Bad spelling, poor grammar and lack of consistency in content could be costing businesses sales, according to a leading Wiltshire web developer.
Martin Jarvis, who runs Swindon-based DMJ Computer Services, says too many businesses are opting for style over substance.
Website visitors, initially charmed by a well-designed site, are quickly clicking away when they read content with typos and poor grammar. This high bounce rate is logged by search engines like Google, which may then demote the site in favour of the competition.
“Search engines can see high bounce rates as a sign that your website is not satisfying your visitor needs,” said Martin, Managing Director of DMJ, which specialises in designing, hosting and supporting WordPress websites. “Over time, they may well rank your competitors above you because of this.”
Martin said all too often businesses pay attention to ranking factors such as load time or useability of a website, but at the expense of the content.
Recently, Google launched a Page Experience update, which highlighted criteria it would take into account when ranking pages, such as load time. But the search engine giant stressed that good content was still a top priority.
Martin added, “We keep getting told that first impressions really count – and they do. When visitors arrive at your website, they expect it to load fast and to deliver the information they are looking for. Indeed, Google, by launching its Page Experience update, is attempting to reward website owners who deliver a great visitor experience. However, while design may grab a visitor, it is content that will convert them into a customer.”
Now DMJ is offering a service to check content that is read by website visitors, and also the hidden text read by search engines, for errors. It will also highlight inconsistencies in copy – such as switching between UK and US spelling variations – which can put off visitors.
Martin said, “It’s a machine-based check which covers not just visible site content, but also the text used in metadata, such as SEO title, meta description etc. In fact, anything that search engines would see can get picked up.
“By running the test regularly, we can educate the tool to ignore false positives, such as brand names not being recognised. Regular testing will also pick up errors with new, or changed, content.”
The check is already throwing up hundreds of errors across the sites it is auditing. Martin added, “Sometimes the same mistake will be repeated over and over, perhaps because the writer didn’t know how to correctly spell a particular word. We can then go on to make the changes, or the website owner can do so.”