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John Mueller Discusses How Poor HTML, Grammar, And Spelling Affects SEO

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Perfectly written content ensures that readers get a wonderful user experience. Therefore, many web SEO agencies need to double-check their content and even HTML, making sure that there is no poor grammar or spelling before publishing. However, some SEO agencies wonder if poor spelling, grammar, and HTML have a negative effect on their search rankings.

A person recently asked Google’s John Mueller whether or not the search engine’s algorithm system checks grammatical and spelling mistakes and broken HTML. Mueller gave two answers to this question because grammar and spelling are quality issues that can affect the user experience, while broken HTML is a technical issue.

Mueller Comments On Broken HTML

Firstly, he covered the topic of broken HTML. He said that the situations for this problem vary, and most of the time, Google does not care whether HTML is broken or not. He added that the majority of websites actually do not have valid HTML, and the search engine company has to let this issue go for the most part.

However, there are exceptions to this scenario. Mueller said that if the HTML in question broken in the worst way possible, then Google will not be able to distinguish its page elements, headings, title, or even the placement of the content. Moreover, the search engine will have trouble understanding if the web page is mobile-friendly.

For instance, if the HTML is so bad that page elements like <div> bleed into the web page’s visible part, then it would be difficult for Google to understand the page.

According to Mueller, if a website fails to render properly on web browsers, then it should be fixed immediately. As for web pages that have broken HTML but work normally in the browser, he said there is nothing for SEO agencies to worry about.

What Causes Broken HTML?

HTML is considered as the “source code” of almost everything one sees on the Internet. When a web page has broken HTML, there could be extra spaces, italic or bold letters that do not work, headings that appear as normal text, or issues with paragraph spacing. All of these are caused by incorrect or missing HTML tags.

The main cause of broken HTML is incorrect code. If one looks at their HTML code, they will see that the code begins with “<” and ends with “>” – these are called opening and closing tags, which should always come in pairs. If these tags do not match, the code inside will not work.

Broken HTML is easily fixed if someone has minimal HTML knowledge, so businesses and site owners can learn some basic HTML code. Moreover, many SEOs use an editing interface, such as HubSpot or WordPress, that makes it easier for them to fix their code.

Poor Grammar And Spelling Quality Issues

Afterwards, Mueller shared his insights about poor grammar and spelling in the context of search performance. It is not a technical issue, so it is not quite clear whether it is acceptable or not.

Poor grammar and spelling is something that Google does not touch on unless they are not able to recognise what the web page is all about. If there are a lot of errors on the page in the text, then it would be much harder for the algorithm system to deal with it.

As for the other aspect, Mueller said that poor grammar and spelling are very noticeable, especially for keen readers, so it becomes a quality issue. Google’s main priority is to find high-quality content for its users. So, if a web page has a lot of technical and grammatical mistakes in the text, then the search engine’s algorithm system tags it as a low-quality piece of content.

And just like the issues with broken HTML, Mueller said that it would be much better for SEOs to fix it if they are aware of it.

Mueller also said that it is hard to tell if one should prioritise one over the other because broken HTML and poor spelling and grammar are two different things. Therefore, Google’s algorithm systems and even the users tend to see the two differently.

How Do Poor Grammar And Spelling Hurt SEO?

When Googlebot and other search engines’ spiders crawl a web page, they cannot determine if it is easy to use, visually appealing, or trendy. They do not have the eyes that a user has when they look at the web page. However, they can use the signals from the site’s traffic to monitor how it affects the user experience.

For instance, if the site visitors are not spending more time exploring a website, Google takes it as a sign that the readers had a bad user experience, which leads to a lower ranking in the search results. But aside from affecting the user experience, there are many other ways that poor quality content can affect one’s SEO.

For instance, it can affect the web page’s dwell time, which is one of the primary factors that search engines use when ranking sites. It refers to how long visitors spend on a site or a web page. If the time they spent on a site is short, it implies that the visitor did not find the information they were looking for. It would also imply that the web page was not helpful in answering the searcher’s query.

It would also impact the site’s bounce rate. The term “bouncing” refers to a user who visits a web page and leaves without visiting other pages on the site. Studies show that poor spelling and grammar on landing pages result in higher bounce rates than web pages that don’t have these issues

High bounce rates can hurt one’s SEO and search ranking because it signals to Google that the website in question is not trustworthy or does not have any useful answers to offer search queries.

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