How Do Symbols Affect SEO?
Search engine optimization takes into account many facets of a webpage. Whenever a page is indexed, everything from the url to the title, the meta tag to the description, the entire textual content including the keywords and the images, videos too if available, are taken into consideration. All these elements play a role but the influences are not identical. Some aspects matter more than others. This brings forth a pertinent question of how do symbols affect SEO.
Symbols are often unavoidable. The two most commonly used symbols are registered and trademark. The former is denoted by an r in a circle and the latter is depicted by tm, both being placed adjacent to a brand name or patented product. These symptoms are significant as they segregate other products from the branded and registered ones. Similar names, whether of products or businesses, are not to be regarded as brands. But do these symbols mean anything for Google, its algorithm and hence the consequential search engine result pages? Do symbols affect SEO in any positive or negative way?
Many experts have commented on this over the years. There is a straight answer from John Mueller too. Google spokesman John Mueller was hosting a webmaster hangout a while back when the question came up. The question specifically pertained to registered and trademark symbols. The questioner wondered if Google ignored these symbols just as it does with punctuation. Mueller clearly stated that Google does not treat such symbols in any special way. They are neither ignored nor considered. It is just that the search engine optimization algorithm does not consider it to be a criterion to rank any page higher than others. Hence, symbols such as these have no bearing on SEO.
The official response is in sync with what experts have been saying for years. Symbols are not used by people while searching for information online, say through Google. Using these symbols is not going to get anyone some special content or information that is specifically utilitarian given the use of those symbols. People use normal texts or words and phrases to search for information. Since the symbols do not matter to people who are initiating the searches, Google does not think they are important enough for their algorithm to be tweaked. Any keyword with or without the registered and trademark symbols will come up with the same search results. The scenario is slightly different for paid search results or sponsored posts.