Weekly SEO: Why editing matters (and how to be a better editor)
Welcome to our weekly SEO blog, where we discuss all sorts of topics concerning search engine optimization. This week, we’re going to discuss the importance of proper spelling and grammar in your site content.
Bad content = bad results.
One of the nice things about SEO is that it rewards good content. In fact, the better-written, more in-depth, and higher quality your content is, the more Google is going to promote your website. What’s great about this is it encourages websites to take content writing and editing seriously. Websites that offer sloppy, poorly-written, inaccurate content are punished for doing so, while those that take the time to produce something worth reading are pushed to the top of Google’s rankings.
It’s not just important for SEO, though. Poor spelling and grammar hurts your bottom line, making you look unprofessional and amateurish. Not only that, grammatical errors can impede readability, or even change the meaning of sentences, phrases, or contracts. This article from Digital Marketing Magazine explains how spelling mistakes can cost millions in sales. In one example, a prominent spelling error was corrected on a website only to see their online sales double as a result.
How to edit better
Most people aren’t too jazzed about editing. Editing is time-consuming, mentally strenuous, and worst of all, boring! However, the professionalism and SEO benefits you’ll reap from good editing is well worth the effort. Here’s a few quick tips to make you a better editor.
1. Take a break
So you’ve just written a great new blog piece for your website. You’ve done your research, typed up a draft, and found all kinds of great pictures and links. Now you just need to make sure it’s all proofread before you post it. Here’s my tip to you: stop working on it right now. Go work on another project, or go for a walk, or get a coffee. Give yourself some time to reset before looking back on it with fresh eyes. When you’re ready, read it start to finish. If there’s any glaring errors you missed while writing it, you’re going to notice them now.
It seems simple, but it works. The human attention span is limited. Even a short break is proven to increase attentiveness and job performance compared to working steadily through a difficult task. Give your brain a break before you edit. It will save you time and ensure your writing is the best it can be.
2. Get a fresh perspective
Sometimes, you just can’t see the forest for the trees. When you’re deeply involved in a project or task, you begin to lose perspective. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes can spot problems or areas to improve on that you will never see. When you think you’re done writing, try sharing your work with a trusted friend, coworker, or family member. They may notice mistakes in tone or style that you wouldn’t have noticed on your own.
3. Use online tools
SEO can be very specific in what it likes and doesn’t like. For instance, search engines analyze sentence length. Good blogs have varied sentence lengths. This improves readability and quality of writing, improving the rhythm and flow of your content. There are many ways search engines evaluate written content, and it can be hard to tell how to improve your results. Fortunately, online tools are available, like Yoast’s real-time content analysis tool. Simply paste your marked-up text content into the tool, add a title and meta-description, and select a target keyword. Yoast will analyze the writing sample and provide helpful feedback to improve your SEO rankings.
There are many great tools less specific to SEO. For instance, Google Chrome plugins such as Grammarly offer contextual spell-checking in your browser. This means the plugin can analyze sentence structure and correct misused words, even if they are spelled correctly. Some plugins and applications offer a richer set of features, but require a one-time purchase or subscription to make full use of them.
The bottom line
Good, thorough proofreading is vitally important to the success of your business. In order to attract and retain clientele and get your website seen on Google, you need well-written, error-free content, and lots of it. Hopefully, the above tips and tools can help you be a more effective editor and bring even more success to your business or blog.