Quotes in Meta Tags

Written by | Date Updated: February 21, 2018

Quotes in Meta TagsQuestion: Following instructions from your free on-page SEO guide, I am re-writing the meta descriptions for my pages to make them more search engine friendly. In doing this, I have one description that I want to use quotes in. Is it ok to use quotes in my meta description? -Val, Bloomington, Illinois

Related: Want the click-thru every time? Become a great title creator!

Answer: Quotes in the Meta-Description Tag

Val, great question. We have come across this issue ourselves as there are some meta descriptions that would be enhanced by using quotes.

Unfortunately, while we know that you are looking for a simple “Yes” or “No”, there are two schools of thought on this. We will present these two schools of thought and let you know what we would recommend.

Quotes in Meta Tags: Why It Is a Problem

To begin, let’s take a look at an example meta description from our article about SEO and content creation and, in doing so, you will see why quotes present a problem.

<meta name="description" content="SEO Web Content Question:  For SEO, how often should I be writing web content?  For the answer to this question about SEO and writing web content, read on!"/>

As you can see in the example above, the content parameter is encapsulated in quotes. Do you see the problems that this can cause?

Since this meta content parameter is itself enclosed in quotes, your use of quotes within this will make many programs think “that must be the end of the tag”. The result? Your description may be cut off in the search engines. This is obviously not what you desire.

This brings us to our first school of thought on the use of quotes in the meta description tag: Don’t do it!

Quotes in Meta Tags: No Problem!

But the discussion does not end there…there is that second school of thought that says, “Of course, you can do it. You just need to use HTML entities.”

One of the most common examples of this is the use of the space character HTML entity. For example, if you want extra spaces to appear in certain places (which most browsers would not honor), you need to use the HTML space entity.

Let me give you a quick example of using this space HTML entity and then we will look at the HTML quote entity.

1. In this sentence, I want to have a big space right now and then type some more.
2. In this sentence, I want to have a big space right now             and then type some more.

As you can see in sentence #2, I achieved the extra spaces after the words “right now”. This was done through HTML entities as you see in the code below:

2.  In this sentence, I want to have a big space right now &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;and then type some more.

In the same way, we can create quotes in our meta description using the HTML entity for quotes.

Let’s say that we wanted our meta description title to be “This article is about “quotes” in meta tags”. We would achieve this by doing the following:

<meta name="description" content="This article is about &quot;quotes&quot; in meta tags."/>

Conclusion: Quotes in Meta Tags

Val, we hope that we have addressed your question in full about quotes in meta tags and the meta description tag specifically.

So, between the “don’t do it” and “do it” camps, which would we recommend?

On most occasions, our answer would be don’t do it. It is not worth risking your meta-description not being seen. However, if you feel that the use of quotes in your meta description is absolute necessary, be sure to use the HTML entities solution mentioned above.

And, by the way, just for the sake of this article, we have used quotes in the meta description for this article.

Footnote To This Article: How do The Quotes Show Up In Each Search Engine

After I get this article indexed quickly by the big 3 search engines, we will report back with the results. Just to note, the meta description for this article is as follows:

<meta name="description" content="Can I Use &quot;Quotes&quot; In My Meta Description Tag?  If you are wondering whether you can use quotes in your meta tags, see these examples to find out."/>

And The Results Are In…

Here is the meta-description for this article (with quotes) in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. As you can see, the quotes appear in all of the meta descriptions.

Google:

google meta tags quotes

Yahoo:

yahoo meta tags quotes

Bing:

bing meta tags quotes

Richard Cummings

Director of SEO, Social Media, and Web Content Development at The SEO System
Richard Cummings has been practicing online marketing for many years and has setup and optimized hundreds of WordPress sites.He founded The SEO System to provide SEO, social media, and online marketing services and software to businesses.
Richard CummingsQuotes in Meta Tags

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