/ May 18, 2011

Uppercase or lowercase anchors on the SEO seas

In SEO, the relationship between keywords and anchor text can be a beautiful and rewarding thing. A union to please all – the ‘Kate and Wills’ of search marketing, if you will! A coupling that not only generates click-throughs, but also links that can result in your rankings climbing the heady heights of our favourite search engines.

However, nothing is ever as straightforward as it sounds.

Us SEO bods spend hours researching keywords; finding the most relevant phrases, making the decision between long- and short-tail, analysing the competition to get an idea of where a client could truly rank and then spotting the opportunities to make short- and long-term gains. This is all before you even start to target and work on the little words worth their weight in gold. While doing this research, you are at the same time building your case as to why you believe your chosen phrases are the best to target for your client. Why ‘office chair’ over ‘office chairs’, for example.

Once the research has been completed, you have strong reasons as to why you’re suggesting these phrases. I must admit, I’ve always found that I’m more than happy to defend my selection due to the filtering process they go through. However one question that has always left room for doubt and confusion is the classic, “Should they be all lowercase or with capitalisation?”.

Hmm… Let me Google that for you!

This question arose due to the new Google Analytics profile and the breadth of information it provides. When looking at brand keywords that have brought in traffic, we noticed that suddenly keywords and their varying titlecases were being recorded.

???

New Analytics

Old Analytics

This isn’t how the old analytics worked and alarms bells started to go off. Has Google suddenly changed the rules? Will the keyphrase targeting become a wider, more varied challenge? Will we need to target every variation? Will Google provide us search volume information on the varying spellings?

As far as we’re aware, the answer is ‘no’. Researching the topic and obtaining opinion from other SEO agencies and search marketers, the consensus seems to be that capitalisation of keywords does not make any difference when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation.

As ever though, there is a caveat. Sometimes you may notice that SERPs (search engine results pages) are slightly different on lowercase and uppercase queries However, this seems to be the exception rather than the rule – although it’s worth being aware of this.

So the lesson learned is always check your keywords first to make sure case variations don’t produce different results. That, and regularly check into an SEO blog to keep up-to-date. One thing is for sure; Google will never just leave things be!

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