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Poor Website Grammar: Time to Call in the Grammar Police

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There is no excuse for poor grammar, especially in content that is displayed on a website representing a brand. Content is designed to turn visitors into conversions or leads and then hopefully into repeat revenue. The overall grammar of our population is going down the toilet at an alarming rate thanks to text messaging and social media.

In an effort to keep messages under 140 characters (Twitter) and save time (Texting) we now see abbreviations all over. A prime example is "You" being replaced with "u." Unfortunately, this is spreading far past mobile devices and into email inboxes and even website content.

Nothing screams "professional" more than seeing an email response from a corporate executive stating that they look forward to hearing from "u." Thankfully those grammar blunders typically stay internal, or at least within other organizations, and do not reach the target consumer. What does reach the target consumer, though, is the content placed on a company's website and used in their content marketing campaign.

There are several types of content marketing that companies rely on to promote their brand, resulting in this content being placed on related websites and blogs as well as their own site and blog. While poor grammar on external content mentioning the company can deter potential clients, I want to address website content.

There is absolutely no reason why website content should contain grammatical errors. Spell check and proof reading should eliminate 100 percent of any grammar mistakes; yet my company finds errors on potential clients websites all the time. Would you conduct business with a company that couldn't use "your" and "you're" correctly within their website content?

Sure, it could be a small oversight or an innocent error, but it speaks volumes in regard to that organization's attention to detail. If they are quick to fire up content on their website without proofing it and making sure it was 100 percent correct, do you think they will put 100 percent into the product or service they are offering to sell?

By no means am I saying every business needs to be run by English professors, but a couple simple steps can be taken to make sure that the content is error free. Use spell check, but do not rely on it. If you simply make all of the changes that it suggests, your finished product could be in much worse shape than before you started. It makes mistakes often, so manually review all suggestions and when completed hand it over to a couple people to proof as well. Have a couple sets of eyes run through it before you hit the "publish" button on your site.

There is such a huge emphasis placed on content marketing these days and not every business has a large budget to allocate towards a professional content marketing campaign. This leads many to outsource their content and they sure get what they pay for. Here is an example of the type of quality I am talking about. This is an email solicitation that we received earlier in the week offering their content service:

2014-02-20-poorgrammar.png

The email subject line of, "Most bestest Contents for u" is amazing, as is the body of the email. Even more amazing is that businesses respond to these solicitations and put their website content in the hands of these "writers."

On February 10th, Matt Cutts, who is the head of Google's web spam team, released a video that explained how grammar impacts search engine rankings. He stated that the content on a website does in fact play a role in the rankings, although comments left by website visitors do not, as the website doesn't have control over the education or grammar level of their visitors.

As competitive as search engine ranking is these days, a website needs to take advantage of every possible way to improve their appearance in the eyes of the search engines. If something as simple as having correct grammar within the website content impacts the search rankings, then there is absolutely no reason there should be a single grammar error.

Focus on quality content. Not every business can afford to hire a professional writer at first, but that isn't a reason to purchase low quality outsourced content. It will do much more harm than good, not just in terms of search rankings, but also in terms of the impression that it will give the website visitors.

Create quality content. Proof read. Repeat.

- The Grammar Police