Some terms in my niche are not spelled correctly, but the community deliberately spells them that way. They are often combinations of words that are not in the dictionary. Imaginary examples would be "blankbraking", "purpleswelling", or "cycletilting". Should I hyphenate them to avoid an SEO penalty or keep them without a hyphen like the community prefers?
Intentional misspellings can positively and negatively impact SEO, depending on how they are used and the specific circumstances. Here's a breakdown of the considerations:
1. User Intent and Community Preferences: If your target audience commonly uses intentional misspellings to search for specific topics or products, it may be beneficial to incorporate these terms into your content. Understanding user intent and catering to community preferences can improve user engagement and satisfaction, indirectly contributing to SEO.
2. Keyword Research: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify the variations and spellings that people are using in their search queries. Tools like Google Keyword Planner or third-party keyword research tools can help you discover these terms. If there's a significant search volume for the misspelled words, it's worth considering them in your SEO strategy.
3. On-Page Optimization: If you choose to use intentional misspellings, ensure that they are seamlessly integrated into your content. This means that the content should still read naturally and provide value to users. Use these terms in headings, body text, meta tags, and alt tags where relevant.
4. Hyphens vs. No Hyphens: Whether to use hyphens depends on the specific misspelled term and user behavior. If the community prefers and commonly searches for a particular misspelling without hyphens, it may be better to use it as-is. However, if you find that a hyphenated version is more commonly used in search queries, it's wise to include both variations where appropriate.
5. Metrics and Testing: Continuously monitor the performance of your content and specific keywords using SEO analytics tools. If you have multiple variations of a misspelled term, track their rankings, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Based on these metrics, you can fine-tune your strategy by emphasizing the words that deliver the best results.
6. Quality and Relevance: Always prioritize the quality and Relevance of your content. While intentional misspellings can be effective, they should maintain the overall quality of your content. Users should find valuable information when they visit your pages.
In summary, there's no inherent SEO penalty for intentional misspellings, especially if they align with user intent and community preferences. The key is to balance incorporating these terms for SEO purposes and maintaining high-quality, user-friendly content. Test different variations, monitor performance, and adapt your strategy based on the results to ensure you optimize your niche effectively.