Google Changes Misspelled Results – Did You Mean….

  • 0
  • December 10, 2008

Perhaps this is a long standing change and I’ve not made a spelling mistake for a while but it seems like Google is changing the way they display “Did you mean” search results.

Rather than displaying the results for the misspelled term with a link to the correct results Google is actually claiming to show the top 2 results from the correctly spelled query and then 8 results for the misspelled query.

Strangely the first two results are actually not the same results visible for the correctly spelled query, they seem to be a mixture of the two.

This is quite big news for those people targetting misspelled queries, it’s much harder to get to the top because the first two results are almost always for the correctly spelled domains.

I say almost because it is actually possible to rank a page with correctly spelled words for an incorrectly spelled phrase, effectively giving you 2 bites of the cherry.

All you need to do is use the incorrect spelling in the anchor text pointing at the page and it will rank no problem.

If you click on the 2nd page that ranks for search engine optimiisation you see the text below:

These search terms are highlighted: search engine These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: optimiisation

Perfect example of clever SEO.

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • Tom

    I mis-spell thing all the time and this only came into effect a few days ago (for me anyway) :-)

  • Glen Allsopp

    I’ve seen this a few times in the last few months so definitely nothing too new. However, it is interesting that they are starting to push this a little more, I think it’s a big improvement.

    I like Yahoo’s implementation the best, do a search for ‘lets have fun’ and see their recommendations

  • Keemo

    Don’t you mean SOE? 😉

  • Franklin Bishop

    I just saw this the other day and it really kind of angers me. The reason? Because now it is difficult to target misspelled words in Google. It will still work but if they’re going to show two links that are spelled right that it will be difficult to get any traffic from misspelled words.

  • Patrick Altoft

    Franklin the key here is that the 2nd result was shown as a correctly spelled site but it’s not the normal 2nd place result. They have optimised for the misspelling by using anchor text but because their site isn’t misspelled they are placed in the correctly spelled results.

  • sandossu

    I can’t see the change, it might be only for users in the UK or a few countries.

  • Matt Cutts

    Franklin, I think it’s still a really nice feature for users, even if it does make it harder to target misspelled words in Google. I like that this will help users find helpful pages even if they aren’t the best spellers.

  • PRN Funding Factoring Specialist

    Great news! Thanks for noting the change…I only recently started noticing it myself.

  • Patrick Altoft

    Matt I find it interesting that the result in 2nd place isn’t the same result that you get when you perform a normal search with the correct spelling.

  • jemin

    I can’t see the change, it might be only for users in the UK . and i also check in proxy but no any changes in Did you mean?

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  • Marjory

    I think that it would be a nice feature if it worked properly. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a brand name, the suggestion is sometimes not very palatable. Try searching for gorank in Google and the result is actually kind of offensive. I would be more comfortable with it if it was only being used for common misspellings/searches but when it gives me the wrong result (and potentially an offensive one), it’s annoying. Why can’t they just leave it at Did you mean? and let me click again if I can’t spell.

  • jay

    That is just a bunch of Jew censorship. Google seeking to attack small businesses. This tool was implemented to be a weapon of censorship against your business. In fact the intenret is a military applicatoin under the wrong hands. Its now being used as a war agains freedom by companies like google that want covet the masses and not allow for public voice or business. ultimately a governent ran search engine should deal a death blow to all search engines

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  • Calgary Web Design

    Up until very recently our client’s site, used to be the first result when a search was made for “Uniblok”
    Now however, Google provides this in its result page:
    “Showing results for uniblock. Search instead for uniblok.”

    Particularly frustrating about the results is that the first result that comes up in this search has nothing to do with the replaced “Uniblock” at all.

    As it stands now there are over 15,000 pages which get returned for Uniblok. They have unique and highly recognized products in their market and they are a very established company. They have had this site for years.

    This is an unusual SEO problem in that there seems little clear guidance in strategical approaches towards correcting it beyond recommendations to “add pages linking back.” I have read nothing else concrete beyond that except to adopt a ‘keep your fingers crossed and wait and see’ attitude.

    Our client would like their site to be number one again for searches involving their name. Is there any helpful or constructive advice anyone can offer to help amend this as soon as possible?

    Thank you.

    BTW: Strategies attempted so far: organic SEO makeover of client’s site and writing of offsite articles on reputable news sites with appropriate deep level link backs. The campaign has seem dramatic increases in all targeted keyphrases except that most important one: Uniblok. is that site again.

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