Matt Cutts Explains How Comments With Bad Spelling and Grammar Affect A Page’s Ability to Rank

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Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, answers a question about spelling and grammar in his latest Webmaster Help video where a user writes in to ask:

Should I correct the grammar on comments to my WordPress blog? Should I not approve comments with poor grammar? Will approving comments with grammar issues affect my page’s quality ratings?

Matt seemed to be amused by this question, but goes on to say that you should not worry too much about the grammar in user comments as long as the grammar on your own page is fine.

Matt understands there are people online who post things that don’t always make a lot of sense. One visit to YouTube will give you a glimpse of the type of nonsense comments that get posted to the web on a regular basis. That being said, Matt says poorly written comments have no affect on the ability to rank.

Just make sure that your own content is high quality, Matt reiterates. While comments with poor spelling grammar aren’t something to be concerned about, you should still watch out for spam comments.

It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between a comment left by a spam bot and a comment left by a real person. As long as the comment appears to have been left by a real person, but the spelling and grammar may not be perfect, it’s still ok to accept the comment without correcting, Matt says.

Poorly written comments reflect more on the person leaving the comment than the site on which the comment was posted. So don’t stress out about it.

Thank goodness because we already have enough to worry about as SEOs, imagine if we also had to correct the spelling and grammar of every comment we received? Good grief!

To hear Matt’s response in his own words, please see the video below:

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.
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  • Rick Lomas

    I was finking ’bout that meself the other day, coz some peeple can’t spell two well and there grammer is orfull 🙂
    Sorry couldn’t resist that 🙂

    • Matt Southern

      Wow. Such grammar. Very spelling, Much good.

      • Jeric C

        Hahaha! You guys have a great sense of humor! xD

  • FunnyThingHappened

    If you interpret the title of this article the wrong way, it actually seems to imply that comments with bad spelling and grammar affect a post in a negative way, not allowing it to rank well. Of course, the article itself says just the opposite. Just a little confusing if you jump into the article expecting one thing, only to learn another.

    • Mirgen

      Indeed, I just finished reading this article and I was wondering: why the article is the opposite of the title? I had to pay much more attention to understand the meaning of the entire post.

    • Mirgen

      Great post anyway!

  • Jean Dion

    I’m leery of editing any kind of comment on my own blog. If the comments happen to be defamatory and I go ahead and start “fixing” things, I might get hauled up in court for the activity, as it might be reasonable to suggest that I had a hand in creating the content. Makes a few wee type-os seem like no big deal, in comparison.

  • lexy

    thanks for sharing matt’s response … it was really worth reading

  • Amit Chaudhary

    Hi Matt,

    It’s really a good grief for us because as SEOs we already have so many things to manage both on-page and off-page. One query is hitting my mind that if your content is equipped with spelling mistakes and poor grammar and the comments responses that it received are just perfect. So will those comments improve the page’s overall quality??

    Amit Chaudhary

  • Ankur

    Nice write up . Great post and a lesson to be learnt here especially for new bloggers

  • Stewart Thompson

    Personally I don’t think it’s too much to ask a website to be written well and grammatically correct, after all it’s a very basic indication of quality, isn’t it? If you can’t do something expected and normal how can you replicate that into customer service?
    I’ve always known that the Google algorithm expects grammatically correct language. This is machine learning we’re talking about so if you can’t teach a computer properly, how can we expect machines to improve and evolve?

  • James Halloran

    Yeesh! I could only imagine how cruddy that would be if we had to correct our commenters’ awful spelling. At least it’s good to know that Google isn’t holding us accountable for such things. That would be a nightmare.

  • Michael George

    I wonder if you will be penalized for using the word Google as a verb. Such as, “I googled it and found…” Or, “just google it dude.” I bet they let that one slide, what do you think? As usual, Matt is full of shit. The only way that comments are going to get you nailed, is if you approve robot-spammer comments. Then, you’d have a bunch of comments on your site that could easily be found as “duplicates” on a bunch of other low-quality sites that allow every single comment from every single bot. Otherwise, SkyNet is going to become so invasive in our lives that we need to police the intelligence of people that comment on our stuff? “I’m sorry sir, but you’re not bright enough to comment here. Go back home and wait for SkyNet…er, I mean Google…to send for you. We don’t need you in this world.” Screw Google. I know a lot of dumb people in this world, but they should still be allowed to speak. Like Tea Partiers for example. Should we tell them they can’t carry any political signs if they can’t spell? There would be no more political signs. It’s un-American Matt. Shame on you. You have no rights stepping on the free speech of the dumb people of America (or anywhere else for that matter).

    • Hrvoje Jugec

      Than again its private company and they have their rules (if you don’t like it don’t use it) .. If I don’t want to let idiot in my house I wont and that’s my right .. But hey I’m with you on this one 🙂

  • Markupcloud

    Well every one has their own perspective.

    I dont understand why we are totally dependent onMatt cutts videos and audios ? Are we dumbo ? If you are doing everything ethically then you can never be banned from google and never get penalized . Basically what we do is “In follow of trends we started over optimization. Just for eg todays guest post s in trends then we started doing guestpost in bulk. Obviously doing over in some activity should considered as spam “.

    Its my suggestion to all never do activties in bulk. Do all actiivity is systematic manner and try to do quality work.

    As per aspects in “commenting” spelling mistakes never considers as a spam. Commenting done by bot always effect the site authority so never accept the spam comments.

  • Jon

    I have edited comments on my blogs, not to please Google, but so others can understand them. If your website gets a lot of comments from mobile devices from non-native English speakers you can expect all sorts of grammatical errors, abbreviations etc. While a native speaker can understand them, people from other countries may be left totally confused. IMO it is best to tidy up things so that they make sense for everybody.

  • john smith

    Wow, its really Awesome Post and Thanks For Sharing I Am Going To Bookmark Your Site for further useful information about seo. Thanks Ones Again

  • Sase Antic

    I expected to hear that from Matt.
    Don’t worry too much about every bit of your website, guys!

  • Kamran Ahmad Kami

    lol if i person don’t know English it’s means he will not able to get good position on SERP that’s not fair Matt Cutts. I am not good in English but i can write simple sentences and deliver my messages to the viewer. I think its enough.

  • Fausta

    I always thought that grammar was a parameter seen by Google, now I have confirmation!

  • Bill Gassett

    As Michael George has stated above it is highly unlikely that Google is going to penalize a site based on comments left unless the commenter was clearly a spammer. As a good practice I always makes sure I check spelling and make the necessary corrections before posting. Of course I also do the same for grammar as well.