In Google Search if you search for "Dog | Golden Retriever" you get results for exactly that.

Basic topic | More specific subcategory.

Assuming we got a A | B type title on a site. Example:

<title>something here | Website Name</title>

Does that make Google treat | as subcategory operator?

For instance, let's say I set up a website named MyAwesomeEshop I sell cosmetics and accessories.
The title is:

Cosmetics | Accessories | MyAwesomeEshop

Will that cause Google to set my website on gibberish categories? Meaning Cosmetics is an obvious hit but when someone is searching for accessories, what will happen? And if I sell for example biological cosmetics, will it be shown or will Google think the no-sense semantics that my cosmetics belong to the subcategory Accessories?

Is it better for semantics to use - rather that |?
Because | is used by Google as a sub category operator or something.

Already read Which symbol should I use in the title: “|” or “-”? and on the suggested link Title Tag | Learn SEO - Moz I found this:

Optimal format
Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

That makes sense on both cases. For instance:

Accessories - For men | Brand Name

What happens if we put:

Primary Keyword | Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

I care about the semantic impact, because we want our website to make sense. In case it has importance, which one is better for SEO?
This one:

Brand Name | Major Product Category - Minor Product Category - Name of Product

Or this one?

Name of Product - Minor Product Category - Major Product Category | Brand Name

It seems that the second answer on the following question supports that I might be right asking this. Leaving it for your reference it might help. Please read after his update Pipes or colons in HTML title tags?

1 Answer 1


Where did you get the idea that | does subcategories? In search I understand that it is an undocumented replacement for the word "or". Regardless of it's meaning in search syntax, its semantics in titles is likely to be different. Google ignores most punctuation in web pages and that usually happens with pipes in titles as well.

In short, it is fine to use | in titles or -. As all the answers state in Which symbol should I use in the title: “|” or “-”?, either is fine for SEO.

I personally would avoid too much punctuation in the title. I'd prefer:

Accessories for men | Brand Name

I tend only to use one dash or pipe in my titles. The idea is try to make your title read as naturally as possible to users and stick the brand name at the end.

If you use multiple pipes or dashes, your title ends up looking like a list of keywords rather than a title. That is going to look spammy to users and hurt your click through rate. Google may also treat it like a list of keywords. That might mean that Google rewrites it, ignores part of it, or sees it as keyword stuffing.

I also wouldn't use categories in the title of a product page. I'd use:

Widget hair brush | Brand Name

rather than

Widget hair brush - hair care - brushes | Brand Name

Words beyond the first few have little SEO weight. Longer titles mean that your brand name can be cut off which hurts click through and branding efforts.

The only exception I would tend to make for that rule is if the name of the product has no keywords in it already. For example if the manufacturer just name the hair brush "The Widget". In that case:

The Widget | Brand Name

could do with some more description in the title like

The Widget hair brush | Brand Name


The Widget hair brush for men | Brand Name

  • Thank you very much for clarifying things. As for theidea that | in Google Search works as an operator that sets subcategory, I found that on an old ECDL guide on more efficient searching using google. It was an old book, but it stuck to my head, thus as I do SEO for my new employer, it came to my mind and I wanted to be sure. I think that an or operator is || and not just one, thus I stuck with the first impression of the pipeline I had. Having nothing and just adding words then pipeline then website will be sufficient and it is actually a good and clean idea. Thank you.
    – George Eco
    Jan 29, 2019 at 12:06

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