Capitalization “Rules” in SEO: Uppercase vs. Lowercase — What’s the Bottom Line?
You’re doing your best to optimize your site’s SEO but your stats keep falling short of where you’d like them to be. You’re beginning to wonder if capitalization could have anything to do with it.
Are SEO keywords case-sensitive? Does capitalization matter in Google keywords? We have those answers and a few more for you.
If you are looking for practical tips to help you level up your SEO game, keep scrolling.
Does Capitalization Matter in SEO?
Overall, capitalization doesn’t matter in SEO as much as you might think. There are a few instances where proper capitalization may affect performance and rankings — and we’ll discuss them — but in most cases, there are much bigger issues to worry about.
Search Engine Result Page (SERP) Rankings
When it comes to SERP rankings, capitalization doesn’t matter. Google will return the same results for a search, whether you capitalize or not.
Does Capitalization Matter for Keywords?
Again, no matter your capitalization, Google will give the same number of results in the same rankings. When using keywords, your safest option is to stick with general best practices. Unless your branding dictates otherwise, follow basic grammar rules and capitalize things such as proper nouns and the first word in a sentence.
For example, searching “seo” versus “SEO” returns the same number of results in the same ranking. The only variation is in the targeted ads which have nothing to do with SEO in the first place.
Personalized Search Results
The one area you might find that capitalization matters with keywords is personalized search results.
Google is very good at building profiles of its users. As it gathers information about the person searching, it will tailor the results to be more individualized to that person.
For instance, if you search for “Home” you may get results for home furnishing stores, contractors, and magazines. But a movie enthusiast — or mom of preschoolers — might get a result for the 2015 animated comedy film “Home.” Because it is capitalized and because the user has a history of searching for movies, Google may show them a movie called Home instead of other results.
However, while capitalization in this scenario may affect how a few people get search results, it does not affect a site’s overall ranking.
Bottom line: are SEO keywords case sensitive? No. Capitalization may matter in some isolated, specific instances but overall, in SEO, uppercase vs. lowercase doesn’t matter.
However, there are some other major things to keep in mind when writing SEO-specific content.
On-page SEO encompasses multiple things such as:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags
On-page SEO capitalization won’t affect your SEO performance or ranking but it might still affect your readership and interactions. No matter how valuable your content might be, if it is difficult to read or feels ‘spammy’ you are going to have a hard time getting people to consume it.
For instance, if your brand primarily utilizes lowercase letters, you may find that readers view all-lowercase title tags as unprofessional.
But, if you use ALL CAPS for your title tags, your readers might feel as if you are SCREAMING AT THEM, which is also not a great option.
Your primary focus should be on creating content that readers enjoy and find valuable. Your second focus should be making sure it fits your brand. Your on-page SEO should also follow this guideline.
If capitalization is important to your brand, don’t worry. We’ll talk about using it to your advantage in a minute.
In SEO, there are many different important factors such as how many keywords you use and how you format your article.
But one of the most important factors is overall content creation.
When creating content, there are two main things you should keep in mind:
- Your audience; and
- Your brand
Considering your audience is vital if you want to create content that serves your readers and boosts your brand. When you create a piece, write from the perspective of your reader.
Will what you wrote help them?
How will they interpret your capitalization choices?
Thinking through your target audience will help you know how to use capitalization.
If your brand’s target audience is young hipsters who value niche, unique content, using all lowercase might fit better.
If you are writing for education professionals or high-end readers, sticking with traditional capitalization rules may be your best bet.
If your audience consists of bold, daring adrenalin junkies, using all caps might be a good way to connect.
It is all about knowing your audience.
For instance, you might think that using all capital letters is helping you get your point across but your reader may feel that they are being screamed at. Which would you rather read?
- IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU CAPITALIZE KEYWORDS. THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT YOU CREATE CONSISTENT CONTENT THAT YOUR AUDIENCE FINDS HELPFUL.
