While trying to work out the proper SEO for his website he asked:
Is (8") or (8 inch) the proper naming scheme for the title of a product?
He was worried about uniformity and what the most popular keyword would be, but there's a deeper issue at play here...
In a case like that, it has more to do with how the engines will organize their data.
More accurate results come from a search for 8 inch rather than 8" because the quote character is one of those notoriously deadly characters in databases and online... thanks to Microsoft's smart quote.
Microsoft's smart quote does not correctly translate in web browsers or in databases. Take a close look at the image to the right and you will see 3 places with the > symbol. That's how browsers typically display the smart apostrophe, and the smart quote looks just the same.
Since many people might work on your website, and since Microsoft Office is so popular, you never want to run the risk of accidently introducing the smart quote (or smart apostrophe) into any field that is critical for your SEO.
Also, for this particular case, it's more important to consider correct usage of the quote and how engines read it, rather than what people search for most.
The quote character is used for advanced search techniques. For example, a search for "yellow pear shaped diamond" (including the quotes) will have a different result than if I searched without the quotes.
The quotes allow you to search very specifically for that exact phrase.
The actual search for this phrase: 8" gold chain
returns results for pages with 8 gold chain in the results.
Google does seem to understand that the quote next to a number represents inches, but there is some loss in the translation.
Consider this more complicated search:
18" or 16" gold chain
Google seems to correctly interpret that search request and returns websites selling 18 inch and 16 inch gold chains.
Now look at this slight variation of the same search:
18 " or 16" gold chain
That says 18-space-quote-space-or-16-quote
See the extra space after the 18?
The results for that query are mixed between jewelry results and other strange pages.
See how confusing that can be?
The last thing to consider is our new world of voice activate search. Using the Android or the iPhone, you can dictate your search request.
How would you say this verbally?
18" or 16" gold chain
Would you say:
18 quote or 16 quote gold chain
Or would you say:
18 inch or 16 inch gold chain
Naturally you would say the latter, and the voice recognition software would recognize the 4 letter word inch.
The bottom line of today's Daily Golden Nugget is to use the word INCH instead of the QUOTE (") character in all fields relating to the SEO of your products. This includes the Page Title, the item title, the and the meta description. Additionally, to cover all possibilities, you should include the quote character as part of the longer description on the page.