What, Really? | Should we all be using pipes, now?
Rumors | Evidence | Separator characters | Slashes | Commas | Pipes. | See what we just did?
And the answer? Nah...you dont really actually need pipes.
Annika first noticed this”pipes” thing on Reddit. Someone cited a bunch of posts in the Etsy Forums saying that pipes are the magic cure for everything thats wrong with your item title. (for people who dont know,”pipe” is the name for the | character above the Enter key)
While technically the Reddit poster was correct in his/her assertion that a lot of people on the Etsy Forums believe that pipes are the magic punctuation elixer to Google greatness, the evidence is simply not there for this”pipe” character actually acting differently from any other character.
To wit: Annika is actually a big fan of pipes for aesthetic reasons. ”Theres something so nice about the way the character lays perpendicular to the earth.“ So she uses pipes a lot in meta titles and meta descriptions. But her”piped” entries are in no way better ranked than the regular, non-piped versions. Because Googles AI is too smart for that stuff. I mean , really. Have you looked at Google lately? They know everything. They arent going to get tripped up by some magical pipe, no matter how cool it looks. Certainly not.
What pipes ARE good for is keeping you from using unnecessary, actual words in your tags, titles, and meta data (which are supposed to be concise)
Look how many characters this pipe takes out, for instance:
“Quill and Anvil is your shop for all hand-lettered stuff”
“Quill and Anvil | Hand Lettered Stuff”
Of course, a true minimalist might argue that the pipe isnt necessary at all:
“Quill and Anvil Hand Lettered Stuff“
Heres the rub: Any time you can remove characters and still get your point across is a good thing, and has been a good thing, since the days of Strunk and White and electric typewriters. So in that sense, if pipes are your preferred character, and you need some character to make yourself understood, go ahead and pipe away. Just dont expect them to be more interesting to Google than commas, dashes, slashes, or dots. Theyre all equal in Googles eyes.
Dont believe our evidence just yet? Heres some forums and blog posts that discuss it: