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This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46 ( [1] 2 > >     
Is a | (pipe) in the title tag for the search engine or the user?
mixtapekid457




msg:4564397
 11:59 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does the | in a Title tag actually do anything for the Search Engines? Or is it for the users? What I mean by this is, Does google see it actually as a separator between keywords or phrases. For example if I have: Matt Cutts|Google|Webspam or Matt Cutts Google Webspam. Will Google see the Title Tag the same? Additionally, which of the two is more beneficial? I could not really find a definitive answer. I hope you guys can help thanks.

 

jimbeetle




msg:4564511
 3:51 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

There's not going to be a definitive answer on something so arcane.

My feeling is that separators in the title *element* (and most any place else) are simply ignored. Not sure what a search engine would be able to divine by payin attention to them.

netmeg




msg:4564518
 5:06 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

As Sigmund Freud once said, sometimes a separator is just a separator.

Str82u




msg:4564523
 5:34 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

According to Matt Cutts, use dashes, but they understand both pipes and dashes are separators. Here's the video and you can decide [youtube.com...]

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564524
 5:40 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nice find... I thought it sounded like he said use either, because there shouldn't be a ranking impact from one or the other and an a/b test to see which generates more clicks might be a good idea, then go with the one that works best.

I've personally used both with no direct ranking impact that I've noticed and I use something totally different now, just to stand out a bit more in the SERPs, because as netmeg says Freud once said: Sometimes a separator is just a separator.

Rhetorically: Interesting how we got two totally different things out of the same video isn't it?

jimbeetle




msg:4564542
 7:31 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think when Matt says that he knows they handle dashes well he might be over thinking the question a bit because at one time there was a long-running debate between use of dashes and underscores. Otherwise, as netmeg says, sometimes a separator is just a separator.

Underscore usually seen as a join; dash as a separator.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564543
 7:36 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think when Matt says that he knows they handle dashes well he might be over thinking the question a bit because at one time there was a long-running debate between use of dashes and underscores.

Exactly, and with the scrutiny he gets I can understand why he would seem to not only "over-think" sometimes, but also not want to say anything "committal" when he's not 100% sure on it.

I thought his answer was "just being conservative" but basically said "should not a big deal" one way of the other; test to be sure.

mixtapekid457




msg:4564547
 8:12 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

So then the answer would be that the | is clearly for a user sake, rather than actually separating keywords and phrases in a Search Engine's eyes?

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564548
 8:19 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would say: (In the best MC noncommittal way I can find.)

The | is most likely treated as "just a separator", much like a - or – or any other separator, so it likely works just as well to separate keywords as any of the alternatives would (as far as search engines and title based rankings/scoring are concerned).

To determine the best one to use in a specific situation would need to be tested and based on click-thru rates, which may vary from niche-to-niche and could change as others switch the separation character they use in their titles, because one thing I've noticed from using titles that "stand out" is they generally get more clicks than ones that "blend in" when shown in the results, so "doing something different" than "everyone else" is within a resultset a page is returned for is actually what I've found to work the best for page titles and the specific separation character(s) used.

seoskunk




msg:4564552
 8:34 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

As Sigmund Freud once said, sometimes a separator is just a separator.


#*$! never knew that guy was an SEO as well

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564553
 8:40 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Oh, yeah, he was Way ahead of his time.

seoskunk




msg:4564554
 8:47 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Examining Sigmund Freud:

"Time spent with cats is never wasted."

"Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy."

"Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine."

and my fav:

"Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility."

Well he was cool but not an seo, unfortunately

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564556
 8:50 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sure he was, look at how topical what he has to say is and how many topics he covers... He could have a totally unique sites about cats, dreams, morals and freedom.

What an amazing guy!

lucy24




msg:4564563
 9:02 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

But, but, but :: splutter :: a pipe and a dash are utterly different things.

