Does having a Hyphen/Dash on Your Domain Does it hurt SEO?
SEO covers a variety of large and small signals that are all a part of one large stew. Think of your site’s content as the main ingredient, your website design as the foundation, and so on. But no stew is complete without the spices. And in SEO the case of SEO, these spices are the small things. There are many tiny things. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
Dashes and underscores in your URL could be important however, does it harm Search Engine Optimization? Let’s look at underscores, dashes, and other components of your URL which could be significant to Google and your customers. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
Google’s Word on Dashes
In any debate like this the general rule is that it’s best to look closest to the root of the problem as is possible. In this instance, it is looking for any instances in which Google or an official representative of Google has provided an official position regarding the use of hyphens in URLs. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
For the most part, Google doesn’t have one huge, unifying source guide to SEO. It would be much simpler if they handed the public a free handbook as well as a help center. offers a few suggestions here and there, however there isn’t a single, consistent source. For many smaller issues, it’s best to check out secondary sources. Google’s help center is primarily designed to address issues related to the implementation of technology or rules that can cause you to be disqualified. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
It’s certainly a positive indication, isn’t it? If there’s not a rule informing you “don’t include hyphens within your URL” It’s unlikely to be in violation of the rules, and therefore it’s acceptable to make use of.
In this instance the closest source that we can find is former Google’s head of its Webspam Team, Matt Cutts. Matt was for a long time the most reliable source we could have had for modifications to Google’s algorithm in relation to what those changes meant. The information was posted on both YouTube as well as on his personal website, which is still home to these posts in archives to be a reference. This is a good thing and you’ll learn in a minute. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo – There hasn’t been a public official from the world of webspam to step up and take Matt’s place. Google continues to publish occasional articles and videos however, there’s no public profile that’s official in the same way as Matt was born. He’s currently employed by the US Government as part of the Digital Service, which he was able to identify as significant and influential enough to leave Google and pursue.
A little digression and a biographical note Matt posted a blog in 2005 an eternity back in the Internet time – that discussed problems with underscores and dashes. In the past, search engines could not even understand punctuation. Google’s ability to recognize the underscore and dash as well as a handful additional punctuation symbols was a boon for people who program or are looking for specific words that use the marks. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
In order to avoid his thoughts on the days prior to when Google became the huge company it is today we should move to the final paragraph. Matt claims “To provide a solution to a commonly asked inquiry, Google doesn’t algorithmically penalize for dashes within the URL.” – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
I’m aware that one article from 2005 isn’t necessarily a good indication of current SEO policy however the reality is, that’s the only thing we have. In addition to being the only thing we have, but it’s also quite precise. No new abuses or spam-related techniques have sprung out in the past twelve years that would require changes in the policy on the hyphen. Therefore, the rule of law remains. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
This is all to say that Google does not punish users for using hyphens on your site’s URL. Making use of hyphens as part of a URL that is spammy could result in a penalty however, and hyphens come with particular problems of their own. Let’s dig deeper. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
Diets for Definition, Underscores for Concatenation
The first step is to be sure to understand the function of both – – and the _. Often, when writing in a format that does not allow spaces, people will turn to the underscore to_write_something_with_human_readable_spacing. This is useful for a human reader however, it isn’t necessarily how computers understand the symbols. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
In fact, typically computers will use the hyphen as a spacer, leading-to-something-like-this. It is actually a symbol of concatenation which means that it is used to distinguish words from humans, but shouldn’t be used to distinguish between them and computers. This would be a similar look to Asentencelikethis.
It’s not clear how to enforce this It’s true. It’s legal to use the underscore domain name with one exception; it only works with legitimate DNS names. You aren’t allowed to actually include underlines in domain names of website as it’s actually an URL for a host name. It’s the case in the technical manual but. The main thing to be aware of is: – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
- Hyphens are permitted in domain names by themselves in subfolders and subdomains. www.sub-domain.domain-name.com/sub-folder-1/ is a perfectly valid URL. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
- Underscores cannot be used in domain names, however they can be used in subfolders. You can often see URLs like www.example.com/sub_folder/ that work just fine.
Other punctuation styles, with the exception of . The. cannot use in URLs beyond the parameters. Domain names can only be used to include numbers, letters as well as hyphens. The periods are used to facilitate technical reasons. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
The Spammy Exact Match Domain Issue
The first place we face roadblocks when using the use of hyphens in domain’s name comes from the long-standing abuse of domain name. The primary cause of this problem was domains that exactly match. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
In the past when domains that were exact match were used to give a boost to the search rankings. The concept was that a site that was focused on a specific search term would be able to provide higher quality content to match that particular keyword than one with a broad URL. The URL could provide information about the site, which would mean you would know whether it was the right location before you even visited it. It was, in general advantageous to have your website named after the specific area.
