Google Case Sensitive Search

Many weeks ago the question of a new Google case sensitive search started appearing in a few message boards. I’ve noticed this phenomenon myself especially during the last a couple of weeks when focusing on a particular customer’s website.

This dilemma impacted communication with the customer. At first, I thought it was a matter of the client and myself considering results from two different data centers. Then I seen that the client was using capital letters in certain words although not in others while searching and this impacted the outcomes in Google.

For decades, google reverse index and another search engines have stated that their searches aren’t case sensitive. But, since seems not to function as the case for some keyword phrases. You will have to note, however, that not absolutely all keyword phrases are impacted by the employment or non-use of capital letters.

I’ve experimented somewhat with this particular and the answers are mixed. Those individuals who have weighed in on the message boards have also reported mixed results as well. There is a thread on the Digital Point forum that covers this dilemma and the utilization of “Cool Time” versus “cool time” while searching Google.

Many people report seeing different results while others don’t. I can verify that I really do see different results from both of these searches. For me, when doing this search, the initial two spots in the SERPs are the same, while the next spot on down are a bit different.

Additionally, there are threads over at Search Engine Watch and Webmaster World which can be reporting the phenomenon although not the impact of the same issue. Now, the initial question that pops to mind is “why?” What’s the motivation for having a Google case sensitive search?

At this time, I can only just speculate. Perhaps this is one attempt to thwart blog comment or message board spam? Or, perhaps this is an attempt to differentiate between a company’s official name or even a product name and a generic word.

The impact of this Google case sensitive search could be large for some sites. Perhaps their company name is part of their primary homepage key phrase and they rank well when working with capital letters for his or her company name. But, suppose most searchers type in lower case and the same website doesn’t rank as well in lower case.

This also brings to mind another question. Will link-builders are in possession of to utilize anchor text with both upper and lower case letters to be able to achieve optimal results in the Google SERPs? Do capital letters now affect the title and meta tag areas?

For a lot of business owners case sensitive search would have been a non-issue. But, for those that are affected knowing the answers to these questions may employ a large impact on the bottom lines.

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Tom Stevens writes about and practices search engine optimization, Internet marketing and SEO services for all clients who prefer going old school.