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Does soft hyphen affect search engines?

I wonder if anyone has studied whether the SOFT HYPHEN character (U+00AD) 
affects search engines. That is, does e.g. "prin­ciple" get treated the 
same ways as "principle" or as the word "prin" followed by "ciple"? Does it 
matter whether I used ­ or ­ or the soft hyphen character as such?

The reason I'm asking is that support to the soft hyphen _in browsers_ seems 
to be reasonable now, so that we can start using it. Browsers either 
implement soft hyphen by the HTML specification or ignore it, instead of 
e.g. displaying a hyphen inside a line. But what about Google and other 
search engines?

-- 
Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/ 

0
Jukka
4/27/2007 12:34:19 PM
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On Fri, 27 Apr 2007, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:

> I wonder if anyone has studied whether the SOFT HYPHEN character (U+00AD)
> affects search engines. That is, does e.g. "prin­ciple" get treated the
> same ways as "principle"

http://google.com/search?q=cache:www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/shytest.html+discretionary
http://google.com/search?q=cache:www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/shytest.html+dis+cretion+ary

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=url:http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/shytest.html+discretionary
http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=url:http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/shytest.html+dis+cretion+ary

> or as the word "prin" followed by "ciple"?

Not in Google, strangely.
http://google.com/search?q=cache:www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/shytest.html+%22dis+cretion+ary%22

> Does it matter whether I used ­ or ­ or
> the soft hyphen character as such?

I doubt.

-- 
In memoriam Alan J. Flavell
http://groups.google.com/groups/search?q=author:Alan.J.Flavell
0
Andreas
4/27/2007 3:46:08 PM
On Fri, 27 Apr 2007, I wrote:

>> or as the word "prin" followed by "ciple"?
>
> Not in Google, strangely.
> http://google.com/search?q=cache:www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/shytest.html+%22dis+cretion+ary%22

IOW:
Google currently treats "prin&shy;ciple" as "prin<BR>ciple"
but not as "prin&#32;ciple" so that
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/shy.html#se
requires updating.

-- 
In memoriam Alan J. Flavell
http://groups.google.com/groups/search?q=author:Alan.J.Flavell
0
Andreas
5/2/2007 1:39:08 PM
Scripsit Andreas Prilop:

> On Fri, 27 Apr 2007, I wrote:
>
>>> or as the word "prin" followed by "ciple"?
>>
>> Not in Google, strangely.
>> http://google.com/search?q=cache:www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/shytest.html+%22dis+cretion+ary%22

Thanks, Andreas. I had forgotten that little test file of mine!

It seems that at least Google and MSN Search treat soft hyphens as 
separators between "words", possibly with some additional oddities. This is 
bad news. We can help the situation by including a "soft hyphenated" word 
without soft hyphens as well, in some position where no breaking is needed, 
but this gets a bit awkward.

> IOW:
> Google currently treats "prin&shy;ciple" as "prin<BR>ciple"
> but not as "prin&#32;ciple" so that
> http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/shy.html#se
> requires updating.

It was rather dusty, really, and now a bit less dusty.

I guess the conclusion is that we can use the soft hyphen with discretion 
(as a discretionary hyphen in a double sense!), for very long words and for 
pieces of text where formatting is very important - remembering that we may 
that way break the word in the eyes of important search engines.

-- 
Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/ 

0
Jukka
5/2/2007 9:25:26 PM
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