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Google’s Synonym Search – the ‘Tilde’ Character

Posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - SEO

Ok, so most of us know that using our keywords in the tile, Meta descriptions tag and the content of the page is important, but what about the synonyms that goes with those keywords. Does Google look at similar terms on a page to help determine what that page is about? Well, I think the answer to that question is a resounding ‘Yes’. Let me give you an example. If I was to do a search for ‘Jaguar’, and I mean the cat not the car, I may search like this:  jaguar cat. When the results are returned, as expected, the keywords that are considered relevant to my search are bolded in the results in the title, description and URL if applicable. Notice from the screen shot that my search bolded “jaguar”, “cat” and “cats”.


However, if I use the tilde(~) character in my search, “~jaguar~cat”, now I am asking Google to give me results including similar or “synonymous” terms to the keyword jaguar and the keyword cat:

jaguar 2

As you can see, in addition to the keywords jaguar and cat, the results that are bolded now include bengal, pet, lynx and animal. Interesting, since I did not include any of those words in my search. Google is simply returning the ‘synonymous’ results for my original query.

In conclusion, maybe the next time you are optimizing your pages for certain keywords, don’t forget to run synonymous queries to add relevant terms to your pages. After all, this benefits the webmaster, the visitor and search engines.

About Rich Scaglione

Rich Scaglione is an SEO Architecture Analyst for The Search Agency’s SEO Architecture team. Rich has worked in the SEO Field for the last 3 years. His past experience includes 15 years as a Network Architect and Engineer for Fortune 500 clients in NYC, designing and supporting LAN and WAN infrastructures. Rich also plays the drums and enjoys writing music in his spare time.

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5 Responses to “Google’s Synonym Search – the ‘Tilde’ Character”

  1. Ted Ives says:

    It’s amazing how many small things Google exposes that we overlook, this one shocked me actually. Great stuff!

  2. Very cool. You learn new things every day. This will come in handy when you can’t find the right search term…

  3. Hey Ted and eCommerceCircle,

    Thanks for the replies. I remember when I first learned about this how eye opening it was.

    I’m glad both of you found this useful!

  4. Agnus Hartel says:


  5. NickI couldn’t agree with you more. You absolutely encapsulate the message I have been preaching to marketers for nearly two years now “If there isn’t a regular incentive (more than a virtual badge) I’m not sure these systems will truly take off.” As marketers we are too often used to having the consumer lead us to the water. Some times as marketers we have to take the lead and show a good reason for customers and potential customers to engage with us.Simon


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