Bing Takes A Stance Against Poor Spelling and Grammar, Saying It Will Hurt Rankings

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Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager at Bing, has been publishing a lot of useful blog posts recently with his latest one being how poor spelling and grammar can affect search rankings.

In this post Forrester takes a firm stance against poor spelling and grammar, explicitly stating it has an impact on search rankings. This is a stance Google has never taken, or at least they have never expressed their position on spelling and grammar as clearly as Bing has.

Google has their Panda algorithm in place that weeds out poor quality content and allows the good quality content to rank higher, but when judging quality content it’s unclear to what extent spelling and grammar comes into play.

It has been suggested by Matt Cutts, even as recently as this month, that site owners should be mindful of spelling and grammar when it comes to the content they publish. However, he has never stated that Google takes action against pages that routinely publish content with spelling and grammar errors.

By contrast, look at this statement from Bing’s Duane Forrester:

… just as you’re judging others’ writing, so the engines judge yours. If you struggle to get past typos, why would an engine show a page of content with errors higher in the rankings when other pages of error free content exist to serve the searcher?

Forrester explains Bing is judged by the quality of the results they show so they are constantly keeping an eye on the quality of content that ranks well, which includes looking at spelling and grammar. However, he is also empathetic to the fact that occasionally content with errors slips past the editors. It happens to everyone.

It doesn’t look like Bing intends to penalize those rare instances of content being published on a site that has a history of being relatively error-free, they’re more concerned with penalizing sites that routinely publish content with spelling and grammar errors.

Forrester also understands that some writers make mistakes without realizing it, even after careful editing, because they believe their way is the right way. So Forrester also provided in his post a few resources for how to identify and fix common writing errors.

This stance against poor spelling and grammar is an admirable move by Bing, I can’t help but wonder if Google will release a similar statement.

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • Matt O’Toole

    Good! About time. I find spelling and grammatical errors distracting. How about a 1 page immediate drop for your website if you use an apostrophe incorrectly too? ;n)

  • Nisha Pandey

    This move by Bing would invariably make the content publishers to double check and authenticate their contents thereby stopping the spinning and wobbling of erroneous words.


  • Soumya

    Good to know but personally I feel this is a bit problematic for those who are not from English speaking countries.
    I have seen the video of Matt Cutts but he told to be cautious about spelling and grammar errors but never told that this may pull down your ranking or anything like indexing problem.
    Though every webmaster (designer, developer, SEO, content writer and others) should be more aware of these issues.

  • Josh

    It makes a lot of sense to me. Hopefully this will help them weed out a lot of poor and useless content.

  • Chatmeter

    Yikes! Businesses should be careful when they’re posting content or else it could hurt their search rankings. Having a consistent and correctly spelled NAP (name, address, phone number) is crucial. Customers need to know they can reach you with the information provided. It’s nice to see Bing taking this route. There’s nothing more frustrating then going to a business only to find out the address was wrong or calling for more information and the phone number led to nowhere.

  • Robert Lewis

    I think writers might have to learn to write before too long. What a shame!

  • vicky

    Is this only for English, or for all languages?
    How about having a button show up like Google’s “Do you want to translate this site?” –i.e., “Do you want to check the spelling and grammar on this site?”

  • Bill Belew

    This is like saying second-language writers of English and children still learning are not welcome online.

  • Gokhan

    It’s a good approach to prevent contents that are not valuable. This will engage more people to use the grammar and spell checker softwares. This can also improve the auto checking softwares.

  • Danielle Keister

    Good! This just makes sense, too. A typo here and there is nothing distracting (happens to the best and is easily discernable from a lack of literacy), but a site that is littered with misspellings and poor grammar almost always turns out to be a low quality spam site or one that isn’t being attended to and thus, don’t deserve top rankings.

  • Matt O’Toole

    Danielle…. *doesn’t deserve top rankings…. ;n)

  • Danielle Keister

    I already know, Matt. Typo was caused by a mid-thought change and I wasn’t able edit my comment to correct it after the fact. ;n)