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How does Google feel about misspellings?
Kickedout




msg:4464556
 8:07 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

How does Google feel about misspellings? I mean is a fact that many people search for misspelled things.

Does Google have a negative vision about pages including misspellings on purpose or otherwise?

 

realmaverick




msg:4464594
 9:37 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

The last time Matt Cutts was asked about this, he said spelling and grammar aren't currently ranking factors. However he also stated that in his experience, good blogs have good spelling, therefore it wouldn't be unreasonable to use it as a ranking factor in the future.

Assuming they did, one would hope they're smart enough to distinguish between content and user generated content such as comments on a blog post.

[edited by: realmaverick at 10:20 pm (utc) on Jun 12, 2012]

g1smd




msg:4464605
 10:09 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

gramma?

::harrumph::

realmaverick




msg:4464608
 10:19 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Haha, I was posting via my iPhone. No excuse I guess!

Grammar! Grammar! Grammar! hah

I'm gonna run of to edit it!

Lame_Wolf




msg:4464614
 10:48 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seeing that Google is a misspelling of googol, they are not really in a position to penalize.

deadsea




msg:4464638
 12:29 am on Jun 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

My site ranks #1 for a common mispelling of a seven letter word. I used to get several hundred visitors a day because of that. When they launched autocomplete for the search box, it really cut into that number. The mispelling is in the last three letters, so most people use autocomplete before getting that far. Nowdays, I only get a handful of people a day coming in because of my use of the misspelling. It would be interesting to hear about other types of misspellings and whether autocomplete has an effect for them as well.

lucy24




msg:4464644
 1:00 am on Jun 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

There are whole threads about intentional misspellings for SEO purposes. (If people consistently say "mispelling", hey, let's seed the page with a few of 'em so we float to the surface in searches.) With digressions into google's "did you mean..." option-- or, conversely, their "verbatim search", introduced after reading the searcher's mind became the norm. I have especially fond memories of this one [webmasterworld.com]* in Foo.


* Oh, great. Now the whole WebmasterWorld site will suffer because the phrase "this one" has been used as anchor text leading to any number of different threads [webmasterworld.com]. What to do, what to do.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4464718
 5:27 am on Jun 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Don't forget about the search smartness feature in which your pages are ranked according to what level of education is required to read them. I'm sure spelling mistakes would be a sign 'you no seam 2 be 2 smart nohow' but who knows if it impacts actual serps.

My knee-jerk reaction is to say "Google feels you shouldn't make them". I'd agree with that.

Robert Charlton




msg:4464732
 6:01 am on Jun 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

My knee-jerk reaction is to say "Google feels you shouldn't make them". I'd agree with that.

In general, I agree with that too. Note, though, that there are some exceptions.

In one I know of, a brand is a proper name, and at the time I dealt with it some years ago, misspellings outnumbered correct spellings two-to-one. That ratio is hard to ignore. If you type far enough, Google currently will return both in Suggest/Auto-complete... but it still suggests the misspelled version first.

I found that in targeting the name(s) for ecommerce, putting Brandname/Brandnome in the title was actually the most expedient way to handle both spellings. If you're very patient, you could also rely on inbound links. If you wait long enough, natural inbound links will ultimately end up with misspelled anchor text. You may not outrank sites, though, that misspell it purposely. It's a competitive brand.

It's been a while since I've done this, but using both should still fly. I have a client site where I handle alternative product names this way (the idiom changes over English speaking countries), and we've done fine for both searches.

RichH




msg:4465048
 5:58 pm on Jun 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Here's another exception. I have a page on my hobby site that's dedicated to widgets for a popular music software program.

It consists of little more than download links (to files hosted on two different domains owned by me) for each widget and a very short description giving the name of the widget and its author. In this particular genre, made-up names (i.e in no known language) and deliberate misspellings are commonplace. Think "Blu Widgetz" rather than "Blue Widgets" and a lot worse! So the page is, I'd have thought, largely incomprehensible to a search engine spider looking for rational words/sentences. It could even look like spammy/spun content although it's anything but.

Despite this it ranks #1 / #2 in Google for the only key word phrases that anyone looking for these widgets would ever use. The only time this doesn't work is if you misspell the search for a widget that has already deliberately been misspelled. So a search for "Bloo Widgits" wont, of course, return my page which references "Blu Widgetz". The other site that I share the top 2 places with is that belonging to the company that wrote the original program, so no complaints there. In fact I know of at least one other similar resource for these widgets that's probably better than mine but it ranks nowhere.

The only slightly irritating thing is that, although I've specifically stated in the Meta tag info that the page is in British English, Google concludes that it's in Japanese.

g1smd




msg:4465049
 6:03 pm on Jun 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

The only slightly irritating thing is that, although I've specifically stated in the Meta tag info that the page is in British English, Google concludes that it's in Japanese.

Try adding the lang="en" or lang="gb-en" attribute to the <html> tag on the page.

