Why Hyphens are better than Pipes for SEO

by on 09/19/2009 in SEO Tips

I came across an interesting video by Matt Cutts head of Google’s webspam team. I was already aware that hyphens are better than using pipes for blog titles.

What’s a pipe? It is the character or key below the backspace on a standard keyboard. To use a pipe, just hold down your shift key and (|).

The problem with using pipes in the middle of a group of words when someone searches for those words in the exact phrase, the version with pipes will not show up in (SERP) Search Engine Results Page, but the version with hyphens will.

SERP: A search engine results page (SERP), is the listing of web pages returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query.

Matt Cutts explains more in this video

Here are two examples of a blog title using a pipe and hyphen.

Pipe: SEO Tips | Better Rank
Hyphen: SEO Tips-Better Rank

Now pipe up and start using hyphens in your blog titles!

25 Responses to “Why Hyphens are better than Pipes for SEO”

  1. christie

    Sep 19th, 2009

    Wow, I had no idea! I think I’d better check out my blogs! Thanks so much Frank!
    .-= christie´s last blog ..Flatland – colorful math fun for all ages =-.

    • Frank J

      Sep 20th, 2009

      Christie,

      I am glad I could help. Now get off the pipe and get with hyphens. :)

  2. I’ve never used a pipe, but I’m often unsure if it matters if I use a hyphen or a colon. Such as SEO Tips: Better Rank. Do you know how google treats that?
    .-= Jennifer/Connect with your Teens´s last blog ..Jillian Michaels New Fitness Ultimatum 2010 Workouts for Nintendo Wii and DS =-.

    • Frank J

      Sep 20th, 2009

      Jennifer,

      Try to use hyphens when ever possible. It will improve search when it comes to exact phrases.

  3. A. Zuck

    Sep 19th, 2009

    I have to admit you caught me with my metaphorical pants down on this one. I think bro’s site uses pipes and it is problem which I now know needs to be rectified IMMMEDIATELY!

    Thanks for the hepful tip. Pipes kind of look good, but if they effect your SEO that is a patently stupid trade off.
    .-= A. Zuck´s last blog ..Jason, Where Have You Been? =-.

    • Frank J

      Sep 20th, 2009

      Hyphens are the way to go for blog titles. It will make a difference when it come to search.

  4. I use Hyphens in titles but try to avoid Apostrophes. Could you comment on the use of Apostrophes and SEO?
    .-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..The Power of Silence =-.

    • Frank J

      Sep 20th, 2009

      Jonathan,

      Try to use hyphens when ever possible.

  5. zumbon

    Sep 19th, 2009

    I never use pipes

  6. Kurt Avish

    Sep 20th, 2009

    Oh :S I always thought the | was better than the –

    Anyway thanks for this precision. I’ll rather use the – more now.
    .-= Kurt Avish´s last blog ..Need For Speed Shift Demo Download =-.

    • Frank J

      Sep 20th, 2009

      Kurt,

      Glad I could shed some light on the subject.

  7. Confused

    Sep 21st, 2009

    I’m not sure I totally agree with you on this one. Having watched the video, it didn’t seem that Matt Cutts definitively said hyphens are better than pipes. He said he thinks Google handles both okay and that it wouldn’t really make a difference.

    Have you done testing to back up your theory that hyphens are superior?
    .-= Confused´s last blog ..2009’s Hottest Product! SinkPositive =-.

    • Frank J

      Sep 21st, 2009

      Confused,

      I have learned that hyphens work best with specific keyword phrases. I have added what I use based on the RESULTS that I check often.

  8. Andy Bailey

    Sep 21st, 2009

    I’m really happy when I find out things that are good for SEO and such when I discover that I have already been doing them! Hyphens act like spaces in my filenames so it was natural to use them in my post titles and other “google-able” text
    .-= Andy Bailey´s last blog ..Worldwide CommentLuv search engine trawling over 150,000 CommentLuv Enabled Sites =-.

    • Frank J

      Sep 21st, 2009

      Andy,

      The only way to learn is to read what your interested in and to make sure the source is a subject expert. I am not an expert, but I work with and know many.

  9. HART (1-800-HART)

    Sep 21st, 2009

    .. but, you don’t use hyphens … you use the pipe in your title header tags~! :D
    .-= HART (1-800-HART)´s last blog ..Blending Households with Pets =-.

    • Frank J

      Sep 21st, 2009

      Shhh Hart! It might be a little secret. :)

  10. teasastips

    Sep 24th, 2009

    I had no idea that something so small could make such a big difference. Thanks again Frank. Hey if you can, I’m walking again for JDRF this year, would you like to donate?
    .-= teasastips´s last blog ..Following Up With Prospective Affiliates You Would Sponsor =-.

    • Frank J

      Sep 24th, 2009

      Teasa,

      I would love to. Please send me an email. Check out the Sharks page for my email.

  11. oes tsetnoc

    Sep 28th, 2009

    i never used a piped but because matt cutts said it is good.
    .-= oes tsetnoc´s last blog ..Checking oes tsetnoc SEO progress =-.

    • Frank J

      Sep 29th, 2009

      Matt explains either or is ok, but I think naturally a hyphen is used more often and looks more natural.

  12. Red27

    Oct 10th, 2009

    This is not charity, this is justice. ,

    • Frank J

      Oct 10th, 2009

      Red,

      What do you mean by justice?