Before you think this post is an all-conclusive one on grammar, let me state that it isnít. Rather, itís a brief exposition on the advantages of crosschecking grammar before publishing . Also, it provides information on how the quality of grammar and punctuation can affect content exposure, and how correct/good grammar can be used to optimize content and make readers want to come back for more in the future. If we agree that we are humans who are prone to mistakes, then we can accept that nobody is immune to grammatical and punctuation errors. No matter how many times we proofread content, an error might still go unnoticed, and if there are too many typos in content, it could affect the image/brand of the website housing it, and hurt the ownerís reputation over time.
Many people usually ask:
i. Does correct/good grammar help to market oneís blog, website, or brand?
ii. Does incorrect/bad grammar decrease rankings on search engines?
Well, while there might not be an all-conclusive answer, good grammar can actually help make your message clear and preserve your visitorsí or clientsí trusts, whether youíre an advertiser, blogger, content marketer, social media personality, or other kind of marketing professional. Too many typos can negatively impact sites, blogs or online businesses. A recent study by "Disruptive Communications" revealed that the behaviour that annoys people the most on social media is bad grammar, spelling and punctuation. If people are annoyed with the poor grammar they see on social media, just think about how theyíll feel when viewing blog articles, or receiving emails or eBooks riddled with similar or related errors. On the long run, itís better to crosscheck your content for errors, and prevent yourself from unconsciously getting used to this practice of letting errors be.
Repeated grammatical errors or typos could reduce the readership of those who own blogs, websites, brands or products. A few typos might likely not destroy your brand or blog, but they can decrease readersí or potential customersí trusts in you, depending on how they look. Being mindful of spelling and grammar doesnít mean that one must become an expert in the use English grammar; itís about making your writing easy for others to read and comprehend. The thing is this: if you can avoid making grammatical errors, then do so. At certain times, you may misspell words, or use words wrongly; however, Google and other search engines might not punish you by ranking you low if you can keep grammatical errors to a bare minimum, and continue to produce original content.
Many people are not aware that search engines are sensitive to grammatical errors which can negatively affect contentsí or sitesí rankings on search engines. Every site owner would want audiences to understand their messages, and search engines to be able to read their content with ease. Although the use of language might not be a conclusive factor that determines ranking, search engines read web content in order to have an idea what itís about. Proper use of grammar helps search engines easily read texts, and grasp the message behind content.
Matt Cutts (co-patentor of much of Googleís web spam software ) stated in a questions-and-answers video in 2011 that he isnít aware of any direct grammar algorithm; however, "there is a correlation between content with good grammar, and high-ranking positions on Google search pages". As search engines like Google continue to update their algorithm, and technology for "reading" content on pages improves, correct spelling and grammar would likely continue to be considered in the scheme of things. The only way to be fully prepared for any onslaught on bad grammar thatíll arise due to algorithm updates, is to regularly crosscheck whether each piece of content you produce uses proper grammar and punctuation; this will ensure your content is free from as many unnecessary errors as possible.
WHY CROSSCHECK THE GRAMMAR IN YOUR CONTENT BEFORE YOU PUBLISH:
1. Search engines tend to give a high rank to contents that use correct grammar; this means reduced search engine visibility for contents that contain incorrect grammar: The truth is that correct grammar enhances usersí experiences. In todayís wars between Google and other search engines, which are targeted at attracting the largest percentage of daily searches as possible, Google knows that it needs to provide the best user experience as possible so that most people will continue to use its platform than it uses others. Common sense dictates that the correct use of tenses, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all important factors in making your visitors spend and enjoy their valuable time on your site.
Search engines use certain algorithms, and whenever people search for something, Google starts to look for related words or phrases on websites. If a website has content that someone is looking for, but the content itself is riddled with poor/bad/incorrect grammar, then itíll be unlikely that Google would pick it up and rank it high. The implication of this is that poor grammar will make sites lose a considerable amount of traffic when they publish content that has a lot of grammatical errors. Any content that uses correct grammar and punctuation will rank higher and show up more regularly. On the other hand, content riddled with grammatical errors will deter visitors from returning to the domains that house them; also, itíll probably make visitors spend lesser amount of time, even if they return.
Itís well known that search engines (especially Google) take notice of the amount of time people spend on a site; as from 2013 to date, Google has been continuously paying attention to signals from social media platforms. Search engines are designed to think like people; so if people notice consistent errors, so will Google, Bing, and other search engines. People will likely run away from a website if itís riddled with incorrect and unprofessional language. Google bots are able to find out if websitesí contents and SEO structures are distasteful.