Use the Live HTTP Headers for Firefox extension to make sure there's not some other language declaration in the HTTP Headers.

RichH




msg:4465354
 7:10 am on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the tips g1smd. Currently I have:

meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-gb"

I think this does the same thing but maybe I'll try your suggestion and see if that helps. I suspect though that Google sees and understands that I've specified that the page is in English but then it encounters all those misspelled and gibberish words. It then discards my English specification and makes a best guess that the page is in Japanese. The page still ranks well though despite all this so that's good.

lucy24




msg:4465390
 7:49 am on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

The only slightly irritating thing is that, although I've specifically stated in the Meta tag info that the page is in British English, Google concludes that it's in Japanese.

This made me laugh out loud. Conversely: A couple of days ago I was searching for a word in a non-Roman script. The results, naturally, were in the language that uses this script. Google helpfully suggested that I might constrain my search to pages in English.

Uhm... that would kinda defeat the purpose of the search.*


* It only just occurred to me to wonder about the frequency of "nunattinni"** compared to "nunavummi".***
** Locative possessive: "in or on our [more than two of us] one thing". Or lots of things. But not two of them.
*** Same, except that the possessive form has become lexicalized.

Scurramunga




msg:4465399
 8:21 am on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wonder what happens with:

'penalize' vs 'penalize'
'organization' vs 'organization'
'color' vs 'colour' etc etc etc.........

Sure you may say that Google takes into account your geo location; but I wonder what would happen to me as an Australian with a website residing on a U.S server.


Added: I guess the language attribute would help

Rosalind




msg:4465403
 9:07 am on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I always spellcheck before making blog posts, and more often than not end up with leaving several red underlines because they're correct. Sometimes they're new words, or proper names that don't get recognised, or the dictionary used simply isn't big enough. So checking for spelling and grammar is going to use a whole lot of processing power. But what you'll get is the people with the widest vocabularies penalised along with those who can't spell if it's used in the algorithm.

lucy24




msg:4465425
 10:44 am on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

'penalize' vs 'penalize'
'organization' vs 'organization'

That's exactly the kind of thing you'd get if you yielded to all the "did you mean...?" queries ;) You'll search for "penalize or penalise" to see which is more common across the Web, and up crops g### asking if you meant to search for "penalize or penalize".

zehrila




msg:4465548
 5:46 pm on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

It should not be a big factor, a lot of comments or UGC sites are filled with bad grammar and misspells. Not to mention some of news site when they break news, they need to be quick enough to post, this can lead to some spell mistakes. There should be other factors which should determine whether page quality is good.

Scurramunga




msg:4465655
 10:30 pm on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

'penalize' vs 'penalize'
'organization' vs 'organization'


Sorry, I need to clarify something here, as I have made an error. I meant to say:

'penalise' vs 'penalize'
'organisation' vs 'organization'

MrSavage




msg:4465665
 11:19 pm on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

At one point I thought it was clever to capitalize on misspellings. For me that ship has sailed. Instead of gain trust (ranking) from Google, intentional misspellings most likely erode that trust. I'm sure there are 2% of situations where it might make sense. Isn't it "gaming" the system or algo? I feel bad for anyone who invested a lot of time in creating website with this game plan. It's called fail (except for that <2% that may or may not exist).

lucy24




msg:4465706
 3:58 am on Jun 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have made an error. I meant to say

I know you did ;) But it was a useful typo, because it highlights one aspect of google's approach to missp-- er, variant spellings. Sometimes it can't tell the difference.

Matter of fact, can google ever tell? Does it have a database that says 'penalize' and 'penalise' are regional variations, while 'penelize' is an error no matter where you are?

tedster




msg:4465714
 4:15 am on Jun 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I would guarantee that they do - and for many years. They are so much further down the road than that kind of trivial thing. For heaven's sake, I got something like that for my English ;anguage internationalization work.

Why Google still makes those awful suggestions at times escapes me.

zehrila




msg:4465779
 7:37 am on Jun 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

tedster: what about UGC sites, which are infested with bad spelling, what about sites from non English countries, where users input their reviews and comments in horrible grammar?

Kickedout




msg:4465986
 6:50 pm on Jun 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

So, building pages to match known typos in order to get traffic and sales for people that actually looks for something they can't spell right yes or no?

From my point of view, is useful to users, useful to site owner. Frankly some proper names are difficult to spell correctly, thus, people writes that on searches as they can. Why not go for it?

tedster




msg:4465988
 6:54 pm on Jun 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just be careful about HOW you go for it. Jakob Nielsen, usability maven of many decades, got penalized for a footer crammed with incorrect variations of his name done in light gray type.

Kickedout




msg:4465989
 6:56 pm on Jun 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

So, building pages to match known typos in order to get traffic and sales for people that actually looks for something they can't spell right yes or no?

From my point of view, is useful to users, useful to site owner. Frankly some proper names are difficult to spell correctly, thus, people writes that on searches as they can. Why not go for it?

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