The Art of Proofreading & Editing SEO Content

SUSO 15 April 2024

Learn about the importance of proofreading and editing your content along with how you can enhance user experience and the credibility of your website with actionable tips.

Author: Julia Lysakowska, Content Team Leader

Julia Lysakowska

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that the name “Google” originated from a typo? In 1996, Larry Page and Sergey Brin (the co-founders of Google) initially named their search engine “BackRub.” As their project expanded, they needed a new name. 

A fellow Stanford student, Sean Anderson, suggested “googolplex,” which stands for an extremely large number. However, Page preferred the shorter “googol,” representing 1 followed by 100 zeros. 

While checking the domain name’s availability, Anderson accidentally searched for “google.com.” This mistake led to the adoption of the name “Google.” On September 15, 1997, Page and Brin officially registered the domain. Despite its accidental origin, the name effectively embodied their goal of organising the world’s information concisely.

That’s quite a lucky accident. But, it’s not really the case when it comes to modern SEO content published daily in great volumes. In the fast-paced world of online content, where competition for visibility is fierce, every word matters. 

This is where the art of proofreading and editing steps in – consider it a guardian of quality and credibility. There are many SEO content factors to consider before putting it on a digital race to the coveted number one position in search results.

Is proofreading and editing still necessary in this day and age? And how exactly should you go about it to make your content stand out in the sea of AI-generated blubber? Read on to find out.

Why Bother With Proofreading and Editing Content for SEO?

When it comes to SEO content, its significance simply can’t be overlooked. Proofreading and editing plays a pivotal role in shaping not only search engine rankings but also the overall user experience and brand reputation. Let’s take a look at these factors, as they should give you the basic idea as to why you should never skip this process.

Impact on SEO Rankings

Search engines prioritise well-crafted, error-free content. Errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation can negatively affect a page’s ranking, as search algorithms increasingly emphasise user satisfaction. Google aims to deliver the most relevant and reliable results to users, and polished content signals trustworthiness and professionalism.

Enhancing User Experience and Credibility

Beyond its impact on search rankings, editing and proofreading your content contributes to enhancing user experience. Content that is free from errors is easier to read and understand, keeping users engaged and encouraging them to spend more time on your website. Moreover, error-free content instils confidence in the audience, reinforcing the credibility of your brand or website.

Maintaining Brand Reputation

In the digital landscape, where information spreads rapidly, a single typo or grammatical error can tarnish a brand’s reputation. Users are quick to judge and may perceive errors as a reflection of carelessness or lack of expertise. Consistently high-quality content, on the other hand, fosters trust and loyalty among the audience, strengthening the brand’s reputation over time.

Tips For Proofreading and Editing SEO Content

There’s more to SEO proofreading and editing than meets the eye. It’s not just about scanning through a document, adding commas, removing typos, and hoping to publish as soon as possible. Instead, you’re in the middle of a meticulous process that requires attention to detail and a keen eye for errors.

So, what should you do when proofreading and editing SEO content? Here are some actionable tips:

Read Before You Edit

If editing is a part of your routine quality-check process, you might be tempted to just get on with it, submit your piece of content as fast as possible, and forget about it even faster. In the race towards quality, diligence beats speed.

Before you start editing, read the content first. Get the feel of the writer’s style, see for yourself what the post is about. Approach it with an open mind, especially if it’s about something out of your usual area of expertise – you might learn something new.

Pro tip: If you can get a hold of a content brief your writer received, read it as well. This way, you’ll see if they’ve delivered what’s expected. If they haven’t, you can always get back to them and ask for corrections before you proceed with editing.

Fact-Check

Some content writers specialise in a specific topic or industry whereas others thrive when writing about a wide variety of topics and develop their expertise in different directions. Some may also rely on generative AI to produce content faster. In any of these cases,  fact-checking is crucial – anyone can make a mistake, but publishing false information does not bode well in terms of credibility and professionalism.

When editing, check all the facts, numbers and claims. It’s especially important when editing AI-generated content. With each passing day, AI models keep getting better and better. However, it’s not uncommon for them to produce content that’s wrong, false, or misleading.

