John Mueller of Google said that Google, for ranking and SEO purposes, ignores all symbols – including the registered trademark symbols such as ® and ™.
The question came up in the webmaster hangout at the 51:03 mark where someone asked:
How does Google handle the register symbol, like the R in a circle ® and the trademark ™ symbol in search listings? Are they ignored like most punctuations?
John answered they ignore them:
As far as I know, yes, they are essentially ignored. So we treat them as a symbol.
It might be that you can search for them in the meantime. I know we’ve enabled search for some emoji characters as well. So maybe you can specifically search for them but I don’t think you’d get any useful content just by searching for symbols alone. But it might be kind of a curious thing to search for.
But in general, we treat them like any other symbol in the search results. We don’t apply any semantic meaning to them. So just because you are using some word and then the ™ symbol next to it, doesn’t mean that we should treat that word in any special way.
Of course, yes you can search for them in Google. Try it yourself by searching for [®] or [™].
Forum discussion at YouTube.
This post was scheduled to go live today but was written earlier – I am currently offline today.