2. Most valuable people, websites or blogs will either link, or not link to your content ó depending on the quality of its grammar and punctuation: Poor grammar and punctuation will not inspire confidence in readers. How many people would trust a banking website that states: "We Ďisí the best banking platform for you"? Itís highly probable that nobody would. Truth is that most people would look elsewhere and advise others to do the same. Such a vote of no confidence can impact web traffic negatively. There are a lot of common grammatical errors out there which some reputable sites are guilty of; here are some common ones:
1. Using "are" when giving information about one (singular) brand. The name of one brand should be followed by "is/has", not "are/have". For example, "XYZ isÖ" and "XYZ hasÖ". You might have/may noticed that some websites, especially the ones that have brands (or products) ending with an "s", often incorrectly use "are" and "have" as in "XYZ areÖ" and "XYZ haveÖ". Keep your eyes open to these types of grammatical errors.
2. Using "then" instead of "than", and vice-versa. For several years and running, many people on social media have gotten used to correcting the erroneous use of the words: "your" and "youíre". The same goes with "there", "their" and theyíre. One big but common mistake nowadays is to write: "youíre business will grow" instead of "your business will grow".
3. Using active voice, rather than passive voice. Although using passive voice might not be grammatically incorrect, especially when it is not littered all over content, itís still not widely used, accepted or supported by high-authority persons, websites, publishers or brands. The active voice is mostly used, and should be present in active sentences, and predominant in contents when subjects act (using verbs) on objects. For example, in the sentence: "the writer produced the content", we will agree that "the writer" is the subject, and the verb is "produced", while the object is "the content". Sentences with a passive voice would switch this around and state: "the content was produced by the writer". Most authoritative brands tend to go with the active voice rather than the passive. Itís advisable we get used to this if we havenít done so.
You might be asking: what do links have to do with using proper grammar and spelling? Well, the fact is that most leading websites wonít link to your content (no matter how original and informative it is) if you donít use correct grammar that follows widely-used grammar rules. Leading websites, which are ranked higher on search engines, will only link to your content if it adheres to the type of English grammar, punctuation and spelling rules that they know.
Imagine writing a mind-blowing article that attracts the attention of high-ranking websites like "The Guardian" and "The Huffington Post", and they assess your site in order to link to it, but only decide later, that because of poor English language use, incorrect grammar, punctuation and spelling, they wonít recommend your site to their readers. This would surely halt the rise of your brand, youíd miss out on quality links that could, in due time, move you higher up search engines rankings. This is one compelling reason why you should spend a little more time to crosscheck whether your grammar and punctuation are correct.
3. To assess whether your siteís/brandís credibility could be affected; To a great extent, your credibility depends on the quality of your contentís grammar and punctuation. When people search for brands, blogs or websites that they would like to visit regularly, they consciously or unconsciously assess grammar in order to judge the quality of the content. If people find a considerable number of grammatical errors on a website, they would likely place it on their list of websites they wouldnít like to revisit; this is one bias people tend to have, whether itís conscious or not.
Another thing: you are what you write. If you write and publish content thatís considerably free of spelling and grammatical errors, then you would come across as someone who adheres to rules/standards, and this would position you as a thought leader in your niche. On the other hand, if you publish content thatís full of errors, you would be giving the impression that youíre careless, and this would make people not take you seriously.
4. To be sure there would continue to be effective communication, and a strong bond between you and many internet users: English language is great and effective tool that can be used to communicate with people on websites; so itís important for site owners to use English in a clear and concise manner. Any site that produces fresh content and maintains effective communication with its audience, would make its audience always willing to revisit it.
Grammar shouldnít be so poor that it would make an audience guess or struggle to understand the message youíre trying to convey through your writing. Too many typos in content will make it difficult for people to read, understand, comment and share. Donít rely on softwares to highlight your mistakes; instead, read your writing out after you finish. If you are not sure whether itís appropriate to use an apostrophe, or add a comma, then donít be afraid to Google-search.
5. It can make you become an expert in editing and proof-reading: By regularly crosschecking content for incorrect grammar, youíll become adept in editing and prof-reading, irrespective of whether English is your first language or not.
HOW YOU CAN DEVELOP/IMPROVE YOUR ABILITY TO SPOT AND DELETE INCORRECT GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION FROM CONTENT
How can you prevent incorrect grammar from appearing in content when others are struggling, or have failed? Well, you donít need to spend a lot of money, or become a professor of English language before you can become successful in spotting and eliminating incorrect grammar from content. If you have interest, and you can create time, you can develop/strengthen your grammar skill by reading articles and tackling quizzes on any resourceful websites. Coupled with this, it would be wise to "always, always, and always" to crosscheck spellings of confusing words in your electronic dictionary (example: Merriam-Webster Dictionary), or do Google search; after the passage of time, watch how youíll improve. If you follow the links at the bottom of the live article related to this post, and which you can view on my blog, you may decide to:
1. Studying English grammar rules
2. practice quizzes in order to acquire more grammar skills, or3. find out the difference(s) between British and American English styles and selected terms:
Once more, before you hit the "Publish" button, crosscheck your content one or more times to ensure it contains little or no grammatical and punctuation errors.
Thanks for reading.