Using punctuation in Google search results is the reason for constant misunderstanding and rumors. Meaningful punctuation, like the “#” in C#, hyphens and apostrophes can have a direct effect on how Google serves results, and ranks your site.
I have summarized both the confirmed data and webmasters’ observations I’ve been coming across in the table below:
|Not ignored||“Meaningful” punctuation||C++ and C#|
|Boolean operators||exact match||“free online encyclopedia”|
|“exclude” the term (no space before the word it is related with) – don’t confuse with hyphen||dvd -player|
|“add” the term (no space)||advanced +search|
|Money signs||DVD player $400|
|Underscore symbol (treated as a letter)||quick_sort|
|Advanced operators / shortcuts||colon between two words (no spaces)||site:google.com|
|Partially ignored / undefined||Hyphen||The mixture of hyphenated, single-word and two-word spelling variations [air-condition] and [air condition]|
|Apostrophe||matts and matt’s and matts’|
|Ignored||All the rest||Compare: apple, windows and apple windows and apple: windows and apple=windows|
- How Punctuation in Keywords Affects Google Results;
- Google and Yahoo shortcuts Cheat Sheet;
- How to Use Boolean Search Operators : SEO Application;
- Wildcard Search : When and How To Use It.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our daily newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!