At the end of the day, people want to read content that’s accurate, helpful, and answers their search query as adequately as possible. If the content you’re reading fails to meet these criteria, then it should end up on the editorial chopping block.

Look Out for Typos

You can use Grammarly or some other spell-checking tool and still miss those pesky typos which can ruin an otherwise well-written and informative piece.

Typos can be funny, but more often than not, they make your content look unprofessional and can undermine your credibility. They can happen to the best of the best, so it’s always better to read the content once again before uploading it.

Pay attention to:

  • Proper names and nouns
  • Words of foreign origin (like liaison, colleague, questionnaire)
  • Words that are phonetically similar (example: hear vs here)
  • Abbreviations (like we’re vs were)
  • Possessive nouns (its vs it’s)

look out for typos

Take a look at this example here. See? Typos happen everywhere, and people notice them. If only there was an editor willing to look things over…

Make It Clear and Concise

If it’s extra – take it out! Surrounded by distractions and with attention spans reduced to mere seconds, modern internet users want to find relevant information as quickly as possible. Improve your bounce rate by creating SEO content that’s clear and to the point, without extra fluff people couldn’t care less about.

Don’t beat about the bush. Sometimes, using repetitions is more than justified, but there’s a difference between intentional repetition and random ramblings. That’s why research is so important – the more you know about the subject, the more precise you can be.

Check the Style, Tone and Formatting

Style, tone and formatting can make or break a person’s reading experience. I’m sure you’ve encountered articles that were difficult to read because they lacked proper spacing, or maybe the tone of voice did not match the brand. Was the style too casual when it was supposed to be formal? These factors, and more, are something every good editor should pay attention to. Let’s talk about them in more detail:

  1. Style: Style refers to the overall voice and tone of your writing. It encompasses factors such as word choice, sentence structure, and use of language. Using a consistent style is crucial for creating a unified brand voice that resonates with your audience. 

When editing SEO content, consider factors such as formality, humour, and level of technicality, and strive to maintain a consistent tone throughout the entire piece. Whether your brand’s style is casual and conversational or formal and authoritative, consistency is key to building trust and familiarity with the audience.

  1. Tone: Tone reflects the attitude or emotion conveyed in your writing. It influences how the content is perceived by readers and shapes their responses. Consistency in tone helps maintain coherence and clarity, ensuring that the readers learn what they need. Whether the target tone is informative, persuasive, or empathetic, an SEO editor will make sure it aligns with a brand’s values and objectives.
  2. Formatting: Consistent formatting ensures that your content is visually appealing and easy to navigate. This includes elements such as headings, subheadings, bullet points, and paragraph spacing. 

In SEO content, pay attention to factors like font style, size, and colour, as well as alignment and indentation. Consistent and logical formatting not only enhances readability but also reinforces your brand’s visual identity and professionalism.

Think About SEO

When proofreading and editing SEO content, think about SEO elements that can be under- or over-optimised, such as:

  • Meta descriptions: Even though they’re not a ranking factor, they can improve your CTR in the search results. When editing meta descriptions, pay attention to the length and make sure they don’t exceed 160 characters. Aim to use the most relevant keywords you want your page to rank for.
  • Title and headings: Using target keywords in titles and headings helps Google and readers know that your page is relevant for them.
  • Alt text: It should feature relevant keywords and be descriptive. If it’s missing, then you need to add it – it’s a principle of web accessibility.
  • Keyword density: SEO content has to include keywords to rank. But there’s a catch – too many keywords and the content doesn’t read right.
  • CTA: With a well-crafted call to action, you can keep the readers engaged with your website and prompt them to do more after reading your content. As such, you need to make sure your CTAs are snappy, enticing, and to the point – it’s not just about writing anymore.

Final Thoughts

SEO editing and proofreading serves as a safeguard against the detrimental effects of errors in content. By investing time and effort into this process, content creators, businesses and organisations not only improve their chances of ranking higher in search results but also demonstrate a commitment to excellence and professionalism. This, in turn, helps build a relationship with audiences and gain their trust.

Both human writers and AI tools are prone to mistakes. Do you need some high-ranking copy for your blog or website? Get in touch with us and together, we’ll come up with the best course of action for you and your brand.

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