Misspelled Keywords – Good Luck with That!

misspelling-is-easyRanking well for a popular keyword phrase is getting harder and harder these days. But did you know that about 10 million times a day someone misspells a keyword in their search? Normally to those poor saps I would say, “Hey, good luck with that!” But the truth is, more and more online companies are taking advantage of the misspelled keywords.

For example, if your website is selling office calendars, the average monthly search for “office calendars” is about 40,500. The term “office calenders” is searched about 1,300 times per month. What does this mean for you? Well, even though the misspelled term searches are significantly less (only 3% of the correctly spelled term’s search volume) you will not need to fight as hard to get to the top of this search, thus bringing in some extra traffic from those bad spellors that u may knot hav otherwize bin kounting on.

So what is the best way to optimize for these misspelled keywords? The first trick is to know what your options are for the possible misspellings. A great tool to use for this is the Seobook.com Typo Generator—although, in the 146 possibilities this tool gives for the word “Calendar,” they don’t even mention “Calender.” So, you will want to check out more than one source. Another source is checking the “100 Most Often Misspelled Words in English” from yourdictionary.com or other dictionary sites. Make sure to check the misspelled word’s estimated search traffic to see if it is worth optimizing for.

Next you’ll need to optimize for the misspelled term on your page. There are several ways of accomplishing this, but I believe one of the classiest methods is to simply post an article or blog post on your site that mentions different common misspellings of the desired term. You can’t base your entire SEO strategy on optimizing for misspellings. Google often times helps out poor spelling patrons showing the “Did you mean…” option above the search results.

Well, there you have it—a new arrow in your quiver. Just make sure to take some time to do a little research (Google AdWords keyword tool) before spending energy on the optimization. Often times, it’s hit or miss with these misspellings—so, good luck with that!

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7 Comments

  1. Adam says

    Hey Joe,
    I own 2 domains based entirely on common mispellings:
    web desin (www.webdesin.net)
    car insruance (www.carinsruance.net)

    They show up on the first page of google for their respective terms, but I don’t get hardly any traffic. You pretty much have to be 1,2 or 3 to get much traffic for those mispellings because of the google suggest feature.

  2. Nick K. says

    Good article. Misspellings do look like the overlooked low-hanging fruit ripe for the taking. But I would like to add a word of caution.

    It’s a risky strategy to spend a lot of energy optimizing for misspelled words – Google’s Webmaster Guidelines clearly states Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here (e.g. tricking users by registering misspellings of well-known websites). It seems Google doesn’t like the idea of people going after traffic for misspelled keywords.

    So you may find that one day your site optimized for misspellings doesn’t rank anymore – Google may on a whim decide to punish sites with misspellings just as they do duplicate sites. Right now bad spelling doesn’t seem to be a mortal sin, but that could easily change. You’ll wake up one day and find that Google decided to drop all sites with more than X percent of misspelled words.

  3. Adam says

    I agree. I helped a guy with Circut City a while back. I was amazed at the volume on that term. Although, I’m guessing that it will fade now that they are out of business.

  4. Ian says

    yup that’s really true you can really rank very high when you add misspelled keywords to your articles as no one has ever thought of adding those words to there article’s keywords. Thanks for sharing great information.

  5. Erick says

    This is really optimisation for optimisations sake. I would rather spend the 4 hours I get each week on a clients site getting more traffic to convert.

    Think about it, you are talking about targeting <3% on any given keyword, also as users get used to the did you mean feature, Google also has added Chameleon and Spellmeleon furthering this so unless you are one of the top two results, and can be sure you can get there it is wasted effort.

    If a website gets 1000 unique visitors per day or 30,000 per month, you are much better spending that time understanding what users are already doing, and improving conversion rate than optimising for misspellings!

    Honestly, standalone SEO is dying, from one professional to another, spend more time improving conversion rate, the number of dissatisfied clients I used to have who said to me it is great I rank for that keyword but I haven’t seen any money convinced me 4 years ago that conversion rate is something more tangible and much more profitable.

  6. Soren J says

    Quote: “There are several ways of accomplishing this, but I believe one of the classiest methods is to simply post an article or blog post on your site that mentions different common misspellings of the desired term”.

    Well – what are the other ways then??

    Using the common misspellings trick is not an option in many cases, and IMHO it’s a way of indirectly telling the users they’re stupid….

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