Spelling test

What does it do?

This test checks for spelling errors in these languages:

  • English (British)
  • English (US)
  • French
  • German
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese

Example results

Example spelling test results

Why is it important?

Poor spelling leaves a poor impression of your website, it can also make your content harder to understand. It is often hard to find spelling errors in areas of your website you may not always see – such as your page titlesalternative text and meta tags.

How to use this test

Adding words to the dictionary

  • Look at the list of potential spelling errors. Clicking on a word will show an extract where that word was found.
  • Some words may be correctly spelt, but Sitebeam doesn’t recognize them. Click the Add to dictionary to add the currently selected word to the dictionary. The score for the test will update automatically.
  • You can select multiple words by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking them in turn. Or hold down Shift and click a word to select all words between the current word and the one you click.
  • You can select all words by clicking Select all. Click it again to deselect all words.
  • If you add an incorrect word by mistake, click Undo. Once you leave the page, you can’t undo words you’ve added.

Exporting a list of spelling errors

It can be useful to have a list of errors to work from. First make sure you’ve excluded any correctly spelt words that Sitebeam doesn’t recognise (see above).

  • Click the Pages tab.
  • Click Export.
  • You now just need to select a desired format and download it.

The exported list of spelling errors contains a list of every single page with an error. If an error appears on many pages, this may be a long list.

How is it measured?

The words on each page are spell checked individually. Where possible, Sitebeam attempts to guess the language(s) used and selects an appropriate dictionary where possible. The test can usually detect more subtle variations between languages – for example, American English / British English – automatically. If languages are not detected correctly, you can specify them manually under Site Settings > Test configuration.

The score is based on the number of pages which have any spelling errors on them, as a proportion (e.g. no pages contain errors = 10 out of 10). If the site cannot be tested for spelling (e.g. the language is not supported) then no score will be awarded, and this will be reported. The test ignores words which have been previously excluded.

Unlike most tests, you can change the score for the Spelling test without needing to re-run the report. As you add words to the dictionary, Sitebeam instantly recalculates the Spelling score for you.

Technical explanation

The entire plain text for the page is tested, which includes meta keywords, alternative text, the drop down options in forms and any other potentially human readable text. The dictionary makes reasonable attempts to eliminate words which are casually acceptable. For instance, words written entirely in capitals are assumed to be acronyms, and are not tested (e.g. ABCD).

Any words you add to your dictionary are excluded for all of your websites. If for example, you added ‘iPod’ to your dictionary for one website, testing another would automatically exclude that word.

To learn how languages are detected automatically, see the Languages test.

When Sitebeam doesn’t have enough confidence about the language for a particular page, it will exclude that page from being spell checked. Typically this is because that page is using a language that Sitebeam does not support. If this happens, you will see these pages listed under the Skipped tab.

Potential problems

  • Proper names and places. The spell check is case sensitive for some words, e.g. “david” must be spelt “David”.
  • The dictionary doesn’t know many obvious words. The dictionaries that we use are from Hunspell, an open source spell checker. We have noticed that relatively new words tend to be missing from these dictionaries, and we’ve added our own extensions to these to make them more effective. However no dictionary is perfect. We analyse what words are most frequently being added to individual Sitebeam dictionaries, to improve our central dictionaries, and they will improve over time.
  • My language is not supported. We’re adding new language support over time. The list of currently supported languages is listed at the top of this Help page. In the meantime, this test should automatically exclude parts of a website that it doesn’t know how to spell check.
  • My language is not detected, or is detected incorrectly. See the Languages test.
  • Text Sitebeam says is misspelled does not appear in the webpage. Sitebeam tests inside areas of the webpage that may not be obvious, for example inside alternative text, drop down lists, or meta tags. In extremely rare cases, the website may be writing out text in a way that appears legitimate onscreen, but to agents like Sitebeam or Google, appears as something else. Try viewing the source of the webpage to find any words you can’t see.

How to improve this score

Exclude any words Sitebeam does not recognise that are correctly spelt, and correct any remaining spelling mistakes in the website.

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