|I really, really hope nobody uses a single - when they mean a dash. (Hard to tell in a fixed-pitch font-- in fact I consistently code — even though I could easily use the dash character.) That is, I wish they wouldn't, but I know many people do. If you absolutely must use the hyphen character, at least use a pair of them. |
Let's say I had the following title tag:
Email Me - Additional Widget Questions
Instead of using a hyphen, should I use an &mdash or &ndash?
Or should I use two hyphens:
Email Me -- Additional Widget Questions
Neither. I'd use a word. Some ordinary preposition like "with" "for" "about" "on" -- whatever is appropriate.
Does any browser display the <title> in a fixed-pitch font? I think it's whatever the OS uses for window titles. If you know it won't be fixed-pitch, no reason for -- double hyphens. You can use — or —.
Typographically there's no reason to space around double hyphens being used to represent a dash. (In English! Other languages have different rules for spacing dashes.) The only reason for the spaces in the first place was to make it plain that the - character is doing someone else's job.
What Lucy24 said about using a word as far as titles, etc. goes, but as far as typesetting and correctness, a single hyphen is incorrect. Either an – or &mdash would the "more correct" than even -- in typesetting. (There's a printing press in the room next to me btw lol.)
The difference in the two dashes is:
An en-dash is the width of the letter n and em-dash is the with of the letter m, in the current font. And, as Lucy24 pointed out, if the current font is fixed-width (fixed-pitch), they would be the same, but otherwise the em-dash is "wider" than the en-dash is.
[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 2:02 am (utc) on Apr 16, 2013]
|You can use — or —. |
@lucy24 and @TheOptimizationIdiot,
Is it okay to use an &ndash? Or a hyphen such as -
I'm trying to understand why &mdash should be used?
Also, if &mdash is used, should there be space between the word before the &mdash and the &mdash, and the word after the &mdash and the &mdash? I have examples of this below.
Email Me—Additional Widget Questions
Email Me — Additional Widget Questions
After writing what I did above in this post, I realized that I am using a template and for the title tag, I am not sure that I can use an &mdash or an &ndash. I don't think that I can code html for the title tag. Can I copy and paste an &mdash or &ndash from a word processing program? If not, should I use two hyphens, try to use a word instead of a hyphen, or is one hyphen okay?
I'd look at the top sites in your niche(s) and see what they do before adding two hyphens or encoded characters in title tags. That's just me.
EDIT: Not when the character itself is treated the same; does anyone have evidence that encoding the characters in titles is handled/understood better by G?
|EDIT: Not when the character itself is treated the same; does anyone have evidence that encoding the characters in titles is handled/understood better by G? |
Handled better? I can't say one is "handled better" than another in the context of titles.
I can say I have used all kinds of encoded and non-encoded characters in titles and they've all been treated about the same, including some obscure encoded ones. By about the same I mean I didn't see any difference in rankings from "normal / non-encoded" to "obscure / encoded" when I tested different title "phrase separators" a couple years ago.
What I have noticed a difference in wrt titles is the ones that stand out seem to get clicked the most and changed by G's algo the least, so I personally, I do what you say and look at what everyone else in the niche is doing, then don't do that.
I did a quick experiment. The sites that DO use the long Dash can be seen in the title of the SERP listing just like when G adds a separator (obviously longer). Copy and paste the titles into a text editor that will show you the difference between types of characters and you'll see G using what appears to be the keyboard hyphen not the long DASH (coded or non-encoded) which is highlighted in a different color than keyboard characters.
I should have checked what G was doing a long time ago but there it is.
@TOI - I've never seen a difference encoding into any meta-tag and for simplicity don't.
EDIT: The above experiment wasn't highly scientific no, but the text was copied from both the source and the visible page to be sure it wasn't a copy/paste issue.
Seems to me that people do a lot of "thinking" and not enough testing. Most seem to think this or that but where are the test results?
|Most seem to think this or that but where are the test results? |
Come on now, you've gotta do better than that (lol) emphasis added just for you ;)
|By about the same I mean I didn't see any difference in rankings from "normal / non-encoded" to "obscure / encoded" when I tested different title "phrase separators" a couple years ago. |
@Kelowna - look up, just told everyone what G is using.
@TOI - we did odd characters about 6 years ago, only effect seemed to be visibility but one webmaster I mentioned the idea to was surrounding his titles with asterisks and his sites failed soon after (that was probably him rather than asterisks in title tags, he was pretty lazy).
@mixtapekid457 I think there's been enough mentioned here for you to decide that it's a matter of testing for you to see if you have a better CTR using either/or. The real key is writing your titles to be honest and descriptive with the right "look" to make them stand out from others around yours.
I've used a colon like- word : word -for years in title tags and they have always been treated as a separator, as well as showing up in the SERPs as intended, with no impact on rankings.
|Is it okay to use an &ndash? Or a hyphen such as - |
I'm trying to understand why &mdash should be used?
Also, if &mdash is used, should there be space between the word before the &mdash and the &mdash, and the word after the &mdash and the &mdash?
The en dash is typically used to separate pairs of numerals. Ranges, not close-knit groups like phone numbers. Maybe a couple of other uses I can't remember at the moment. It isn't generally used in plain text, except rarely to represent a sort of, er, uber-hyphen. When it isn't serving as a minus sign, a hyphen is for breaking up pieces of words, or making word pairs. As in this paragraph ;)
The em dash in English is not spaced. In some other languages it is. This is simply typographic convention, like the shape and direction of quotation marks.
In the title tag Email Me - Additional Widget Questions, should I use a hyphen or an &ndash? I don't think that an &mdash should be used here. If you think that it should be, can you tell me. When using an &mdash, should there be a space between the &mdash and the letter on the left and right of it?
Also, I have a heading that is similar to the title tag on another page, and for headings, I can use html. At the moment, I have used a hyphen. Should I switch to &ndash or &mdash?
I'd say getting this right or wrong will make about 0.00000001% difference to your rankings (up or down).
I hear what you're saying, but since I have several of these on a site, I'd like to know how they should be written.
Honestly I can't think of any situation, anywhere, where a hyphen with spaces on both sides would be the correct form to use.
And if I wanted more of this kind of thing I'd go over to the ebooks forum. There's a current thread about whether the word "Page" in a multi-page Table of Contents should be retained or deleted on the non-initial pages. This thread is well into its fourth page. Admittedly those are php/bb2 15-post pages, not WebmasterWorld 30-post pages, but still...
|I'd say getting this right or wrong will make about 0.00000001% difference to your rankings |
He tried to put in more zeros but the Forums software ate them.
|should I use a hyphen or an &ndash? I don't think that an &mdash should be used here. If you think that it should be, can you tell me. When using an &mdash, should there be a space between the &mdash and the letter on the left and right of it? |
Haven't we been here already? Scroll back a bit; we may have overlapped at a page break.
| This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 46 ( 1  ) |