Special characters in SERP-Snippets

When designing your presence on search engine respresentation pages, there are many tips and tricks to gain an edge over your competitors. Special attention should be given to the proper usage of special characters, e.g. Arrows or Stars. These function as eye-catchers, which generate more attention and increase the user’s willingness to click. Which rules there are when using special characters in title- and meta-description and which special characters are worth using you’ll learn here ↓.

Google has set a few rules for the usage of special characters:


First Rule:

Special characters at the beginning or end of title- and meta-description will not be displayed. One can bypass this rule with a special trick though, by putting a few valid characters in fron/behind of the special character. In this example, a lower case „L“ has been put in front of the arrow 4 times, which meets Google’s rule, but practically puts a special character at the start of the meta description.

Second Rule:

Multiple special characters strung togehter will not be displayed. One can circumvent this rule by combining special characters and ordinary characters, for example:

Wrong way:

Correct way:

The most important special characters for optimal title- and meta description design:

  1. Checkmarks  ✓ (next to statements about the own offer, to insinuate that the user has made the right choice)
  2. Arrows ➔ (can be used to focus a user’s attention on a statement)
  3. Stars ★ (are associated with high quality (premium) and canbe strategically placed)
  4. Branch-specific characters ✈ (e.g. an airplane for an airline’s site)

You can find a complete list of special characters here.

In conclusion, one can say that when it comes to using special characters in the title- and meta-desciption, less is more. The excessive usage of special characters can make a dubious or even spamy impression, and Google itself will not display multiple special characters in a row, as stated above.

Nevertheless, through the thoughtful usage of special characters one can achieve a significant increase in traffic.

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