Google searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you type them, will be understood as lower case. For example, searches for george washington, George Washington, and gEoRgE wAsHiNgToN will all return the same results.Yet, as my Netconcepts colleague Chris Smith recently noted, this is not currently the case. We get different results in the 8th position for “george washington” vs. “George Washington” vs. “gEoRgE wAsHiNgToN”, when expanding out the number of listings per page in the Google preferences. In another example that Chris found, “fossil watches” and “Fossil Watches” returned different results. You can see this in this screenshot:
I’ve always taught in SEO training sessions that Google queries are case-insensitive. Indeed, Google states this in their online documentation in no uncertain terms:
I know you said you hope this isn’t the start of a new SEO era, but I believe it’s already happened. I too noticed this awhile ago and the keyword tool I use has offered the option to generate case-sensitive results for a long time.
When I first saw the optional setting in my keyword tool, I thought it was odd, wondering why that option would be there, so I ignored it for awhile. Then the case-sensitive Google search results were brought to my attention by a curious client of mine and it all made sense.
Rex White says
Okay, so WHY would they want to do that. I can’t see the logic in it. You’re right – something is going on. I did a search for a term in my industry, and although the results are similar and some sites don’t change between the 2 queries, there are some differences in the SERP’s.
My heart… there’s a strange… pain! Or is it… heartburn? UGH!
What is strange is that a lower case search seems to return a higher result even though the page title and header text is capitalised.
In our case it makes the difference (currently) between appearing on page one and page two, so even though thats only a few positions it is in that sense significant.
From an SEO perspective there does’nt seem to be any logic to it so I guess its a case of wait and see if Google changes anything.
I have also noticed some strage differences when it comes to the small things like this. I’ve noticed some irregularities with the use of the ampersand in text. Do you know of any tests that have been done to discover how Google treats “&” and “and”?