A dash is punctuation. A pipe is a separator. I use it when a page has parallel titles in two or more different languages.

seoskunk




msg:4564564
 9:06 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

A pipe is a separator in CSV files as well, thanks Lucy to getting us back on subject (although less interesting)

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564565
 9:12 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

But, but, but :: splutter :: a pipe and a dash are utterly different things.

Agreed in "normal English" and "strict usage", but in "search engine algorithmic understanding of intended meaning" (which must be flexible to attempt and accurately determine what those not well versed in the strict use of characters are trying to say) they really have to be treated as "not much different", because they are each often misused.

And, technically, the correct separator rather than - would be – or — not a -, since a - in the source code could be a hyphen or minus sign, but as far as algorithmic understanding of an intended page title (and likely onpage text) goes, they basically all have to be seen as separators without much impactful difference in actual rankings.

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 9:14 pm (utc) on Apr 13, 2013]

seoskunk




msg:4564566
 9:14 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seperates in code include : or | but never or rarely -.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564567
 9:20 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hmmm... I would say space-space (word - word) would have to be seen as an intended separator by search engines, which is the common usage I've seen in a title, and I'm not sure about : being a separator in strict usage interpretation, or even search engine interpretation.

It's actually usually a character indicating the information following it provides a list, clarification or explanation of the preceding, so it's strictly more of a character indicating a "definition of some type follows". The context of : usually relates to a "concept" or "idea" preceding and "more information", a "definition", or an "explanation" following. (In US English anyway. It's usage and interpretation actually varies from language to language.)

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564569
 9:33 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Oh! Just re-read, you said in code. Didn't get that the first time. (Note to Self: Reading is still fundamental!)

Definitely, absolutely agreed. But SEs are trying to figure out WTF people mean in English, not code, and I don't have proof, but I'm careful about using the : in titles.

Along the same lines, have you ever noticed the trailing : on the forum index page title here? (It's "Google SEO News and Discussion:") Brett Tabke wrote the software and has been coding what, 30 years or more now? Do you think he accidentally left the : on the page title or couldn't figure out how to remove it if he wanted to? Hmmm... Again.

lucy24




msg:4564580
 10:38 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

And, technically, the correct separator rather than - would be – or — not a -

:: shudder ::

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.

Hyphens are tricky things. For example, php/bb forums-- which I'm sure we have all met --treat the hyphen as a letter. At least bb2 did. Can't remember if it was changed for bb3. So if you were searching for the present post, the word "forums" at the beginning of this paragraph would not show up; you'd have to use a wild-card search "forums*".

have you ever noticed the trailing : on the forum index page title here?

Look at the html. There's a trailing space after the colon. To me this implies that the code wants to allow for the option of adding more stuff after the part that is output as the page title. Granted, a simple "if" should take care of that-- but it is a couple more lines for the server to plow through.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564585
 11:17 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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.

Oh, I can't imagine if people just used the characters they should when they should how much easier things would be for all of us, search engines and webmasters included. Unfortunately, people don't so search engines are left "guessing" and we're left with "finding what works best" sometimes (often?) over what's "right" or how things should be done in a technically correct manner.

Look at the html. There's a trailing space after the colon.

I have, and if you were going to "define" what "Google SEO News and Discussion" is, then leaving it "open" and allowing a search engine to "draw a conclusion" from what follows could be important.

I first noticed it years ago, and I really don't think it's by accident or mistake, much the same as I don't think Page 2 of the forum index having the title duplicated (without so much as a page number in it) is on accident or an oversight, or how "We also now have a Google AdSense, Google Toolbar, Froogle, and Google AdWords forums." is not linked to the specific forums on the /google/ forum pages.

There are a Ton of "little things" here that are a bit different than most would do, and I have a tough time believing they're all on accident or just to save a few lines of code, especially when I look and the source and see all the tables and fonts and colors things that could be done via CSS with way less HTML. It's actually a really interesting "study" in my opinion.

netmeg




msg:4564590
 11:48 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

But ALL of this is beside the point.

So then the answer would be that the | is clearly for a user sake, rather than actually separating keywords and phrases in a Search Engine's eyes?


