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How does Google handle special characters?

How does Google handle special characters? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

SPEAKER: We have a question from Stecki in Delingsdorf, Germany. Stecki asks, how does Google handle ligatures, soft-hyphens, interpuncts and hyphenation points? In general is it OK to be typographically correct? Or does this impose problems? Wow. OK. So the answer to the first question how does Google handle ligatures, soft-hypens and interpuncts, hyphenation points is I don’t know. The fact that I don’t know means you should probably be a little bit cautious when you’re approaching the subject. Is it OK be typographically correct or does this impose problems? Well, without telling tales let me just tell you that there’s at least one major search engine that I know of, and I’m not going to say which one it is, but I’m thinking it right now but I’m not going to say which one it is right now. And they did not handle non-ASCII characters correctly for about four or five years. So even simple stuff likes cedillas, acute grave, these sorts of things they didn’t index that correctly. So if you’re talking about the really exotic stuff, the advanced stuff, like ligatures, and hyphenation points and soft-hypens my guess is that especially a new start up, you know, a little tiny search engine is probably not going to have that as their highest priority. So you might want to think about if there’s a way where you can get that text without having to have super crazy advanced exotic stuff. That might make it a little bit easier for search engines to index your content and for it to show up higher in the search engines. Now, in general, a lot of times we can learn synonyms. So we can learn that this and this with the ligature is really the same word and not to worry about it. But just because Google handles it well doesn’t mean that every search engine will handle it well. And I wouldn’t claim that I know for a fact that we handle every single one of these cases correctly. So you’re the owner of your website, you’re always welcome to do whatever you want to do. But as far as search engine rankings I’d be aware that search engines might not always handle those cases correctly. So you might want to do a few experiments and check it out for yourself.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: