I have was wondering if it is better to use @ or at in contact page when I'm displaying emails.

I've seen in many websites that when they display a email, it looks like name(at)example.com but it links to [email protected].

I've been told that this is because Google might see it as Spam. Is that true?

  • 2
    I'd like to comment that hackers aren't stupid either. They're looking for @ or (at) or something domain.com. Be original.
    – Martijn
    Nov 24, 2014 at 14:12

3 Answers 3


SPAM reasons, Yes. Google no.

There are non-Google spiders that look specifically for email addresses, presumably for SPAM purposes. So over the years people have tried to find ways to make email addresses less "visible" to spam crawlers. A very common way is to display name (at) domain (dot) com with a script behind it to allow the link to work as an e-mail address (when you click on it). SPAM crawlers do not run scripts, they just look for plain text so this is one approach to protecting email addresses webmasters take. People can figure it out as an email address if they also do not run scripts (javascript being the most common.

  • SPAM crawlers do not run scripts At one time in the past this might have been true. When we have highly intelligent site scrapers out there that can crawl product pages and create a database from the page contents and also specific stock level analysis scrapers, I find it rather unlikely that address scrapers haven't risen to the same level of sophistication. Nov 24, 2014 at 19:16
  • The next idea is to not ever put an email address, in any form, on your website. Replace them with a contact form that filters and validates user input before sending. Nov 25, 2014 at 1:38

No, that is not true. Email address obfuscation is the result of webmasters attempting to make their email addresses unrecognizable to spambot crawlers. Spammers employ bots that crawl the Internet looking for email addresses to harvest so they can send spam to them. By changing the @ symbol into (at) the webmaster is hoping that the spambots will not recognize their addresses as being email addresses and they will not receive spam as a result of it.

So, this has nothing to so with SEO. Also, you should stop listening to whomever told you this because that was really bad information. :/

  • webmaster is hoping that the spambots will not recognize their addresses So much of this obfuscation from so long ago, I'd expect new dogs to learn circumventing old tricks. It's pretty easy to bypass most with simple regex. And linking to a mailto as was mentioned? Dead giveaway. Nov 24, 2014 at 19:12

Issue 1: Using [at] as a munge.

The plain and simple truth is that the tools that harvest e-mail addresses off of websites are fairly sophisticated and can even read JavaScript to a point. I did a study of this about 10 years ago and developed a munge tool and hosted it online that still works extremely well. The reason why I mention this is because I found that anything short of the munge I create in my tool can be read fairly easily. That was a decade ago! This includes images, some JavaScript, and so on.

The whole [at] thing and even using images are no real challenge to some of these tools. There are plenty of munge tools out there, only a few are really worth the effort. You can search Google for e-mail munge for a list.

Please(!) munge your e-mail addresses. Do not rely solely on anti-spam software. Get them at the source. Once they have your e-mail address, there is no stopping them.

Issue 2: Is [at] harmful for search.

I warn you that there are a BUNCH of wing-nuts out there spouting all kinds of SEO stuff (not the word I want to use) that is not only wrong but ridiculous. Where-ever you heard this, please avoid this so-called resource at all costs. There is no credibility that can be attributed based upon what they told you. The short answer is no. It will not effect search.

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