Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Keyword Misspelling

Would you believe how many people misspell the word property when searching for that word? We asked 20 people to type property into google search and this was the result:

- 10 people got it right first time
- 4 people typed – proeprty
- 3 people typed – proprety
- 2 people typed – propererty (or something like this)
- 1 person typed – cheese, but he is a very sick individual

Anyway, whilst this was a light hearted Friday afternoon experiment it did show what we all know: people constantly misspell search terms. Google does of course offer the ‘did you mean this’ feature but just how much traffic is lost (and/or potentially gained) through misspelling? Others far more intelligent than me have discussed this issue in a number of places, such as Seomoz but our playground experiment shows that 50% of people misspelled the word. Granted, it was not very scientific and maybe they are all poor spellers (well most of them write code!) or dyslexic, or both, or just wanted to trash the experiment who knows, but I was one of the proeprty clowns and I am well aware that I often make this mistake. It is also a difficult word given the keys are so close together.

Do we therefore rush off and buy misspelled domain names and fill our pages with misspelled keywords. The blood sucking domain industry would have us do this as would some alleged SEO experts. On balance, we feel that perhaps it is better to include some intentionally misspelled copy in your content, certainly at local level, but state why. For example, mention that people often miss spell an area such as Poole or Bournemouth and how they misspell it (even explain why, history etc). You may pick up a few punters and be top of the google ratings for once. Indeed if a user is actually looking for your site, misspells the search term and another company appears the user may just avoid the ‘did you mean this’ link and look directly below at your competition. Think, how easy is your company name to spell (moreover type), many users still find sites they frequently use by using search.

We are trying a few variations on different pages and will keep you updated as to what happens.


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