SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the most complex and quickly changing areas of online marketing, and it has been a subject of many books (or book-length articles). We would like to tackle only one of its tiny aspects, namely the issue of keywords that are often written incorrectly and whether they need to be “hidden” in our website.
The basic issue
The purpose of SEO, if it has to be summed up in one sentence, is to place as many relevant, subject-specific words and terms on a webpage as possible, and these search terms have to be popular keywords for internet users. In this way, our webpage will be easily found as it will be ranked higher on the result page of search engines.
However, sometimes the most popular written form of a term is not the correct one. In Hungarian, fordító iroda (translation company) and könyvelő iroda (accountancy firm) are not correct forms, but they are as often used as the correct forms (fordítóiroda and könyvelőiroda).
So, do we lose our edge to our competition if we exclusively use the correct versions on our website?
Writing compound words together or separately
When search engines became popular, the Hungarian language caused an issue which is not so relevant in the English language: do users use compound keywords separately, or do they follow the rules of orthography (if they know them at all)?
In English, compounds are written separately (or at least separated by a dash), and this has an effect on Hungarian internet users too: writing compound words separately has become a tendency. The terms állat eledel (pet food), oliva olaj (olive oil) or csavarozó gép (electric screwdriver) are popular but incorrect forms as these words should be written as one.
The examples could go on, but the problem is clear: the Hungarian language of internet users and that dictated by the rules of orthography are not the same.
This issue is not restricted to compound words, of course.
Many words are simply mistyped because their orthography is ambiguous: boksz (boxing) is often written as box, like in English, and szelfibot (selfie stick) as selfie bot, etc. Internet users are not always aware of the correct form of all words they use.
However, a company that wants to maintain a professional image cannot allow itself to use different written forms inconsistently, neither can they follow the popular but incorrect versions.
Good news: search engines now look past our mistakes
Fortunately, we do not have to be afraid of not getting found because of our good orthography: SEO has become much more sophisticated than it was even a few years ago.
Back then, companies had to apply tricks and somehow hide the incorrectly written terms on the webpage or include the mistyped keywords in the keyword list. The first solution was extremely inconvenient for a company or a freelancer offering high-quality language-related services like translation or copywriting.
Today, an incredibly advanced artificial intelligence is crawling the internet, and it takes context into consideration, it is not just analyzing words. If, for example, an online article contains the words corner, offside and Ronaldo, the AI will “know” that the subject is football (soccer) and will categorize the article accordingly – even if the word football is not present in the text. And if a site contains many terms relating to the same subject in different subpages, the web crawler bot will know what the main subject of the whole website is.
So – luckily – we do not have to care about incorrectly written keywords on our webpage. The web crawler will figure out anyway what our article is about, as the search engine knows what the users are looking for when they mistype a word. No need to worry: just create content, stay demanding of yourself, write correctly – and the users will find you.