A tilde (pronounced TILL-duh) is a short, curvy horizontal line character that is located on the upper left on most keyboards, usually on the same key as the backquote. It has a number of uses, including several with regard to computers.¹

and also

til·de. Noun. A diacritical mark (~) placed over a letter to indicate a palatal nasal consonant, as in Spanish señor. This symbol is also used in the International Phonetic Alphabet to represent any nasalized vowel.²

but in today’s post

Just a simple way to add value to your business blog.

Have you ever struggled with writing your next post so that it is mindful of your keywords but not stuffed with them? So that your content is valuable and authentic and “you,” and that it reaches out to the widest (or deepest) segments of your target audience? Today I want to share something that helps me solve these problems, and I hope it will help solve them for you, too.

Google, when you precede the word or term with the tilde (~), searches both for that specific word and for the word’s synonyms. It also retrieves the term with alternative endings, like “ing.” The tilde works best when used with general terms and terms that have many synonyms.³ So, you get a number of things by doing this:


  • a Google-charged synonym finder, but not just synonyms
  • an opportunity for different perspective on thesaurus-driven words vs. community words
  • a new way to see words related to your keywords that will help you write to a wider, deeper audience

It’s the third point that has me a little excited. And that is because it lets me see more than just a few synonyms for the words I already use or the list of words the thesaurus says I can consider substituting. A new way of seeing words relevant to SEO for my business.

When you use the tilde, you get to see these related words in a whole other set of context in the search terms. This is cool. So when the tilde-ized searchpage results come back, you get the expected format of result titles, meta descriptions and URLs that let you see this varied set of words used in ways you may have not thought about for your particular target audience.

Restated: Learning how to search using the tilde in your search query will let you examine results that are common to the community surrounding your keyword.

For example, I searched the term “~charity”. Google returned related words that I could further research as relevant keywords if I was forming a batch of community terms related to the word “charity”. The related words were bolded and the most relevant websites came up first in the search results.

When I search “~charity” the first five related keywords that were retrieved were:

  • volunteer
  • donate
  • foundation
  • fundraising
  • non-profit

As you can see, there is some obvious relation between the term “charity” and these five results. They may not be the most important, relevant keywords to focus your attention on, but they will likely help to gain additional audience members if you do end up using those terms in your written content.

I was at lunch today with Rob Campbell, Proprietor/CEO/Main Man at Cartoon Thunder, and was discussing possible titles for this particular post (his were funnier than the one I chose), as well as brainstorming the mutually interesting avenues the tilde offers to each of our individual blog writing efforts. Rob’s to-the-point observation, “So. This is an SEO trick.”

Why, yes. Yes it is! And not one that was discovered recently and not one that isn’t already used by professional copyrighters on a regular basis, but definitely one that can help the small business owner who writes his own business blog. Tricks are not just for kids, anymore.

Bottom line here: SEO efforts need to be continuous, consistent and never in expectation of hearing the Fat Lady sing.

¹ http://www.linfo.org/tilde.html
² http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tilde
³ http://www.googleguide.com/synonym_operator.html