Part of optimizing one’s website still involves the publication of relevant written content, such as pertinent articles and blog posts containing links to the website in question. Although there is a shift toward social media and the online equivalent of “word-of-mouth” marketing, making use of networks such as Facebook and Twitter, people still seek information through search engines (primarily Google and Yahoo, although there are still a few others available).
The typical surfer will type in a few keywords or phrases – which may or may not be grammatically correct – and the search engine will return results, usually consisting of web content that contains these keywords or phrases. For instance, when entering search terms for services or products in his or her area, s/he may frequently place a geographic modifier at the end – such as “thingamabobs Anytown” – making it a bit of a challenge for the writer who must tailor an article to include this phrase one or more times.
But here is the question: just because members of the target audience do not write in a grammatically correct manner, does that make it alright to post below-average content?
I would argue that it if an article or blog post is poorly written and full of spelling and grammatical errors, it affects credibility. Someone who is searching for information online is not simply seeking knowledge, s/he is seeking it from an authoritative source. Such an authority is expected to have a command of the written language, even if the audience does not.
On the other hand, unless the content is targeted toward members of a specific group or those who work in a profession such as medicine, law, engineering, etc., it is important to maintain a level of readability. If a piece deals with complex issues or subjects such as litigation or surgery and is targeted not toward lawyers or surgeons, but rather those who may be seeking such services, it is vital to explain these things in clear language that would be readily understood by someone with an eighth-grade education. One effective way to do this is through the creative use of metaphor; for example, comparing the human nervous system (understood by relatively few) to the workings of a personal computer (which many people do understand).
It’s a balancing act; on one hand, one does not want to come off in an article as being inarticulate and uneducated, but on the other hand, a writer does not want to talk down to his/her audience or go over their heads.
Brad Anderson is the Executive Director and Founder of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association