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Symbols on Title Tags
Is Google ok with this?

 2:20 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

I noticed recently when looking at a number of UK search requests in google that a certain site was using a blue star shaped symbol at the start of their title tag.

The code being ۞ on the start of the title tag line.

This means that when the page is listed say position 7 down the page in the serps as an example, your eye is drawn to it because of the blue symbol which sort of enhances the listing.

My first thought on this was that google would stamp on this PDQ on the basis that if other sites followed, the serps would look a total mess after a while, but clearly google are more than happy to rank the site well that is doing this and currently its cleaning up as a result.

Thoughts anyone? Should we be doing the same?



 4:53 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

As far as I can see G's guidelines say only, "Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate."

This does not actually tell you not to use symbols so perhaps it's OK?


 5:07 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)


On the one hand the title does say what the page is - just has a nice blue symbol to the left of it - so thats ok?

On the other hand the symbol is not descriptive and does not accurately reflect in any way the page content.

I guess you could also argue that the site is in some way trying to "Game" google by attracting visitors to its listing by use of a icon that doesnt mean anything other than to make the listing stand out. Also, its not of any benefit to the end user and is to gain advantage in the search listings.

I genuinely dont know what to make of this, google is clearly OK with it "currently" but i would feel nervous if it was on one of the sites i work on, just on the basis that it looks dodgy and who wants to possibly rock the boat with the mighty G and risk having your site pulled?


 6:49 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

You will need an extra clean site because you may draw Spam reporting.
Short term it may work - but long term i would stick to the title format/look that people have gotten used to in Google for the last 8 years.


 6:53 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have seen those symbols as well .. they are ASCII and most of them are filtered out in the results but there are a few that come through. However if the end users computer does not support them or they don't have the font to display them then it will look like giberish.


 7:29 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Searching for ۞ on Google gives me about 4 million results, so IMO I don't think G. will ban / penalize all these websites using this special character. However, I would not use it. I personally don't like how it looks :).



 8:23 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Further research shows many sites with snippets like ...

"&#1758 Buy Lovely Blue Widgets from us"

In other words G displays the actual hex code as opposed to the character. I'm afraid that it all looks a bit too unpredictable to me so I won't be doing it.


 10:41 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

This topic was debated ad nauseum a couple of years ago when red and yellow stars were flavour of the month. The old thread must be somewhere around.


 11:05 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

A friend of mine has used the Blue Star in the title of just the root index page for at least a few months, and for a while Google showed it in their results - and then swiftly switched over to using the ODP title instead...

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