Using Separators In Meta Title Tag: Comas (,) Vs. Hyphens (-) Vs. Pipes (|)

by Adi on November 5, 2016


As an SEO expert, I understand that the on-site SEO is a big part (and the most important aspect) of any SEO campaign. Meta title is one of the most strategic location for putting your target keywords. Correlation research has shown that using keywords in Meta title can improve your website rankings. One of the common questions I often get relating to Meta titles is this – How do I create a meta title when I want to optimize for more than one keyword? This is the email I got from one of my new clients yesterday on this subject. The email read something along these lines (changed company and client’s name)  –

I am targeting 2 keywords on a single page and have come up with the following Meta title  –

<title> XYZ Company. SEO Service in Malaysia, SEO Report Malaysia.  </title>

I am targeting the following two keywords –

  • SEO service in Malaysia
  • SEO report Malaysia

Does the above title look good? Are my keywords properly placed? Does Google treat commas as separators for the keywords?


In the above example, the title is using separators like full-stop and commas. This is not right. Google doesn’t treat commas or full-stops as separators. Full-stops and commas can be used to craft a grammatically correct title which makes sense to humans but is not the appropriate way to separate two keywords. Using pipes (|) or (-) is a better way to separate two keywords. Some people also use a colon. Colon (:) can be used to expand on your title.  The text following a colon is considered to be a subtitle or an expansion of the preceding keyword.

So when you are trying to separate keywords, use a pipe or a hyphen. A pipe is more desirable than using a hyphen as a pipe has smaller pixel width.

It is recommended that you do not target a lot of keywords on a single page. That makes it incredibly hard to optimize a page well for all the keywords. However, if the keywords are closely related to one another, then you can, of course, target them on the same page. Following the example in the email above, the two keywords – ‘SEO service in Malaysia’ and ‘SEO report Malaysia’ are closely related and can be targeted on the same page. The best way to make Meta title for this page would be to reduce word count by minimizing keyword repetition and by arranging words in such a manner so that it makes sense to humans.

So if you have to make a meta title reflecting two keywords – SEO service in Malaysia and  SEO report Malaysia; then you can craft a meta title like –

SEO Services And SEO Reports In Malaysia | XYZ Company (55 Characters)

This meta title places the keywords towards the front of the Meta title which improves the optimization. It also reduces the size of the Meta title to an acceptable limit which will not be truncated by Google.

You can also use a longer version of the above meta title; something along these lines –

Search Engine Optimization Services And SEO Reports In Malaysia | XYZ Company (78 characters)

As you can see, this Title contains the acronym as well as the expanded form of SEO. So the page would rank higher if someone uses ‘search engine optimization’ in their search phrase.  This title will serve for people use full-form (‘search engine optimization’) as well as the shortened version (SEO).

A part of this Meta title may get truncated by Google but the good thing is that our target keyword(s) are towards the beginning of the Title and so they will not be removed.

Keeping up with changes in SEO is time-consuming. Focus on growing your business while we take care of SEO and help with the growth. Feel free to reach us if you have any questions or if you would like to work with us in setting up an effective SEO campaign.

dustinworthington (Custom)

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