Is It OK To Misspell Something for the Sake of SEO?

I was recently performing a Google keyword report for a press release I was writing and ran into a bit of a snag. I was writing about a particular type of product and found that the greatest search activity was attached to a misspelling of the product name. (Which means that most people interested in this product are not good spellers?)

What to do? Could I really misspell something to enhance the SEO results? Is that the right thing to do? I distinctly heard my 6th grade teacher, Miss Novak, telling me that I should “never misspell a word; that’s what dictionaries are for.” In fact, it’s because of her that I always use a dictionary, or at least spell-check. I’m really careful (read: obsessive) about spelling. For instance, “spell-check” seems to need a hyphen; didn’t know that till just now, but it’s a ‘done deal’ from this day forward.

While deliberating with myself in this manner, I also remembered that Miss Novak insisted that I compete in the school Spelling Bee – making my ultimate success in the contest a particular badge of honor for me and cementing my future as a “good speller.” When I was a trade publication editor, the staff got a little lazy about spelling because they “knew I’d catch it.” Today, people here at the agency often ask me to spell something for them and then check to see if I’m right. And just yesterday, my son called out from his room: “How do you spell succinctly?” (I must be doing something right if he’s writing sentences with words like succinctly, right?)

While it is best practice SEO to make use of misspellings wherever possible, I didn’t misspell the product name in this case (and the client concurred). I made sure that the rest of the release was search engine optimized, but I couldn’t intentionally misspell anything. I’m too afraid that Miss Novak would find me and take away my “Best Speller” ribbon.



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