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How Do Search Engines Treat Punctuation?
Posted 08 February 2006 - 12:08 PM
I notice that he has different SE rankings depending on whether the search is for St. John's or St Johns
So, it seems as if the search engines do see the punctuation as different searches. Any ideas on the best way to optimize the site so that it ranks regardless of whether the punctuation is used or not?
I can put both spellings in the keywords, but the content of the page really needs to read St. John's to make sense to the visitors.
Any ideas would be welcome!
Posted 08 February 2006 - 12:37 PM
And, as a general rule, this does not apply to an _ which is seen as a valid character by most engines so that word1_word2 is seen as a single long word while word1-word2 word1!word2 word1%word2 etc are all seen as the same set of two different words.
Posted 08 February 2006 - 12:53 PM
So, would it be a good idea to include st john s in the keywords also? or will that be handled by st. john's?
Posted 08 February 2006 - 01:17 PM
If you want to effectively compete on both forms of the word, I'm afraid you would have to use it both ways on your pages.
You could use it the correct way on most pages, but reserve some inner page to perhaps use it incorrectly. If this is not an option (and I can totally understand if it's not...I wouldn't personally do it either) then I would simply suggest purchasing ads for the incorrect spelling and leave it at that.
Yes, you can put it incorrectly in your Meta keyword tag, but at best that might marginally help you in Yahoo, and that's assuming all the other pages are using only the correct form.
Oh, and apostrophes are NOT seen as a space as far as I know.
Periods, commas, yeah, but not apostrophes. Those appear to be seen as part of the word.
Posted 08 February 2006 - 02:15 PM
Thanks for the response. That's what I was afraid of. So, we'll just hope that people doing the search are fanatical about punctuation.
A search on Google shows the same # of sites found, regardless of the spelling. But, the site isn't currently ranked on Google.
On MSN, there are a lot more sites found when you use the punctuation. And, the site's ranking is MUCH different on MSN depending on whether you use the punctuation or not.
On Yahoo, there are a lot more sites found when you use the punctuation. And, the site's ranking is SLIGHTLY different on Yahoo depending on whether you use the punctuation or not.
I just love these search engines.
Posted 08 February 2006 - 07:56 PM
I do note that the searches are producing some fairly different results:
including a seemingly higher CTR for the advertisers on St Johns (without the apostrophe)... very interesting.
Posted 08 February 2006 - 09:47 PM
Thanks! That's a great idea. Sometimes you get so embroiled in a problem you can't see the forest for the trees.
And, aren't the results weird? First time I ever worked with a keyword that had punctuation in it. And, it is.... very interesting.
Posted 08 February 2006 - 11:04 PM
"For those of you who mistakenly searched for "St Johns", we love you too. Spell it St. John's or St Johns, either way this is where it is at.
Does that help?
Posted 08 February 2006 - 11:25 PM
Another great idea! I love this forum. Thanks for the post.
Posted 09 February 2006 - 04:07 AM
You mention "including a seemingly higher CTR for the advertisers on St Johns (without the apostrophe)... very interesting. "
How can you see what the CTR is for a search? Are you using a programm for this, or am I missing something?
Posted 09 February 2006 - 11:33 AM
Posted 09 February 2006 - 12:58 PM
Too high for what?
If it reads well, you can have a 100% density as far as the search engines are concerned.
Posted 09 February 2006 - 01:14 PM
Posted 09 February 2006 - 02:17 PM
But what about Accentuation?
There aren't many English words with accents, but there are lots of them in Spanish, Portuguese, French...
Does anyone know how Accentuation influences search results?
Posted 09 February 2006 - 02:22 PM
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