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Ampersands and Search Engines

April 7, 2010
Dear Jill,
Photo Credit Mykl Roventine
On my web page I have H2 tags that include the HTML ampersand (&) character code.

For example: Health & Beauty

I've been told that this confuses crawlers. Can you please advise if this has any effect on the search engine results for my site?

I would appreciate your help.


++Jill's Response++

Hi Rita,

No, it doesn't confuse the crawlers. They convert the HTML & to the ampersand character. Google also knows that an ampersand and the word "and" mean the same thing.

That said, a quick search at Google for "health & beauty" and "health and beauty" (without quotes on either) does show slightly different results. You may want to take a look at that to decide if you want to use the ampersand or the word "and."

You may want to use both forms in order to target both types of search queries. Of course, my guess is that not that many people search with the ampersand character because it's a bit of a pain to type.

Hope this helps!

Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, a Boston SEO Consulting Agency.

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Post Comment

 Andrew@BloggingGuide said:
At least now I know that the & sign is not really a no-no,but I still prefer using the word "and" itself.
 Marek Cich said:
if you use '&' the site will not validate - use '&' ... unfortunatelly it takes 5 character space from title that leaves 60 characters more to use. As you can see the best is to use word 'and' which is 3 characters.
 Marek Cich said:
I meant '&' != '& amp ;' != 'and' from SEO point of view:
& - html will not validate, 1 character
& amp ; - valid html, but if it is used in < title > it takes 5 characters
and - valid html, takes 3 characters