In the Google search results, I’m still seeing some alternative characters show up at the beginning of the title tags in some results. Looks like the cases I have come across are all search engine spam results, but the fact that these characters are even being allowed is a mystery to me. Let’s look at an example:
That search result shows an example of what I’m seeing in some search results. If that is not showing the results currently, here is a screen shot:
So, in my opinion I don’t think any alternative characters, as in any characters that are not pronounceable shouldn’t be there. I know that’s pretty harsh, but other than a hyphen or a pipe symbol, I can’t see any reason for starting a search result with an alternative, unpronounceable character other than to try to get users to click on your search result.
As you can see, this particular search result actually is interesting since it showcases several search engine spam techniques:
– cloaking the page (show different results to Google’s bots than real humans)
– turning off the Google cache
– usage of https and a long URL to hide the URL in the SERPs
– usage of an alternative character at the beginning of the title tag
– usage of new gTLD domain names for search engine spam
That last one is interesting–why so much interest in using a new gTLD domain for search engine spam if Google wasn’t giving new gTLD domains any weight in the algorithm?
As you can see, there is one that’s also interesting, which is getting Google to index your page(s) very quickly. In fact, if you look you can see that Google even crawled and indexed a page 36 seconds ago!