More threads by Conor Treacy

Feb 25, 2014
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So I had a question posed to me regarding special characters, and more specifically regarding words like d?cor and ?tag?res.

While the URL would definitely be "bookcases-etageres", in the Title and Description, does anyone have ideas about the use of "?tag?res" in the meta information?

The text on the page will likely contain "?tag?res", but do we need to sprinkle in "etageres" also (without the special characters)?

Google has been great over the years knowing that "vehicle" is the same as "auto", but does it make the same correlation when it comes to special characters in words?

A Google search shows the following results:
?tag?res = 490,000 results
Etageres = 435,000 results

Many of the same Top 30 websites show in both variations (some different placements).

Anyone want to weigh in on a direction?
I'd be interested if anyone with international experience actually knew the direct answer to this, but I at least know that Google announced way back in 2009 that meta descriptions weren't a ranking factor, though they do (potentially) pull from the meta description when putting together the SERP results for your page. In other words, use the special characters... the meta description is purely there to help with CTR and user experience on their way to your site.

As far as the title tag goes... my personal guess is that Google knows the difference, though since we're still in the early days of semantic search, I could easily be wrong on that. Since you're going to be using the special character versions of the word everywhere throughout the site though, it seems to me you'd just be shooting yourself in the foot and damaging your chances to rank well for the special character of the word by using that everywhere else and using a different version in your title tag. May as well go in whole hog with the version you're already using everywhere else and make sure you're at least showing up well for that variation. Someone with international SEO experience would definitely know more than I do about this topic though.
Thanks James, that's pretty much where I am too. I believe Google is smart enough, but I can't find anything to back it up :)

It's kind of like resume. We all know the correct version is r?sum? or resum?, but when searching in Google, generally people would type it without any special characters. When you search for "resume" in Google, Wikipedia takes the top spot and there 3 others that use it with the special character. When I look at Purdue's page, they spell it without the special characters only TWICE on the entire page where it's spelled r?sum? 40 other times :) A Control-F (search for text) and entering "resume", it highlights both spelling versions.
I feel like Google Trends is useful in at least guiding you to a conclusion here:

<script type="text/javascript" src="//,+Decor&cmpt=q&tz=Etc/GMT%2B5&tz=Etc/GMT%2B5&content=1&cid=TIMESERIES_GRAPH_0&export=5&w=500&h=330"></script>

Google likely knows they mean the same thing, but who cares when people are searching a particular way. ?\_(ツ)_/?
I'm with you on this - most of the time. This trend is likely because people don't have the high ascii characters on their keyboards in the US. But for a professional in the home improvement sector, being able to use d?cor from a spelling or grammar view, may have a higher impact on the people reading their site.
For some reason I figured you were asking about the spanish speaking market. That'll change my answer then. I hear that branding is a huge consideration, especially if you're going after a more educated, affluent market, but for searchers in the English speaking world I'd be surprised if it didn't hurt your exposure to use d?cor when all your users are actually looking for decor.

Personally, if it was me, I'd set aside some money for an adwords split test. If d?cor had no statistically significant impact on conversion, then I'd say the heck with it and target what people are looking for and not look back.
But for a professional in the home improvement sector, being able to use d?cor from a spelling or grammar view, may have a higher impact on the people reading their site.

Maaaaaaaaaaaaybe they convert better, but I wouldn't put any money on it. When I search 'home decor' and 'home d?cor' I get the same exact results. ?\_(ツ)_/?

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