Google On Accented Characters – Do You Use Both Accented & Not Accented Versions

Google’s John Mueller was asked in the video hangout this past Friday if how to handle brand or product names with accented characters, like maybe Škoda Auto via Skoda Auto. Do you use the word spelled Škoda with the accent in the name or Skoda without it? The answer is probably include both variations in your content.

This came up at the 33:25 mark into the video where the question was “Do accented characters in a brand name make a difference when it comes to ranking SEO? I’ve tested and the results are slightly different. Is it a matter of matching or is it more the typical behavior of the searchers that kind of comes into play there?”

The answer was a big depends but it sounds like it would be wise to include both variations within the content on the page. John said “from a search point of view we would generally recommend focusing on the correct version” but “if the correct version is not really the commonly used version then it’s not problematic to also include the commonly used version as well,” he said.

Here is the full video embed at the start time so you can watch it:

Here is the transcript if you want to read it:

An interesting question about accented characters. Do accented characters in a brand name make a difference when it comes to ranking SEO? I’ve tested and the results are slightly different. Is it a matter of matching or is it more the typical behavior of the searchers that kind of comes into play there?

I think it’s a matter of both. So on the one hand we do match words as much as possible so if someone searches for a spelling or a kind of a way of writing one word and we find that on the web then that’s easy for us to match that’s easy for every search engine to match. On the other hand we also try to recognize essentially alternate spellings, alternate ways of writing words and treat them as synonyms as much as possible. It’s not that we have kind of this binary notion of it’s a synonym or not but rather that we say it’s like it’s pretty close or it’s a kind of a rough guess in that direction. And based on this automatic synonym detection systems essentially that we have we generally also pick up on things like accented characters or kind of different ways of writing specific names.

The other thing that also falls into that is essentially our spelling correction system where we try to recognize typos and the spellings and also adjust that and in practice all of this comes together and essentially means that for large part these kinds of search results will be very similar but they won’t necessarily be exactly the same so it’s kind of matching what you have there.

I guess the overarching question is like which of these words should we optimize for and from from my point of view or from a search point of view we would generally recommend focusing on the correct version of the word because that’s kind of the the long term version. And the correct version but if the correct version is not really the commonly used version then it’s not problematic to also include the commonly used version as well.

So with regards to accents or no accents if typing the accent is something that like fewer people do over time then maybe including the word without the accent also makes sense. But I would not shift to the kind of the popular version of the word unless you really want to rebrand your site and your business as well because essentially what what we try to do with especially when you’re talking about brand names, product names things like that, we want to be able to recognize what is actually the official page for this product and if you rename your product even by changing things like the accented characters or not then that’s something that our systems first have to figure out and understand better. Whereas if you just include the alternate version of that name in in your information for the website then it’s a lot easier for us to say, well these kind of belong together and it’s a confirmation for us that actually it is more like a synonym or an alternate way of writing that word.

Forum discussion at YouTube Community.

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