Every now and then I hear talk from SEOs about going after typos with their optimization campaign. I don't want to disregard that as a valid strategy, but there are reasons why I generally don't do Typo SEO.

1) As a web surfer, I don't like reading typos on a website. Not all search typos are made because people don't know how to spell. They can spell just fine, it's just their fingers hit the wrong keys. Adding these misspellings to your content will only make you look silly and unprofessional.

2) Search engine are pretty good about correcting misspellings with the "Did you mean..." feature. Over the past few months I've caught myself making several misspelled searches. If I see I entered my search incorrectly I click the link provided that triggers a search for the proper spelling. I don't even look at the results.

typos are everywhereEven if your keyword research shows that the misspelled term gets a decent search volume, I think you'd have to cut that in half or more for to get a true accuracy of the search volume. A search that is quickly turned away from provides no value to the sites ranked in the original search.

Of course if you feel optimizing for typos is still an effective strategy for you--and it can be for many depending on the keywords--then there are a couple ways to go about it.

1) Use your meta tags for the misspellings. Keep the misspellings out of your content but feel free to use your meta tags. Honestly, I'm not sure how much benefit that will provide, but at least you're trying.

2) Place your misspelled keywords in links from other sites. That may seem a bit dubious, but if someone else is agreeing to link to you and you can get them to spell it wrong, more power to you.

3) You can use your misspelled words in ALT tags, table descriptions, and other places, but do so only at your own peril. This might get you some additional traction, but then it might reduce your ability to rank for the correct spelling, if you placing misspellings where proper spellings should go.

4) Use PPC. This keeps your site typo free and you can ensure your ad only appears with a misspelled search. Nice. Clean. Easy.

5) Strategically place typos in your blog posts. Blogs tend to be less formal and rife with spelling and grammatical errors. This gives you a little more leeway to make a typographical "mistake". You can also place your typo in the URL of your blog posts for a little extra umph.

I should point out that there are times when optimizing for typos is necessary. This is never more true if there are significant searches for your brand name spelled incorrectly. You want and need these people to find you. Using the strategies above can help you target the typos that are truly important.

Oh, and I find it completely ironic that every time I type the word "misspelling" I "mispell" it.

December 5, 2008

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Ah ha, but this suggestion:

4) Use PPC. This keeps your site typo free and you can ensure your ad only appears with a misspelled search. Nice. Clean. Easy

opens another can of worms entirely...

how so, Diana?

Mispelt keywords can generate a fair wack of traffic for most sites, and if you examine your analytics you will discover that a majority of your customers cant spell your company name or product names... often many fail to use the space bar between words because they understand that google will self correct them....

there is another element of typo seo when you targeting the US market and having to swap "s" for "z" in words....

great article, nice to see words of warning, use this with a small serve and only in moderation as google will offer suggested correct spelling.

another great moment is when your typo domain outranks your correctly spelt domain....

I was only writing about this last month as its very relevant to our company name, 4Ps Marketing.

Its amazing how many people spell Marketing wrong! See the link for the short story.

We did some typo work at the jewelery store.. It seems a lot of people have trouble spelling jewelry but what we noticed was that that traffic didn't convert as well as traffic that spelled it right.. I can't tell you why, it made no sense to me, but there was a noticeable drop in conversions between the two spellings..

And yes, I know I spelled it wrong the first time..

You spelt it wrong both times, its jewellery :)

ha! interesting. Jewellery can be spelled both ways. But Firefox says it's spelled Jewelery!

Another good idea is to use "2nd level websites" like directory submissions, or social media profiles to rank for typos. You will still get the traffic without having to use a typo an your own website. This is a good idea for online shops and other websites who cannot afford to misspell a word.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > Typo SEO is a No Go Unless You Know the Flow