This of course meant that the desire to gain every ounce of value was what drove webmasters to build every exact match possible in all their keywords. They often created duplicate websites or spun sites which were essentially web pages that lead back to the central “money webpage.” Then they were an excellent indicator that the site on opposite ends was most likely to be a scam. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
In the year in 2012 Google released an update in 2012 that drastically reduced the value of the value of an exactly match website. This led many expert SEO professionals to think that the use of an exact match domain was now a crime but that wasn’t the situation. The value changed between 100 and 20, instead of negative, as some believed. Google has, through a number of algorithmic updates since, been pushing for a solid branding. If you can make a solid brand out of The-Best-Silver-Faucets.com, by all means, go for it. If not make it, you should create something that you are able to. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
How do hyphenation play a role in this case? Numerous exact match domains employed hyphens to help their specific match keyword stand out more clear. This was done to improve humans’ readability above all else; exact match domains with and without hyphens function exactly the same. Hyphens are so rare that they don’t get noticed in the same way beyond EMDs. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
Domain Accessibility and Competition
A reason why some people are thinking of using hyphens when the domain they’re looking for isn’t available and a hyphenated copy is. As an example If SEOBlog.com was blocked and I did not want to spend money on the domain parker to purchase it, I might opt to SEO-Blog.com. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
There are a few advantages of this, such as not needing to pay a prohibitive cost to park a domain when such a cost exists. However there are some issues that come with it too. The issue lies related to competition.
Let’s say I want to create a blog for SEO however, SEOBlog.com is no longer available. I decide to create SEO-Blog.com. How do I convey it? How can I promote it? If I speak about it in person and tell them I’m the owner of the website should I refer to it as “SEO blog that has an underscore” as well as “SEO Hyperbolic Blog” and “SEO dieh-style blog”? The first one is likely to be forgotten The second one is funny, and the third one could lead them to check out SEODashBlog.com.
Also, SEOBlog.com’s owners SEOBlog.com might be able to spot what’s an obvious trademark infringement and take actions against SEO-Blog.com. Similar things could occur in the event that a competitor creates SEOblog.net or SEOblog.org or something else you’d like to call it. I can’t start my own beverage company with cokacola.com in the same way, since Coke owns coka-cola.com in a reverse scenario. It’s likely why it’s still parked.
Other Human Comprehension Issues
I mentioned this earlier in the past, but the way that humans perceive URLs is vitally important. Basically, imagine that someone hears about your website in the news. Are they able to remember your URL sufficiently to connect it to an internet-connected device later?
- SEOblog.com is a good site.
- SEO-blog.com is even more problematic, since you must convey to users the fact that there’s a hyphen and users must keep in mind that there’s a punctuation mark there.
- My-SEO-Blog.com is more obnoxious, since it has added another hyphen, and a third word, a generic one to reduce any clarity. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
It’s also the exact reason not to include numbers in your domain name although you are able to. You shouldn’t intend to do so unless that you have the ability to create the brand. 7-11’s brand is built on their name, and therefore they’re able to do so using 711.com. But the truth is that they actually utilize 7-eleven.com. They own 711.com as well as seveneleven.com both of which redirect to their domain name.
Human factors are the reason you must always strive at the .com instead of a different TLD. It’s a clever idea to call your website del.icio.us however the reality is that a large part of your visitors would like to type in delicious.com. Many companies that choose bizarre TLDs to create an expression end up rebranding or being that .com form of the word to attract the users who enter it wrong. – Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo
Hypens aren’t the only way to cause more harm, however. Sometimes it can be needed for clarity since the URL isn’t dependent on the case. For instance, a guy known as Ben Dover probably doesn’t want bendover.com. Many people first read the site in the context of Bend Over and assume it’s porn.
It’s easy to… don’t bother with it. bendover.com is a domain that has been parked as well as ben-dover.com is a porn-related website. The counterexamples do not solve the fundamental problem.
Utilizing an Human Readable URL Format
Hyphen Dash Hurt Seo – This is applicable to the main website however, what about the subfolders and parts of the URL that follow the .com? There, you can choose to use whatever you want. Hyphens, underscores and underscores are all legal. It all boils down to what’s most effective for you and your target audience.
I prefer to use a the hyphenated format. It is usually regarded as the standard “human accessible” format used by CMSs such as WordPress. This is due to the fact that the other format was either numbers or parameters. Which one do you prefer to examine?
The most common answer is the third. The first one is packed with code that makes it look messy , and contains dynamic data that is issues with its own. The second one is good but doesn’t convey much about the site. The third, however it may have some keywords in it and may be beneficial to a user.
The issue with parameters in fact, is because of duplicate content. If each visitor has an ID for each session Multiple visits by the Google bots will view the same page with different URLs. Even if it’s the exact page the dynamic URL creates problems. This is the reason why Canonicalization is a necessity.
In the final analysis, it’s your choice. may utilize hyphens when you like however it’s not advised if it could be avoided. The issues are numerous and there aren’t any real benefits unless you really require the clarification.