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Who Says Pipes are Bad in a Title?

  1. Solaras profile image96
    Solarasposted 2 months ago

    I had heard pipes - this thing - | - are bad in a title. So much so that when editing an old hub, I could not save it unless I removed the pipe from the original title.

    Noticing that an old title on my blog had a pipe it it, but it was still getting good viewership, I did a little experiment with pipes over there last October. In a series of 6 articles, I put pipes into 2 of the titles in that series. Those two articles are now number 3-5 best performing articles out of 55.

    In fact, when I just performed 3 random searches for dog brushes/hardwood floor brushes etc... several articles on page 1 came up with pipes in their titles, in each search.

    So I am curious, from where does this wisdom regarding pipes emanate? How many other things are we blindly following because someone suggested something and it was taking as gospel?

    1. NateB11 profile image93
      NateB11posted 2 months agoin reply to this

      I've experienced the same thing, and I've never agreed with this notion that  you shouldn't use pipes. There is good evidence that it is actually an advantage to use pipes. This is why I take most of the advice out there, especially on these forums, with a grain of salt.

      1. Solaras profile image96
        Solarasposted 2 months agoin reply to this

        Seems to me there was a time when pipes were recommended, otherwise, I 'd have never looked for them on my keyboard.  Marissa is correct; they are a mortal sin, but I can't see why.

        1. NateB11 profile image93
          NateB11posted 2 months agoin reply to this

          Some of the smartest writers here were thinking maybe pipes were a good idea back here https://hubpages.com/community/forum/12 … -hub-title

          One of the links on that threads no longer goes to the original article, but the article essentially talked about how Google judges a title according the first word as strongest, but when using pipes they essentially start all over and the new section starts just as strong. Which I don't see as wrong as long as both sections are relevant.

          1. Solaras profile image96
            Solarasposted 2 months agoin reply to this

            Hi Nate:  I remember that discussion from so long ago!  That got me thinking about titles again, and I updated a couple of older hub titles that had fallen out of favor.

            I came across this article, where he still recommends the use of pipes.  I don't know what his street cred is, but he did come up on page 1.

            http://www.code7.co.uk/blog/how-to-writ … scriptions

            1. NateB11 profile image93
              NateB11posted 2 months agoin reply to this

              Yeah, that thread was a bit of an eye opener for me, as far as how Google reads titles and how to structure a title.

              The advice overall in that article is sound. I notice he also mentioned the stronger keyword being the first one in the title. He also "brands" in the way lobobrandon has mentioned in this thread. The titles he uses as good examples might be frowned upon, I'm not sure. They bear a resemblance to lobobrandon's example of a title that would get penalized. But I'm just saying I'm not sure.

              1. Solaras profile image96
                Solarasposted 2 months agoin reply to this

                Also it was interesting that Google is rearranging titles, to put the brand first.  He said it does not affect ranking, but Google is putting some kind of emphasis on brands for the buyer/searcher.  Interesting. 

                Would that put new websites at a disadvantage, if they don't have a Google approved brand?

                1. lobobrandon profile image88
                  lobobrandonposted 2 months agoin reply to this

                  Your domain name is your brand. It's not Google approved. Google puts it out there and the person searching decides if they think a website sounds legit or not.

              2. lobobrandon profile image88
                lobobrandonposted 2 months agoin reply to this

                From experience, I would say the first two of these examples on that website are bad and the second two are fine

                Chocolate Gifts | Artisan Truffles | Gourmet Chocolate
                Football stats | Team stats | Player stats | Soccer stats
                Five ways to pay less tax | Tips on debt and credit
                Upright | Handheld | Wet & Dry Vacuum Cleaners

                Because the second two are not repeating stuff. I would personally only go for the third option if I were to do something like this, but definitely NOT the second one. Football stats, soccer stats is the same thing. I'm sure it's not American football and European football (soccer) that are both presented on that page. He's keyword stuffing putting in synonyms in the title, Google is smart enough to know these are synonyms and you'd show up without this, this may, in fact, penalize you a bit.

                1. NateB11 profile image93
                  NateB11posted 2 months agoin reply to this

                  That's interesting. It seems to me using synonyms in the body of an article is wise, because of Semantic Search but it takes on keyword stuffing if all put into a title. Makes sense.

                  1. lobobrandon profile image88
                    lobobrandonposted 2 months agoin reply to this

                    Exactly. Other than a factor for ranking. I would personally not be inclined to click a title like that in search. I would rather click on the next one which reads coherently and makes sense to me.