- It doesn’t matter if you capitalize keywords. The important thing is that you create consistent content that your audience finds helpful.
If you’re looking to drive a point home, consider using bold text or italics instead of all caps.
Whatever you do, remember that consistency is key. If you use all caps, do so consistently. If you use all lowercase, keep it consistent there, too. Inconsistency will lessen your value and authority in your reader’s eyes.
For the most part, there aren’t any aspects of technical SEO that use a lot of written content where capitalization even comes into play. However, there is one specific area you should consider — URLs.
Capital Letters in URL: SEO Implications
While it is hard to find a solid answer directly from Google, the consensus is that URL capitalization doesn’t matter, as long as you stay — you guessed it — consistent.
If you use capital letters in your URL in one place, use them in all the places.
You will get different results based on capitalization used in the URL after the initial .com/.org/.net etc.
Inconsistencies in URL capitalization may result in duplicate content or the same page being indexed multiple times.
The Most Important Rule of Capitalization in SEO: Consistency
When it comes to capitalization in SEO, the golden rule is: focus on consistency.
If your brand uses all lowercase letters for the company name, taglines, and other aspects, keeping that theme for your headers and titles makes sense.
If you prefer to use all caps in your headers to make them stand out — that’s great! — but make sure you do it sitewide.
Your image and consistency go hand in hand and both are incredibly important to your readers and Google’s algorithms.
How Can Capitalization Affect User Experience on Your Site?
While capitalization won’t affect your SEO performance or rankings, it will affect user experience, which is very important to Google.
If your site and content have a lot of capitalization errors or inconsistencies, it may feel unfinished or unpolished to your readers which will likely result in them bouncing from your page in pursuit of something a little easier to read.
You want your site and content to be an authority on the topic you are writing about and that means creating content that looks and feels professional.
Capitalization Doesn’t Matter for SEO Rankings — So What Does? Using SEO Best Practices
There are some general best practices in the world of SEO that you should be aware of moving forward. Here are the top five.
Matching User Intent With Your Content
When you decide on a keyword to target, do a bit of research and try to find out the intent behind those searches. Are people looking to learn information, find services, or make a purchase?
If you discover the intent and then write to meet that need, you are more likely to rank because your content is valuable to the reader and answers the questions they are asking.
Having more content usually increases your odds of ranking for a specific keyword, particularly if your competition doesn’t have much content on their page.
A 1,500-word article on a specific topic will likely outrank a 250-word piece on the same topic.
However, there is an important caveat.
You can’t just fill the space with pointless words and repetition. A 1,000-word piece that is 80% fluff is worse than a 500-word piece that is 100% value.
First and foremost, your article needs to be comprehensive and high-quality. For some topics, that means it will be a couple of thousand words long. For other topics, 500 words might be enough. Focus on creating a well-researched, accurate, and compelling piece.
Length matters, but only if the piece is high-value.
If your reader can’t use the information you provide, there is no point in them taking the time to read it.
Your content needs to be undeniably valuable to your reader.
Always make sure you answer the initial question they are asking thoroughly and authoritatively. That is the basic minimum requirement.
But going beyond the basics is a great way to boost value. Think through other questions your content may raise and answer those as well.
Have you ever read an article and, just as you finished a section, found that the content you just consumed sparked a new, more important question? If you were reading high-quality content, you likely found that the next section answered your new question. It probably felt like the author was reading your mind and you no doubt felt very thankful to have found that article.
You want to provide your readers with that same experience as often as possible.
Pro tip: sometimes some simple research can help you find out what questions they might also ask. When you search your target keyword, take a look at any “people also ask” keywords to get an idea of what else users want to know.
Is there anything worse than finding an incredibly boring article that you know will answer your question but it almost physically hurts to read?
What about trying to wade through terrible grammar and misused punctuation?
No one wants to attempt to decipher a poorly written piece.
Similarly, potential customers don’t want to slog through long paragraphs and never-ending, run-on sentences.
When creating content, think interesting and readable.
