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Recently Britney Muller of Moz Blog indicated in a brief article titled Does Google Drop Featured Snippets Over Typos? on the Search Engine RoundTable site that a simple typographical error was the probable cause behind Moz losing a featured snippet.
When the error was corrected, Moz reportedly regained the featured snippet in search. As mentioned in the Moz article, the only entity that could confirm or deny this activity would be Google themselves. Without their input we can only speculate.
So do typos, spelling mistakes, and grammar issues stop featured snippets from showing Google Search?
In the instance experienced by Moz, the difference between the word choose and the word chose was the underlying cause. In the article, it only indicates that “…the page had a typo, a spelling mistake.” It wasn’t specified if that spelling mistake was in the page content, in the page URL, or both. That doesn’t provide us with enough information. Here’s what I think happened.
Grammatical Errors Change Featured Snippet Context
If the URL was spelled correctly, but the on-page content was not (or vice versa), I could see Google having grammatical issues with the page vs. the URL.
Choose = (verb) Simple present tense and future tense
Chose = (verb) Simple past tense
The difference in tenses might suggest that Google interpreted the feature snippet compared to the URL. One of them was not linguistically correct.
Grammatical Errors & Featured Snippets Linguistics
Most of us may not think a simple typo should warrant the change that Moz experienced. However, Google has teams of linguists working to correct just such grammatical errors. It’s possible that Moz experienced one of the changes that Google initiated based on recommendations from their linguistic staff.
In a Quora post titled What do linguists at Google do? from 2014, Dave Orr (a Google employee at that time) responded:
“If you have a working system, it will get stuff wrong. What is it getting wrong and why, and how do we fix it? Linguists help answer those questions.”
Eliminate Grammatical Errors & Featured Snippets
Grammatical errors should probably be a concern for anyone writing content for SEO purposes. Muller hypothesizes that Google could have just been doing some testing, which altered the listing temporarily.
However, on a larger scale in the grand scheme of things we know that Google is constantly striving for better quality content. Behind Google’s masterminding stands a team of linguists. We should all be striving to make our content more grammatically correct and typo-free to appease the experts on this team.
Correct Grammatical Errors in Featured Snippet SEO Content
If you ever have to ask yourself the question “Why did we lose a Featured Snippet?”, it should not be because of a typo, or because past tense was used instead of simple present tense. Content has to become linguistically-friendly if we expect it to fly through Google’s ever-widening bevy of tests.
Give yourself a head start on the daunting linguistic issues by using programs such as Grammarly, Hemingway App, and a host of others to check, recheck, and triple check your content before posting.
Your site visitors will appreciate clear, concise, grammatically correct content. So will Google. To adequately serve both of these masters, you will need to set up your writing skills to match the ever-evolving world of SEO.
If your content needs a literary boost, call 1st on the List today for more information on SEO Content writing at 1-888-262-6687.