crobb305 - 9:18 pm on Mar 22, 2011 (gmt 0) [edited by: crobb305 at 9:33 pm (utc) on Mar 22, 2011]
I cannot believe that a _supposed_ spelling mistake could cause a 300 position drop in ranking
Look, we're faced with a major algorithm shift with a mission of "quality" assessment. We have been given clues from Google at SMX, JohnMu, and others, a paper that Tedster shared on the previous page [seobythesea.com...] , and my own observation of a -300 position drop followed by a 250 position gain after making the changes I described.
We can't keep crushing every single theory with the same old "I can't imagine Google penalizing [this, that, the other]." Eventually, each theory will get discounted because "it doesn't seem plausible that Google could/would do that." We have to keep an open mind about the "quality" indicators they can use in an algorithm because, after all, the algorithm can't fact-check a document.
The bottom line is that spelling and grammar absolutely *ARE* indicators of quality. Improper spelling and grammar can reduce the credibility of the source in question. Google has been providing spelling-correction options on their search results for years, so they have a very large database of words, usage, spelling, meaning, etc. Having said this, much of the content out there is user-generated. There is a fine line between penalizing spelling errors in a formal article and spelling errors within user-generated content (blog comments, etc). That's why I think my spelling error in the <H3> tag could have carried a lot of weight. Then again, it could have been pure coincidence. Nevertheless, I corrected it -- because, we just don't know the answers here; they are all suppositions.
Who's to say if it should be spelled "labor" or "labour"
Some words have multiple spellings, and any of those could be acceptable. If you search Google for "labour" you do not get a suggested spelling correction. That's because Google recognizes both spellings. If, however, you incorrectly spelled it "labbor," you might get penalized. Even Safari underlined "labbor" as I typed it here. Now suppose you had "Chlid Labbor Laws" in an <H3> tag. That might be worthy of a reduction in the PERCEIVED quality of the page, by the algorithm.
[edited by: crobb305 at 9:33 pm (utc) on Mar 22, 2011]