RE Blogging Tip – Don’t Use Double Quotes in Blog Post Titles

Quote

What did he say? I don't know I can't find it

Rendering a ” is a chore for a browser. Putting them in a blog title can make it very difficult to find your content in a search.

Here’s why.

This simple title: “Happenings on Main Street” and “Northport ArtWalk

Turns into this in your browser

http://www.liagent.com/%E2%80%9Chappenings-on-main-street%E2%80%9D-and-%E2%80%9Cnorthport-artwalk%E2%80%9D/

If any is searching for Happiness on Main Street, they won’t really find it because of the double quotes, and they can’t put the double quotes in the search window because a double quote at the beginning and end tells the search engine to only return these exact words in this order.

The best practice is to use a different title and move your quote to an h3 tag at the beginning of your post.


Title: Northport Happenings on Main Street 2011

This is a good title, it provides good keyword structure for search engines.  Then follow that with the h3 tag

“Happenings on Main Street” and “Northport ArtWalk”

Now the quotes are there for emphasis, but you don’t have a permalink that will make it hard to find in searches.

Bottom line:  Quotes are great, BUT not in Post Titles.

Comments

  1. I appreciate the “heads up”! That is a blogging tip I have not come across as I am early in my blogging efforts.

  2. I have made that mistake by put quotes in the title. I have to agree that it is a completely bad idea. Thanks for reminding us all not to do it! I love your site!

  3. You know I’ve never thought about this before. Not sure if I’ve ever done it but I know now I never will again.

    What about a dash in the post title? I’ve added a dash here and there.

  4. Steve,

    This post has a dash in the title. Check out the permalink to see how it is handled. Yes dashes are fine.

    Dave

  5. Wow… never knew this. I don’t think I’ve done it before either, but now I know not to. Thanks for the tip. I can see how that would mess the search engines up.

  6. I had no idea so I am glad I just happened to come across this post. Making a note to never use quotes! Interesting enough I read this on a real estate blog and not an SEO blog. thanks!

  7. I’ve been at this a while now and this is the first time I’ve heard of this. Not sure I’ve ever used the double quotes around a title, but I will certainly be sure not to do that going forward. Great tip! Thanks much.

  8. Dang am I glad I found this blog. I put quotes in Titles all the time! Now I’ve got a lot of editing to do! I’m going to share this my fellow eXp Agents!

  9. Great tip, Dave – and one I’ve never come across until now. Is it also a no-no to use single quote marks (eg: ‘single quote marks’)?

    I do a lot of movie reviews and always put single quote marks around the title of the movie I’m reviewing, which I use as part of my blog post title. Would this be having a negative impact on my posts being picked up by search engines (nb: I do use the All-In-One SEO plugin)?

    Also, I’ve just noticed the Search function on my blog (using Twenty Eleven theme) is not working well for my movie reviews (but is fine for any other post searches). Put any movie name into the Search box and ALL my movie reviews come up, in order of most recent to oldest. Do you think the presence of single quotes in the titles of my movie review posts could be the problem?

    Cheers
    rolanstein

  10. Rolanstein,

    The reason you get all your movie reviews is because you have a link to all of your previous movie reviews in your other posts. If you search the beaver you only get on post, if you search the tree of life you get two posts etc. It is the inclusion of the previous reviews that is causing them to all come up in a search, not the single quotes.

    Here is your tree of life permalink http://theboomtownrap.perthpunk.com/wordpress/2427/%E2%80%98the-tree-of-life%E2%80%99-%E2%80%93-movie-review/ Yeah, still kinda messed up.

    Dave

  11. Thanks for your prompt response, Dave. So, I should stop linking to my previous reviews at the end of each review? Is there any way around this that you know of?

    May I ask, also, how you found that permalink for The Tree Of Life? I thought the permalink would be the same as the URL for the post…?

    Finally, could you pls elaborate on what you mean when you say the permalink is messed up, and is there anything I can do about that?

    I changed from the default WP permalink setting to a custom one a few days ago and since then my traffic has plummeted drastically. I’m afraid I may have seriously impeded my blog in some way.

  12. Rolanstein,

    Linking to your previous post is more important than search results. Keep it the way it is.

    The permalink is the url for the post. If you are using FF 5 it translates the url, if you are using IE it displays what I pasted in my comment. That’s what I meant by messed up. nothing you can do about it other than not use quotes in your permalinks. You can edit the permalink in the editor once you have published the post to remove the quotes.

    When you change the permalink, you change the address of the post. The reason your traffic has fallen off is the search engines have the old address indexed and you changed the address without giving them a change of address card (meaning a 301 redirect to the new address) In a few weeks the addresses will reset as the site is crawled. You can help till then by installing the redirect plugin, or you can wait it out.

    Dave

  13. Aha – IE! I’m using FF, so that explains that.

    Dave, you’re obviously very knowledgeable, so if you don’t mind a few more questions.

    Your position and the reasoning behind it is clear re double quote marks, but generally speaking, do you think it’s also best not to use single quote marks in blog post titles?

    Re your comment: You can edit the permalink in the editor once you have published the post to remove the quotes. Where in the editor can you do this type of edit? I assume you’re referring to post slugs, but in the new Twenty Eleven theme, they seem to have disappeared from the editing area…?

    I have installed the Redirect plugin, and although I think I basically understand how it works, my big problem is working out what all the 404 errors are referring to. I’ve spent hours clicking on them and searching through possible posts, and sometimes I fluke finding a link that’s no longer working, but most of the time I end up not having a clue about the source or identity of the 404 errors. Unless you know what to redirect to what, the Redirect plugin is not much use! Do you have any tips or links to a very clear explanation of these 404 errors, pls?

    Appreciate your help and advice.

    Cheers
    R

  14. rolanstein,

    If you aren’t going to edit the permalink it is probably better not to use quotes of any kind in Titles.

    WP in all their wisdom decided the permalinks (slug) edit was too confusing on screen so they removed it. But all you have to do is click on screen options in the upper right hand corner of the edit window and check the box to show the permalink/slug.

    If you want the quote for effect use it in the title but I would personally take it out of the permalink. Here’s the issue, you have to publish the post before it stops changing the permalink every time you change the title. That’s why I said publish then edit the permalink.

    I’ve just been checking a bunch of your indexed permalinks and they all seem to be redirecting just fine. So either you figured out how to configure it, or it is already being redirected, either way it is working and you will be re-indexed under the new structure soon.

    Dave

  15. Thanks a lot for looking into the redirection thingo, Dave! Good to know it’s all working, but I have to say it’s in spite of, not because of, anything I’ve done.

    Ta also for the advice on restoring the slug field to the visible edit section. I notice that the title of my latest review has already been changed to the-beaver-movie. I have the All-In-One SEO plugin enabled, so I guess it’s getting on with things automatically without waiting for input from me (good move!).

    I’ve still got a s*itload of internal 404 errors, and these are the ones I can’t identify. Maybe the easiest way to get around this is to simply go through every bloody post in order from first to last and check for crossed-out links, then delete or fix them manually as I come to them.

    Look, thanks a heap for your prompt and excellent feedback. You’re a shining light in a dark confusing time for me!

    Cheers!
    R

  16. I am little late to the party but I was just wondering if double quotes in the title can be bad for SEO, so this article is exactly what I was looking for.

    Thank you.