fire Fox!

  84. Many of the browsers now incorporate spell check so it should be much easier for everyone to catch their own mistakes.

    If I am shopping online I figure that if a company does not have the time to present a professional website, then they don’t really want my business.

  85. Steve

    And from the first paragraph of the top paid ad site on google for “website spell checker”

    There’s to need to check each page individually, InSite will discover all of your pages automatically.

    which should presumably read “There’s no need…” spelling is not everything

  86. I’m one of the few proof readers who’s actually quite fond of spell-checking software (I find it a great way of clearing the decks before I start proofreading in earnest), but it’s very important to be aware of the kinds of ‘word confusion’ spell checkers (and even some people) tend to overlook.

    Here’s a list of easily confused words:

    Accept/Except
    Affect/Effect
    A lot/Allot
    All Ready/Already
    All Together/Altogether
    Alter/Altar
    Ascent/Assent
    Breath/Breathe
    Canvas/Canvass
    Complement/Compliment
    Course/Coarse
    Council/Counsel
    Decent/Descent/Dissent
    Desert/Dessert
    Elicit/Illicit
    Eminent/Imminent
    Flaunt/Flout
    Forego/Forgo
    Forth/Fourth
    Grisly/Grizzly
    Hoard/Horde
    Incidence/Incidents
    Its/It’s
    Lead/Led
    Loath/Loathe
    Lose/Loose
    Palate/Palette
    Passed/Past
    Pedal/Peddle
    Plain/Plane
    Precede/Proceed
    Principal/Principle
    Proscribe/Prescribe
    Rain/Rein/Reign
    Stationary/Stationery
    Their/There/They’re
    Weather/Whether
    Who’s/Whose
    Your/You’re

    Hope you find the list useful, and thank you for a great blog post.

    Kind regards,
    Mike

  87. rup

    I am really surprised to know when I got informed that spell mistakes can make your site ranking down. But can any one let me know why words of regional language or mnemonics or specific Jargon’s treated as spell mistakes.
    On my site http://www.astrodesire.com , I have specific Astrology jargon’s used is this a spell mistake ???

  88. I have used this website spell check that Maek suggested.

    http://www.furtheronline.co.uk/site-spellcheck.aspx

    It is really good i would definately recommend!

  89. ezra abrams

    not reeding misspelt post just plain silly.
    Of course, one has to use one’s judgement; one or two typos should not disqualify a well written post; one, also, has to consider the level of formality; blog posts are somewhat below the level of a formal document like a company website.

    Ezra S Abrams

  90. I tried out the one strike and you’re out system. I started reading pages from a few websites and never got past about 20 words on any of them. All because so many people follow Webster. Webster as we all know deliberately misspelt words for one simple reason, he hated the English.

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