SEO for Misspelled Words

    December 11, 2006

Optimizing a website for misspelled words is often recommended by many people within the search engine optimization SEO community.

The concept is to capture the searchers who enter incorrectly spelled words into the search engine’s interface search box. The theory is based on creating the wrong spelling, and placing it deliberately on your blog or static website. Theoretically, the pseudo-word will rank at the top of the Google search results, and receive a bonus visitor.

I do not share this SEO opinion; nor do I recommend spelling words incorrectly on a website or blog. The practice does more harm than good. It should be avoided by website owners and bloggers who want to establish a reputation for trustworthiness and professionalism.

The reasons provided by some SEO professionals for utilizing, what could be euphimistically called alternative spellings, are usually presented with good intentions. Of course, as with so many other well intended ideas, the practice doesn’t match the theory. In fact, the very reasons for using misspelled words in the first place, are the reasons I don’t recommend them at all. They do much more damage to a website than can be countered by any perceived benefits.

SEO theory: Incorrect spellings

The reasons for misspelling words on websites seem reasonable on the surface. In fact, some boosts in traffic can be measured as a direct result of the intentional errors. As with many statistics, the visitor traffic log can be a misleading metric if used improperly. In the case of spelling errors, the visitor traffic might not be of any value at all. It might even be harmful to your company reputation.

Let’s examine why incorrect spellings are given such serious consideration as search engine tools.

It’s well known that people type wrong letters when making a search query in Google. Instead of the standard and expected spelling, letters are often reversed in a transposition error, letters omitted entirely, frequently misspelled words, or letters adjacent on the keyboard are substituted by mistake. The theory holds that these are searchers who could be captured by way of the spelling error. Instead of losing those people to other sites, say these experts, they arrive at your site from ranking highly for the spelling mistake.

Problems with SEO by spelling mistakes

Misspellings no longer have the value that is often attributed to them. The major search engines, when confronted by a spelling error, will offer an alternative word. Very often, their offered choice is usually the word spelled as nature intended; in effect, negating any alleged value attributed to the spelling oops. Instead of a click to the rearranged letter site, the visitor visits a website or blog where spelling is treated with more care.

Visitors clicking on a link to a site with incorrectly spelled words are not likely to be impressed with the site in general. While they may have entered the wrong letters in the search box, they do expect to visit a site where attention is given to detail. Perusing a web page, with words spelled in various disguises, is unlikely to generate faith in the company’s products and services. While the visitor traffic logs might record an arrival, the exit may be quick and accompanied by a vow never to return in this lifetime.

Visitors who do arrive via incorrectly spelled words will experience the same disdain for what appears to be a sloppily proofread site. Instead of converting to customers and clients, the visitor will simply click their mouse to a competitor with a more professional appearance. Bad spelling does not generate customer goodwill and confidence. Indeed, the effect is usually the opposite.

Good SEO is also good visitor experience

Proper SEO practice is not only about high search engine rankings and visitor traffic counts. Those elements are important, but they are not the entire story in and of themselves. A well designed site is also attractive, looks professional and trustworthy, and results in conversions from visitor to real life customer and client.

Instead of worrying about losing potential visitor traffic due to misspelled word searches, concentrate on improving your site. Add fresh informative content that will rank well for other keyword phrases entirely. Attract search engine traffic for the right reasons and your online business will achieve success. You will also build a solid reputation for professionalism, and for attention to the needs of the customer.

Good sites sell, and good website owners can spell.

Add to | Digg | Reddit | Furl

Bookmark WebProNews:

Wayne Hurlbert provides insigtful information about marketing, promotions, search engine optimization and public relations for websites and business blogs on the popular Blog Business World.

Check out Blog Business World for yourself.