For text content on a site - say for example, a Chinese language site I could use HTML escapes:


Or just UTF-8 encoded characters (not a representation of the above - just an example):

控制和洁净室, 测试与测量, 计算机与外围设备

Where both would appear the same to visitors - but differently in the page source. Given a new site, I've read that the accepted best practice seems to be just to use UTF-8 wherever possible. However, I'm working on a legacy / existing site and would like to understand if there is any difference SEO-wise?

Are both sets of text content (in an HTML document) equally visible to search engines (if the displayed characters / content is the same)?

Is there a difference between how Google or more local search engines (such as Baidu) would handle the content?

1 Answer 1


Are both sets of text content (in an HTML document) equally visible to search engines

Absolutely yes: both variants are fully equal. All search engines understand unicode (your second example), the encoded HTML entities from the first example are not a problem too.

The entity encoding is nothing other as another encoding like, win-8859-1, utf-8 or win-1251. So looks a wikipedia URL, written in russian: enter image description here

And both variants are fully support and understood by both of browsers and search engines.

  • I was interested in what someone would say about this question. I would not have had a clue. Good job!!
    – closetnoc
    Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 1:57
  • 1
    Thanks for this answer. Do you have any sources of reference? The original reason that prompted my question is that I was told Baidu couldn't understand HTML escapes (or at least wouldn't match it to characters just encoded in UTF-8).
    – Michael
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 9:38
  • updated my answer
    – Evgeniy
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 9:45

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