Does Good Grammar Influence Google SERP?

Let me share something with you that I have always suspected, but never had the data to prove.

Google is increasing focus on quality measurements which is translating into actual ranking factors. Recent updates have shifted some ranking factor weighting form keyword relevancy to quality criteria.

But first, a little background reading…

Since taking over the reins of this blog from Mike, I have been writing a few new articles and working in the background, getting ready for a big relaunch of eBlogCamp, which *should* be rolling out very soon. (For those that don’t know, Mike has completed his College Degree in the US and now has a full-time job. He no longer has the time to update eBlogCamp, so I have now taken over as the main contributor).

For me, eBlogCamp is a long-term project. So I can brand it correctly and add my own personality to the blog, I started reviewing some of the older blog posts. Mike was quite a prolific writer, but since English was not his first language, there was the odd grammatical mistake here and there. Fixing up those errors would make the articles easier to read.

Is Grammar Important?

I’m the sort of person that can spot spelling and grammatical errors right away. I am not an English academic expert, but I am a native English speaker (who has dealt with tough English teachers at school). I also think that I am a bit fussier than most when it comes to grammar. I try to convey my thoughts using the minimum amount of words possible and each word has to fight for its place in a sentence.

Lots of people no longer care about grammar etc, but the main problem for me is that I like to scan and read text as fast as possible. If there are grammatical and spelling errors in the text, then that slows me down. Imagine if every newspaper and magazine you read was full of article-spun gibberish? That would make it very hard to read the articles fast. The content and intention would be in the text, but it just wouldn’t read well at all.

The Plan & Results

After reviewing the existing posts on eBlogCamp, I thought I had better start going through each one and just tighten up and tweak the articles a bit so they read a little better. I needed a plan, so I decided to work on the articles that receive the most traffic first and then work my way down the list. There are around 80+ articles, so this was going to take a while.

As I re-published the articles (with modified grammatical text), a very interesting thing happened. Traffic started increasing on those re-written articles. I didn’t add any new content to the articles or do any additional backlinking or article submissions etc, so the increase in traffic must be solely due to the way the articles are presented (grammar / spelling etc).

Natural Language Processing

I always suspected that Google performs natural language processing on articles to determine the actual quality of the articles. This “article quality” would be yet another parameter in the huge Google algorithm that influences the SERP of your articles.

Recently, another interesting thing also happened. Since this blog is a bit of a brain-dump of all the things I do (and think could help others as well), I wrote an article on my preferred WordPress Permalink Structure.

At the start of that post I stated that there are millions of results for that search term in Google. I had no intention of trying to make a top ten position in Google for that term, since I have nothing to sell, it’s just some good advice that people will find useful.

But the interesting thing is that I did not promote that Permalink Structure article at all. I did not create a thousands backlinks to it, and did not repin the article and then repeatably submit it to another thousand article directories.

I basically did no promotion and the article is in the top ten results in Google.

I can only conclude that since that article makes sense and reads satisfactorily, it outranks millions of other similar articles because Google has evaluated it as being of higher quality.

Conclusion

After seeing the traffic increase on the reworked and re-published articles, as well good traffic and rankings on my recent articles (that do not have masses of backlinks etc), I can only conclude that the “quality” of the article and how Google determines that quality is very important.

Before you hit that Publish button, read your entire post again and fix up anything that doesn’t make sense. If you are not a native English speaker, try to hire someone from Fiverr to proof-read your articles. Correcting the grammar could make the world of difference to your rankings and ultimately how much traffic and income you can generate from your website. Poor grammar and spelling can make a bad impression on your readers, resulting in loss of trust and lower conversion rates.

You might not think that grammar is important anymore, but Google does!

This is why I am not a big fan of article spinners that churn out gibberish that reads like a five year old wrote it. You can’t just change every possible word to another synonym and hope it reads properly. If I really had to re-spin an article and did not have the time to manually do it myself, I would get someone from Fiverr to manually re-spin it for me. Just focus on creating good content, others will see the value in your work and your traffic will increase.

What do you think?

Have you also noticed this effect on your articles? Am I too picky on grammar? Does the word “grammar” make your blood boil?

24 Comments

  1. What about internal linking factors? Domain authority?

    Could those have played a role?

    What about other factors such as social metrics?

    There’s no denying Google is wanting to improve user experience. This may be something to what you’re saying.

    • Hi Barry, yes all those things are definitely a factor as well. The main thing I wanted to share is the increase in the traffic to the articles that I have been tweaking. Something for others to consider on their blogs as well.

  2. Kirk – I agree with you 100%. I have been a HUGE advocate for well-written articles since I started my business. Paying extra (or taking the extra time myself) to guarantee that I have solid grammar throughout my site (and my client’s sites) has really paid of in the SERPs. Keep up the good work.

    Jordan

    • Hi Jordan… we are thinking along the same lines here. Thanks for the 100%! :)

  3. Hi Kirk,
    I totally agree, google has changed his way to rank. Also grammar is a basic factor for quality. Well thanks for the information.

  4. I think it is really great how Google found away to spot quality contents. You are right about the millions of spun articles that are just confusing to read. Not only will Google acknowledge our site but there will be increase in return visitors.

  5. Well, that’s a surprise and a pleasant one. Google search has grown, and that’s a good example.

  6. Yes… you are absolutely correct! I’ve been a big proponent of well-written articles, but standards are really slipping these days.

  7. Google found a way to spot quality content. Thats great. Thanks for the info!

  8. HI,
    I am totally agree with what you are saying. The quality of the content is determined with its error free nature and its originality. I believe Grammar is very very essential for blogging. Thanks for sharing this great post with us:)

    • Sure no problem Jomson!

  9. I have seen a website badly hit because of the author’s poor English. I agree that one must concentrate on his grammar.

  10. Agree with completely. A blog with poor English can not survive in this online world.

  11. I sure hope that displaying correct English especially spelling is important to Google. How many tons of spam emails does one get that has blatant mis-spellings?

    I can spot a misspelling a mile away… grammar not so much.

    Hopefully, we can help each other get this crucial element of blogging and internet etiquette in a better light so as not to embarrass ourselves.

  12. Could republishing the articles been a factor to better ranking on Google? After all, search engines like updated content.

  13. I think it’s mostly based on key density rather than grammar error. Another possibility that google can be ranking your page is how many shares you have on social media network.

  14. Thank you for giving more credence to what I’ve suspected all along. Good grammar counts! Great post.

  15. Thanks for great information Kirk. Keep up your good work. You are always my great teacher :)

    • Hi Huy… you’re too kind. :)

  16. Thanks for sharing this Kirk
    I agree, Quality articles are much more likely to get better results in SERP. Grammar is an important factor in determining quality of the posts. Great post
    Bryan

  17. Thank you Kirk for sharing this! Grammar is definitely important, it adds high quality to the posts, I hate seeing a blog with numerous spelling errors. I’m glad that Google is trying to improve its user quality it makes a huge difference! I’m glad we are all thinking the same.

  18. I’m a firm believer in the importance of proper grammar. It’s really important and I’m glad to see that google is onboard.

  19. I agree, quality of content is much more important these days. Remember, Google bots understand language very well and I’ve found making the extra effort to ensure quality content is published does pay off in the long run.

  20. This is an excellent post. I am already going back to re-check grammar and punctuation on my recent posts. Sometimes I get caught up solely on content. Thanks for this heads up post.