Optimising your SEO for Misspellings

5 03 2010

I don’t know about you, but I take spelling quite seriously when publishing documents, especially for websites and blogs like this one. I’m careful enough to ensure that each word is spelt correctly and that typos are wiped out. With spell check included in pretty much all word processing tools, there’s not really any excuse for spelling errors online.

Or is there?

Despite spell check being everywhere, a significant amount of internet users commonly misspell terms; particularly when using search engines like Google. There are around 10 million misspelled search queries every single day.

As an example, have a look below; these are the local search volume numbers (UK, February 2010) according to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool for common misspellings of ‘Accountancy’.SEO, e-marketing, e-markerting

As you can see, the misspellings are minute compared to the correct spelling, 0.23% in fact for ‘accountacy’, but are you really going to turn down the opportunity to reach out to an extra few thousand people, for just a few minutes work? What’s more is that by the table, you can see that the misspellings have far less competition, so there’s more chance you will appear higher on a search engine’s results. After all; most webmasters use spell check and wouldn’t go out of their way to intentionally spell their keywords incorrectly.

Which is where you can capitalise with your SEO efforts, especially in competitive industries where it would be near to impossible for you to realistically compete for your main keywords (spelt correctly).

Since SEO is all about optimising you website for keywords that people are actually searching for, misspelling present a pretty big opportunity to gain visibility in search. You can potentially increase traffic and leads from organic searches by targeting a few misspelled keywords.

Now; there are 4 different methods you can use to discover your keywords:-

  • Research – If you know your niche, you should be able to identify common misspellings. Also, scour blogs and forums as well as using Google Adwords Keyword Tool
  • Internal Search Logs – What better way to identify keyword misspelling than to get them straight from your current visitors? Check your analytics to see what terms people are looking for. Of course, the bigger your site, the better this will work
  • Trial and error – Try and think like a bad speller. Add variations to your list, and if they don’t work, remove them.
  • Keyword typo generator – Finally, input your targeted keywords to a keyword typo generator. This will give you a list of all the different variations that could occur as a result of typos.

Once you have a decent list of misspellings, the next step is to find out if they are worth implementing. You don’t want to optimise a term that is getting 5 search queries a month, so input your keywords into Google Adwords Keyword tool. Make sure you select ‘Exact Match’ so you can get data specifically about your keyword, and analyse the search volume and competition.

If you feel it is worth optimising, go for it; you can always take it out if it isn’t working.

So; let’s have some tips!

  1. Optimise your misspelled keyword as you would a correctly spelled one; Title Tag, Header tags, Meta Tags, etc. Obviously make sure that your correctly spelled keyword is before the incorrectly spelled one; you don’t want the misspelling to have more prominence that a correctly spelled keyword!!
  2. Buy misspelled URLs. For example, if your current URL is http://www.example.com, purchase URLs such as http://www.exampel.com or http://www.exampl.com, and simply create a 301 Redirect to your http://www.example.com.
  3. Bid on misspellings in paid search. Since competition for your misspelled terms will generally be pretty low, clicks will be very cheap. Add some of your misspellings in a PPC campaign, and test it out.

Have you discovered any opportunities with keyword or domain misspellings in SEO or PPC? If so, how much traffic and revenue are they creating? Share your experiences and tips in the comment section below.

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