My Love Affair With The Vertical Bar “|” Key, and Why It’s Great for SEO

Vertical Line KeyI am in love with Shift-backslash, also known as the “vertical bar” or “straight line” or this thing: |

Ask any one of my clients and they will tell you that I have an affinity for this key. I adore it. I think it is a beautiful key, one that should be in nearly every title of every main website page for nearly every type of industry. It is, without a doubt, my favorite key, evenaheadofthespacebar.

Why do I love the | key?

I love the vertical bar key because it makes keyword targeting titles an absolute breeze, and I think it is the most underrated, simple, and not at all cheating way to make sure that your website is keyword oriented without clearly keyword stuffing.

I use this key in just about every title, every time I’m targeting a keyword. I use it in product descriptions. I use it in location pages. I even use in in blog posts, although not quite as often as permanent website pages. I use it to separate a keyword into a full title, without necessarily focusing too heavily on the keyword.

Often I’m asked to write a page on a specific topic with a specific keyword in mind, for example:

  • Sacramento SEO
  • Anxiety Therapy
  • Liposuction in Folsom
  • IT Recruitment
  • Affordable Cosmetic Dentistry

These are main site pages, keywords, and topics all rolled up into one. For example, if I’m writing about Sacramento SEO – which I often do – I’m writing to target people searching for Sacramento SEO, and I’m writing about SEO in Sacramento, and I’m trying to make sure that there is a page on my site for Sacramento SEO in case someone from Sacramento finds my site and wonders “Do they do SEO in Sacramento?” (Answer: Yes). My goal is to create a new page, target a keyword in search, and make sure I write about that topic.

So best practices involve placing that keyword in the title. But if you go with traditional titles, they can read pretty awkwardly.

  • Your Best Choice for Sacramento SEO
  • Contact Dr. Doofenschmirtz for Anxiety Therapy
  • Where to Get Liposuction in Folsom
  • Looking for IT Recruitment Jobs?
  • Dr. Toothache is Your Source Affordable Cosmetic Dentistry

These sound silly. They’re awkward. I could also not do a title at all, and just go with this:

  • Sacramento SEO
  • Anxiety Therapy
  • Liposuction in Folsom
  • IT Recruitment
  • Affordable Cosmetic Dentistry

That’s it. I can make those the titles and voila, done. But this is also a missed opportunity and things like “Sacramento SEO” aren’t much of a title. This is a common way to title main site pages, but it’s also a boring one, not necessarily going to capture people’s attention.

I can also forgo putting a keyword in a title altogether and just make sure I mention the terms in the content.

But why do that, when there is a beautiful, underused key available just waiting to be pressed? All I have to do is add a | and suddenly I can say nearly anything I want, add a keyword, and make a more visually appealing title. Observe:

  • Sacramento SEO | Boost Your Website Rankings with Great Leap Studios
  • Anxiety Therapy | Find Relief From Your Anxiety and Panic Attacks at Counseling Office
  • Liposuction in Folsom | The Best Place to Go to Contour Your Body
  • IT Recruitment | Find Your Next IT Rockstars at Recruitment Company
  • Affordable Cosmetic Dentistry | Quality Care From Our Dental Offices

Boom. Keyword. Vertical Line. Sentence.

These are excellent titles. They are engaging, marketable, and relate directly to the reader. They also have the keyword, because the keyword is in the title before the “|”, but not necessarily standing out awkwardly, drawing unwanted attention. It’s just there. It’s making sure that you’ve added your most important keyword to your topic, but not putting awkward neon lights all over it as if you’re trying to make sure search engines notice.

Not only do these titles look better, but they appear to perform better too. There is an exact match keyword directly in the title that will be bolded in search, and yet won’t stand out awkwardly in the sentence. It makes integrating them into titles a breeze (which is important, since some people spend far too long thinking of titles) and it just looks right from a visual standpoint.

These are beautiful titles, and this: | is a beautiful key.


  • Micah Abraham

    Micah Abraham is the owner and lead content writer at Great Leap Studios ( and High Volt Digital (
    Micah has over 15 years of content writing and digital marketing experience, and has owned and operated Great Leap Studios since 2013 and High Volt since 2022.
    He has a degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, and has researched and written content on a wide range of topics in the medical and health fields, home services, tech, and beyond.
    Micah lives with his family in California.

Skip to content