U.S. businesses with bad grammar and spelling mistakes on their websites will lose almost double the number of potential customers than those with typo-free sites, according to research by global web services comparison site, Website Planet.
The analysis of more than 5,000 site visits over a two-week period showed that the ‘bounce rate’ on landing pages with sloppy spelling and grammar was 85 percent more than those that were correctly written and spell-checked.
The ‘bounce rate’ is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after only looking at a single page.
And not only do nearly twice as many potential customers or clients leave, Website Planet’s research found that they leave quicker, too. The time on site was reduced by 8 percent on landing pages with deliberate typos and grammatical errors placed in them.
The longer-term outcome of people quickly leaving a site is that it’s penalized by Google as one of the metrics Google uses to rank a site is the bounce rate. High bounce rates signal to Google that a site is not trustworthy and so lower its position in the organic search engine results pages.
The same principles, and much the same results, apply to Google Ads: the research found that web visitors are 70 percent less likely to click on Google Ads with a spelling or grammar mistake. Since these ads receive fewer clicks, Google also lowered their position and charged:
- 72 percent more for ads with grammar errors
- 20 percent more for ads with spelling mistakes
So bad grammar and spelling don’t just cost businesses traffic, which likely goes to their competitors, it results in them paying more for it when prospective customers and clients do proceed to click. It’s a double whammy of increased cost and reduced volume.
“It’s crystal clear that bad spelling and grammar can have a powerful impact on a company’s bottom line,” says Shira Stieglitz, head of content and research, Website Planet. “The fact that businesses lose nearly nine in 10 more visitors to their websites because of typos should be a serious shot across the bows to bosses around the US. To make matters worse, visible typos make a site less visible on Google because it lowers their position in the search engine results pages.
Poor spelling and grammar are also highly damaging to a company’s brand and credibility. Ads and website pages with howlers or even low-level typos are seen by tens or hundreds of thousands of people who will think less of your company as a result. We may live in an era when people are increasingly communicating through emojis than words, but sloppy writing can still wreak havoc with a company’s image,” Stieglitz says.