      2. Marisa Wright profile image99
        Marisa Wrightposted 2 months agoin reply to this

        I remember them being the recommended option at one time, with lots of SEO gurus advising us to use them.
        https://moz.com/community/q/title-tag-u … e-or-colon


        At some point, I remember Paul (or somebody) saying that Google didn't like pipes any more - perhaps they had been overused.

  2. janshares profile image95
    jansharesposted 2 months ago

    That's interesting, Solaras. I remember that happening maybe a year and a half, 2 years ago. I took all my pipes out but can't recall the reason. Can't find a forum either.

    1. Rochelle Frank profile image94
      Rochelle Frankposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      I remember once that it was said we could not use dashes in titles (which I had done a few times but that pipes were OK. I went through and substituted pipes for dashes-- and at that time I had never heard of pipes.
      Then recently while editing, as happened to Solaras, I needed to delete the pipes to publish.

  3. Marisa Wright profile image99
    Marisa Wrightposted 2 months ago

    This always happens.    Something starts out as a guideline ("we've observed that titles without pipes do better") and eventually gets exaggerated until it's a mortal sin.

    It's exactly the same as Amazon capsules.   The advice that they must be relevant to the context and include some info about the product has morphed into, "the product must be directly related to the main subject and you must have personal experience of it".

    Pipes are slightly frowned on by Google.   If an article is otherwise good enough, then having pipes in the title isn't going to stop it ranking.

    1. agvulpes profile image87
      agvulpesposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      Unfortunately whether you like them or not , you can't save the Hub if you have a Pipe in the title!   I would prefer to have the option to use or not use smile

    2. Venkatachari M profile image41
      Venkatachari Mposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      True, here on HP, they are not allowed anymore. I had to remove them in some of my articles while editing recently, as HP did not feature after the editing. In one case, the HP team themselves cropped it and sent me the message about tweaking it.

  4. Rochelle Frank profile image94
    Rochelle Frankposted 2 months ago

    That's true. I couldn't publish until I removed a pipe.
    Speaking of that, if I wrote a hub about plumbing, could I use pipes? :-)

  5. Kenna McHugh profile image88
    Kenna McHughposted 2 months ago

    LOL! You'll need pipes but water isn't necessary.

  6. lobobrandon profile image88
    lobobrandonposted 2 months ago

    This is the problem when people follow advice blindly. It is important to read the entire article of the guy who points such stuff out. It is possible that the Google algorithm changes and what it may like tomorrow is what it hates today. But that is not the case with pipes.

    What was frowned upon was the fact that people were separating keywords in their titles using pipes such as: Dog care tips | Puppy care | Looking after a dog

    This title above ^ is still going to get you penalized.

    The reason HP does not allow pipes is because they have by default the niche site name following your title. For instance my hub: Watering Tomatoes: When & How - 5 Pro Tips | Dengarden

    It would look bad on search if it were: Watering Tomatoes: When & How | 5 Pro Tips | Dengarden

    And some people here would use pipes to put in keywords. Like the bad dog example above. HP is right in not allowing pipes because, they by default use one in every title. Go ahead and use them on your blog where you see fit, I use them on my website in the same way HP uses them. Branding is important to me, that's why I use my brand name at the end of each title. If branding is not important you don't need to mention the site name. Take away Dengarden from the title and you could use one more pipe wiithout it looking spammy.

    1. agvulpes profile image87
      agvulpesposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      Lobrandon what I have found is that if I have a pipe in a title and do an edit on the Hub regardless of whether we want one or not the Hub tool will not allow us to 'Done Editing' I am getting this warning:
      Please fix these errors before continuing:
          Title may not contain the pipe character.

      1. lobobrandon profile image88
        lobobrandonposted 2 months agoin reply to this

        This is what I just said. It's logical that HP does not allow you to do this.

    2. Solaras profile image96
      Solarasposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      Thanks Brandon. That makes perfect sense.

    3. janshares profile image95
      jansharesposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the explanation, Brandon.

    4. incomeguru profile image98
      incomeguruposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      @brandon, thank you for taking time to explain everything that we need to know about why the use of pipes was discouraged. It shows that you're very knowledgeable and well-informed when it comes to SEO.

  7. lobobrandon profile image88
    lobobrandonposted 2 months ago

    Glad to help Solaras and Janshares.

 
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