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Keywords with Special Characters

How do the Search Engines read these?

12:48 pm on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I am currently doing some SEO for a company in Sweden. Most of their keywords contain special characters such as ö, ø and å.

If the Search Engine was to crawl the HTML it would see those three characters as ö, ø and å respectively.

I know that the majortity of people using search in Sweden use the special characters when performing a search query, but i'm not sure how the special characters are processed by the search engines.

For Example, if a user was searching for Malmö, could I use either Malmö or Malmö for keywords, would it make a difference, I guess it would to some extent as Malmö in my HTML reads like Malmö. I guess I could go in the HTML and change Malmö to Malmö, but I hear this is not good practice.

If anyone has any input on this I would really appreaciate it.

Best Regards.

2:20 am on July 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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The search engines generally use transliteration, in that an accented character is seen as synonymous with the non-accented version. The way that you choose to handle the extended character in your markup is more to do with your declared charset - you can use ö or ö and the search engine will handle it just fine.

Here's a related (short) thread: Accessibility issues with foreign characters in folder names [webmasterworld.com].

My personal preference is to encode the site as UTF-8 and use the accented character rather than the entity reference, but if you stick to ISO-8859-1 and use entity references throughout you won't have any problems either, other than the slight increase in page weight.

I avoid using anything other than US-ASCII filenames (page names) as anything outside this range is URL-encoded for transmission - so use the non-accented character instead for page names.

9:59 am on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you Encyclo,

It seems the more and more I research this topic, it really doesn't seem to matter if I use the entity reference or not.

Of the top search results, it seems like an equal spread of sites which do, and sites which don't.

Thank you once again for your help.

Best Regards, Chris.

11:18 am on Aug 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I got only experience with German umlauts, google does not seem to make any difference whatsoever between "oe", "ö" or the actual symbol.

Don't know about other search engines, but with google, I stopped worrying.

1:12 pm on Aug 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I just had a look at what seems successful using


Viewing the source from the top 3 results for malmö (and looking for malmö or malmö or malmo). I found the following text occurences at the top of the page -

1) malmö malmö malmö malmö malmö
2) malmö malmö malmo malmö malmö malmö malmö
3) malmö malmö malmö malmö malmö

If the swedish do search for malmö it seems from that google favours its use on page but you might want to look a bit deeper than I did and of course consider other popular Swedish SE's.


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