Keep your paragraphs short and sweet. Use bold and italic text to make points and break up the black-and-white landscape.
Make your content interesting. Focus on showing your reader instead of telling them.
For instance, consider these examples explaining the importance of seating options in a coffee shop:
- It is really important to have a variety of seating options in your coffee shop. You should have some tables tucked out of the way. Consider using comfortable chairs and couches in different areas.
- The cozy atmosphere hits you first — the warm, familiar scent of coffee and caramel, the natural color palette, and the variety of seating choices. As you place your order and walk away from the counter, you take in your options. There are several tables tucked neatly into semi-secluded corners around the shop. A comfy emerald green couch in the middle of the room seems to beg to host a quiet conversation between friends. You haven’t even tasted your latte but you already know it — this is going to be your new favorite spot.
Which one has you more convinced that you need to create great seating areas in your coffee shop? Which one was more fun to read and better held your attention?
Not only does interesting content better engage your reader, but it can also help increase your word count without adding unneeded fluff, another great way to boost your SEO rankings.
The internet is a wide world filled with lots of people sharing tons of information all the time. Knowing who is saying something worth reading is important. Being someone worth reading is even more important.
When establishing your content’s authority, there are a few strategies you can implement to boost it:
- Source good information
- Make sure everything is accurate
- Link to high-authority external web pages (but make sure they aren’t competitors!)
Ensure that your information is both true and helpful. You could write twelve thousand words about a rare breed of treefrog in the jungles of Madagascar but, unless that information is relevant to your reader, it isn’t going to matter how great the piece is. If what you’re saying doesn’t relate to your reader, it isn’t worth putting on the page.
Reporting accurate information is vital to the credibility of your work. If your content is engaging and enjoyable but all of your “facts” are works of fiction, Google — and your readers — won’t be very happy.
Google loves high-authority external links. When you link to a high-authority page, you automatically boost the credibility of your page because, when someone searches a keyword, Google crawls the entire internet looking for the best result. If the algorithm sees that you are associating yourself with a site it already likes, it will be much more likely to rank your page. You automatically become a little bit ‘safer.’
Some great websites to link to include:
- Anything ending in .gov
- Wikipedia pages
- Reputable YouTube videos (Google seems to like this since someone will potentially follow a link to a website they own)
- News articles
- Studies found on Google Scholar
When you link to an external page, make sure you link to a specific and relevant article or study. Don’t just link to the website’s homepage.
Concerned About Capitalization Use on Your Site? SEO Growth Partners Can Help
Are you still worried about capitalization and SEO on your site? Maybe you’re confident when it comes to capitalization but you have some other SEO-related concerns.
SEO Growth Partners is here for you. We’ve helped dozens of companies increase their traffic and sales through specific, targeted SEO strategies. We’ve helped our clients rank nationally for high-value keywords.
We are more than just an SEO company.
At SEO Growth Partners, we are a flexible team — comprising 90% women and 50% military spouses — dedicated to making sure your company succeeds. We only take on two new clients each month because we believe that each one deserves the highest quality service possible.
Looking to boost your site and upgrade your SEO? We offer two different audit services to help you find and target your biggest SEO issues.
Free SEO Audit
With our initial audit, we can tell you if any glaring capitalization issues may be distracting to your site visitors and leading to a higher bounce rate. We’ll look at on-page SEO factors and your current content.
When you request an SEO audit with us, you get a dedicated professional who spends around an hour combing through your entire online presence. You receive a video screen share full of data and actionable next steps to help you take your SEO game to the next level.
The best part? It is 100% free, no strings attached.
We can also run a technical audit to see if you have any capitalization or other errors slowing down your growth.
We will take an in-depth look at your site, content, and other factors to make sure all capitalization best practices for your brand are adhered to. Then, we will let you know what needs to be fixed and how you can move forward and upward.
If you truly want to upgrade your business, you need a strong SEO strategy — and SEO Growth Partners is here to develop one for you. Request your free SEO audit today.