Do Capital letters or camelcase affect SEO?
I’m very curious about this question because it raises a couple of interesting questions about our SEO services and Google rankings. The question of whether capital letters within the Url, Title tag or Meta Description affect your search ranking in Google.
Today I was working on SEO for a small business when I did a search for Curt Gowdy State Park. What was interesting is that when I did a search for lower case curt gowdy state park, I found a different number of search results. Check out the images:
As you can see with this sample test, the capitalized keywords (resulted in 41k competing pages where the un-capitalized keywords resulted in only 15k competing pages. After noticing this I did a quick search in Google’s Keyword Tool and noticed that Google considers keyword phrases the same in exact match mode. See Image:
Google Keyword Tool:
As you can see, the Google Keyword tool combined my keyword phrases into one result at the bottom. So, with regards to the Google Keyword tool, the keyword phrase is the same.
For all intents and purposes, I’m asking Google for the same thing but what’s with the disparity with the search results and resulting pages? After looking through all of the differences between the search rankings, I noticed that in this instance, the rankings were identical for both searches.
Keyword In URL Affects Search Results
Found Differences In Results Number:
After pouring through the search pages and trying to find any differences between the Capitalized results and Un-Capitalized results, I noticed one difference that could cause the results to be different: The URL!
Take a look at this image:
The only difference that I could think of that caused the disparity with the capitalized keywords and the un-capitalized keywords is the url.
Take a look at the URL in the image; one has Curt Gowdy State Park Capitalized and one doesn’t. This got me thinking about how Google looks at keyword phrases for search results. Obviously for SEO, Google looks at the URL and Title tag for deciding what page gets ranked where.
As you can see with the search results, people generally make the first letter in each word capitalized, or camelcase, so that it’s easy to read, but this isn’t the case when it comes to the URL. And that’s when it clicked for me. The url doesn’t usually have keyword phrase within it. So because the Title generally will have the keyword phrase and the url sometimes won’t, that’s the disparity in the number of resulting pages.
My Current Conclusion:
With all of this said, this leaves us SEO’ers with one question: Do Capital Letters Affect SEO?
Before I get to my tentative conclusion, let me make a couple of Google Ranking Assumptions 🙂
- First, I think that the number of Resulting Pages (competing pages) does affect how easy it is to get a website ranked within the top 3. For instance, if there are 100 million competing pages, it’s going to be harder to rank for that keyword phrase compared to a keyword phrase that only has 15,000 competing pages.
- Second, I think that Google takes the number of competing pages into consideration when it calculates it competition for each keyword phrase
Because I think the previous two statements are true, if un-capitalized keyword phrases only have 15,000 competing pages and capitalized keywords have 41,000 competing pages, it should “Theoretically” be easier to rank for the un-capitalized keyword phrase.
The only way to know for sure is to test this theory with similar domains and identical SEO practices. I will try to setup a controlled environment and test this and report back if there are really any differences in Google’s search results. I would like to think that there would be no difference especially because we’re searching for exactly the same thing. But it’s a question that needs answering and testing!
It’s been a couple years since I last posted on the topic of Do Capital Letters Affect SEO? Has anything changed? Yes & No. Six months after I originally posted this article in 2017, Google updated their algorithm and the search results are the same. Today it’s Nov 16, 2023 and the search results are different!
The update? Camelcase and lowercase search results ARE different!
Even though you are technically asking the same query, Google considers it different. My results in 2023 shows the following:
Here’s camel case letters:
Difference in non-capital letters (CamelCase) in search:
The top 5 results are the same, but you can see a difference in the bottom 5 of the search results. I think that this comes down to user experience. It’s easier to read camel-case compared to non-camelcase and users are clicking on different results sets because of it.
The only benefit for capitalization (camelcase) within SERPS is for ease of readability and “increased click-through rate”.
Typically, it’s easier to read the Title if each word in the title is capitalized.
What are your thoughts? Share your ideas in the comments below: