15 Dec 2005

Capitalizing your links and being paranoid.

I just got one of the best questions I’ve even recieved from a client before, he asks:

When getting a link from a site is it better to have all letters of link title lower case, capitalise them, or is it irrelevant? As capital letters have a different ascii code I presume one day search engines may decide that links will capitalised first letter words are more likely to be artificial and therefore discount them. Is this nonsense?

And my response:
Being paranoid and thinking of what search engines might think is a great thing. I totally agree with what you’re saying, and think that yes, you should link with small letters which looks more natural.

I’ve been accused of being overly paranoid before (that whole "should you name your links pages links.htm" thing) but can you ever really be too paranoid in this game?

What do you think?


  1. graywolf December 16, 2005 at 12:30 AM

    there’s no such thing as a “do-over” in SEO…

  2. Dan December 16, 2005 at 10:38 AM

    You can never be too rich, too thin or too paranoid.

  3. jpjoyner December 16, 2005 at 11:46 AM

    but if you are too paranoid you run the chance of wasting time-energy –resources on things that aren’t important at all.

    I guess you have to decide what is more valuable to you. Getting your small victories or having your time, energy and resources spent on other things that we know really matter.

  4. dog crazy December 16, 2005 at 11:51 AM

    It doesn’t take more time out of your day to do this, it’s just something you keep in the back of your mind as your building links. I think this can be classified as good paranoia.

  5. Gerald Steffens December 16, 2005 at 12:05 PM

    so what – you have been right in the links.htm discussion 🙂

    and being a little bit paranoid does not make much more efforts. the main time you lose ist the time for telling others about your opinion 😉

    here in germany it’s more natural to use a capital letter first. but i do not think that such things make any difference as long as they are not massively over-used. using the same linktext by 100% is not natural, variation makes sense. variation in typing makes sense too. every greater statistical variance may be used against seo. e.g. not using stop-words, misspellings, capital letters, synonyms, plural/singular, images, superfluous spaces etc in link text. even using the same url may be critical, i.e. using a slash at the end of the domain or not.

  6. jpjoyner December 16, 2005 at 12:09 PM

    My comments were pointing to paranoia as a whole. Yes lower case linking is just one thing but when you add that to all the other little things you’re doing it turns into SEO OCD and how productive is that.

  7. Jim December 16, 2005 at 12:18 PM

    OCD = ?

  8. jpjoyner December 16, 2005 at 12:43 PM

    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

    Did I go too deep in this converstation? I was just trying to play the devils advicate to liven up the talk.

  9. Jim December 16, 2005 at 5:58 PM

    JP, I do appreciate devils advicates….it does indeed liven up the chat!

    I will say that I’m pretty paranoid….but that doesn’t mean they ain’t after me …. and you 😉

  10. Scott December 17, 2005 at 11:47 AM

    I’m not sure paranoia is the right term… The goal is to be proactive, not reactive. Figure out what would be in the user’s interest to do… bet Google will learn to do it, and update your strategies accordingly. I don’t see that as paranoia, although I do understand your point, and agree that your client’s question was a good one.

    In terms of capital letters versus lower case, there is an interesting argument that Google may differentiate the two. Someone who does a search for “keyword phrase” in all caps could be more likely to click a result shown in all caps. That user would be more satisfied with their search, and more likely to use their search engine. Google does differentiate between singular and plural, so it is certainly possible that they would differentiate between caps and non-caps.

    That said, in reality, I don’t see these kinds of changes being implemented. I think that in the end, users will judge relevance based more on the words of content that surround a search listing, than whether it is capitalized or not. All things equal, caps versus non caps may matter… but ceteris parabis doesn’t really apply to SEO:)

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