My point is, if you're worrying about the SEO value of dash vs the pipe symbol, you're overthinking it.

lucy24




msg:4564648
 5:35 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

via CSS with way less HTML

But probably with more php-- or whatever is behind the scenes. At the time these Forums were coded, the "nth-child" CSS really didn't exist, so you can't fault them. I see the same thing in other venues (not here) where every single row of a table has an explicitly coded background-color. Not even a "class = 'light'" alternating with "class = 'dark'" which would seem to be a no-brainer.

I have, and if you were going to "define" what "Google SEO News and Discussion" is, then

Oh, come on. That is not the only thing a colon is used for. forum: subforum: thread for example.

:: wandering off in search of appropriate forum for closely related topic ::

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564651
 5:44 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

That is not the only thing a colon is used for.

forum: subforum: thread for example.

So, forum: is not further defined (repeatedly) by subforum and subforum: is not further defined (repeatedly) by thread? I think you just said exactly what I did with different words, otherwise I'm completely misunderstanding what you mean by forum: subforum: thread.

I would think forum: subforum: thread is likely a fairly good example of "phrase/thing", defined by "subphrase/subthing", and subphrase/subthing: defined by "specific phrase/specific thing".

Another way of looking at it would be:
(Did I use a : out of habit? lol)

Broad: More Specific: Very Specific

Very specific is a part of (defines) more specific, which is a part of (defines) broad.

Str82u




msg:4564711
 1:54 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

@TOI - I got what I got from the video because MC says "I think they're both viewed as separators, so I think either one should be fine. Dashes are a lot more common and, uh, so I think that we definitely handle dashes well, I would expect we handle pipes well, as well."

Reading into it: He used the word "think" and "expect" too much.

@lucy24 and everyone else, dash is just a word for the symbol, it's also a hyphen which IS a joiner and separator, technically. If G is going to call it a separator, it's a separator. If they start calling it "minus" we're all moving to Pipesville.

lucy24




msg:4564750
 7:43 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

dash is just a word for the symbol, it's also a hyphen

Er, no it's not. A hyphen is one thing. It's the - on your keyboard. The assorted dashes are typographic entities of greater length. The em dash, for example, is conventionally represented with a pair of hyphens on a typewriter, — in html. The en dash may be represented with a hyphen, though – is nicer.

The colon did not fare well in the 20th century. It began life as full-fledged sentence punctuation: less than a period, more than a semicolon. (The preceding sentence uses a colon in its modern form.)

In any case, pipes are iffy because the keyboard character | (shift-backslash) renders differently depending on the user's OS.

Convergence




msg:4564752
 8:06 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Moot point in our case as the Google is rewriting some of our page titles replacing our pipe separator that we use for "looks" with a dash...

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564758
 8:15 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Let's just make it simple and easy by recommending the use of   ( ) -- a white space character. ;)

Str82u




msg:4564763
 8:56 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm using the keyboard character "-" which is also a minus, no dash to encode a hyphen. I don't encode if validation doesn't require it.

lucy24




msg:4564788
 10:29 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't encode if validation doesn't require it.

I encode   because it is invisible to the naked eye. Unless, ugh, I put the text editor into Show Hidden Characters mode. And — --I rarely use – outside of ebooks-- because I work in a monospaced font so it would be indistinguishable from a hyphen. Oh, and nonstandard spaces, but again that's only in ebooks.

No reason to use an entity-- named, decimal or hexadecimal-- if you're using a hyphen to represent a hyphen. Or a minus sign. (The unicode consortium doesn't seem to be interested in creating distinctions that didn't formerly exist. In fact they sometimes try to collapse characters that are manifestly not the same ... but that's a different thread for a different forum.)

I kinda think g### uses pipes for purposes of its own-- its own SERP pipes, I mean, not the page's original pipes-- so that's another reason to steer clear. Besides, everywhere outside the <title> you probably mean {border-left} or {border-right} --plus a bit of padding-- instead ;)

This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46 ( [1] 2 > >
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