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How are special characters treated?

What the $%#@?



12:36 am on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Perhaps it is a very simple question and the answer lies somewhere, but I wanted to make sure certain things. If I get the answers here or get directed to some other place, it would be nice.

I have a keyword1.
Will Google treat the following titles same from the point of optimization?

1. keyword1
2. keyword1!
3. keyword1?
4. keyword1 #$%@
5. keyword1 %#$& *#@
7. $#%^ keyword1 ^%$#@&*

Same with h1 tag.
My guess is yes - all will be treated as one word. That is, keeping everything else, Google should rank all these choices same. Is this a correct guess?


12:44 am on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I use @ in many of my titles and have never had a problem. I'm not sure how to quantify it any further.

I have done a test with "!" and it seemed to have no effect. I changed a new page title from

"Widgets, Doodads, and Amazing Zigzags!"


"Widgets, Doodads, and Amazing Zigzags"

and back to

"Widgets, Doodads, and Amazing Zigzags!"

And nothing about the ranking changed. This is in a fairly competitive retail arena. I was worried about getting a small hype penalty but nothing happened.


12:49 am on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Thank you for your quick response based on your experience. I think I will try out one of those sp char alternatives. (Trying to save words without losing the meaning.)


1:44 am on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I see you're trying to get every last bit of relevancy out of your title, eh? I can't say for sure whether or not those characters will count towards the title word count.

I can say that the LOCATION of your keywords in the title still has an effect in Google. I have a PR 7 info site that has had #1 for it's two word phrase (Widget Cleaning) for years. The title has always been

"Widget Cleaning, Widget Cleaners - blah blah @ Widgeter.com"

Recently I changed it to

"Widget Cleaners, Widget Cleaning - blah blah @ Widgeter.com"

keeping the number of keywords the same, just changing the order trying to nail the cleaners phrase instead of cleaning.

Just moving "Cleaning" two word slots over moved me from #1 to #2 for "Widget Cleaning" -- I lost the #1 slot I had for many years from a simple title change. The page that took the slot has always been #2 with their domain of "widget-cleaning.com". My domain has no keywords in it.

Not that I care since I still have #2 and #3 and I moved up for Cleaners, but it was an interesting observation made over the course of a few days before Esmerelda started -- with no other changes to the page.


2:01 am on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Use the advanced search features at your favorite SE. For instance, in Google, enter...

allintitle: "@"

You'll notice that it returns 0 results.


4:22 am on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Thank you again. Actually the things you described I have experienced too. I had a page titled kw1 kw2 kw3 kw4 and while it came #1 for kw1 kw2 kw3 kw4 searches, it fell to #3 for kw2 kw3 kw4 kw1 searches. Actually makes sense.


I think my page will be title
keyword1! #@$%^&(# ************************************

it surely will stand out provided I make it to a decent page. :)


4:38 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

See also Non Alphanumeric Characters and Google [webmasterworld.com] to see how Google sometimes tread '$', '#', '*', '-' and ',' in a special way.

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