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Domain Names Forum

This 60 message thread spans 2 pages: 60 ( [1] 2 > >     
Non hyphenated vs hypenated names
Buster42




msg:694780
 2:05 am on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am thinking of registering a name that is 4 words long.

apple, orange, banana, pear.

I'm thinking of registering appleorangebananapear.com AND apple-orange-banana-pear.com.

Q. Do people prefer a name with or without hyphens?

 

digicam




msg:694781
 9:22 am on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

unhyphenated without a doubt, 4 words is probably one too many as well.

cheers

yesonline




msg:694782
 12:17 pm on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

If a very long domain name such as the one you mentioned, I think you should go for a hypenated one is better.If possible, take the non hypenated domain also.

Stu_Rogers




msg:694783
 4:14 pm on Feb 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Always go for both versions.

Hyphenated version is easier to read, un-hyphenated version is easier to type.

Different users will tend to prefer one or the other so you can't afford to miss anyone.

nonni




msg:694784
 6:24 pm on Feb 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Also, if the name is hyphenated, the search engines give brownie points for the individual words in calculating rank. If it is all mashed together in one compound word then it is seen as one long word that appears on your page but no where else on the internet - the title of the non-hyphenated version would bear less fruit.

Stu is right - go for both. Most people type in compound words, but some people and search engines do think in hyphens.

joshuaoldham




msg:694785
 10:42 pm on Feb 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

yes take both id say. get them cheap from someplace, so you dont get to much of a dint put in your pockets if thats an issue. and when/if you want to start any SEO on it use the hyphenated version, as search engines love it like the dude above said. and advertise as hyphenated version, then people can read and understand it better, and then if some guy feels like typin it in without hyphens everyone wins! :D

Josh

leppjc




msg:694786
 10:53 pm on Feb 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

my 2 cents: If this is going to be any kind of long term website that you intend to brand, you want to give this some more thought.

In that case - 4 words probably is too long with or without hyphens. If you intend to use this with email in my experience (we have only one hyphen in our name), it takes extra effort to ensure that people get the hyphen correct when you are explaining it to them verbally. If we had known then what we know now - it would be without a hyphen.

If you must use hyphens - register with & without as suggested.

willybfriendly




msg:694787
 11:01 pm on Feb 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

does-se-like-hyphen-anymore.com

not-so-sure.org

often-signals-spammy-site.biz

given-choice-choose-brand.co.uk

If I were running an SE, I would seriously discount newly registered URLs with multiple hyphens. People only register these things for one reason.

What worked 2 years ago may not work today. I think there is staying power in a branded domain name, so go with branding if you plan to be in it for the long haul.

I just checked a niche I operate in and there was only one hyphenated domain in the top 20. That was my site, and it has had the single hyphen since 1998 or 1999. It is not #4 because of the hyphen - of that I can assure you. Makes me wonder if it would pop up a spot or two if I used the non-hyphen domain, which I also own now.

A quick peek for "cheap tickets" (the kind of search that used to have really-long-keyword-stuffed-domains-about-cheap-tickets.com) doesn't show a single hyphenated domain in the top 20.

Both searches were done on G

WBF

Jon_King




msg:694788
 11:07 pm on Feb 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

For my experience the name is too long, but thats another subject.

You should register both. Choose the one without hyphens for the main site and redirect the hypenated ip to that. IMHO

Martin40




msg:694789
 4:19 pm on Feb 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

If I were running an SE, I would seriously discount newly registered URLs with multiple hyphens.

Search engines have already made a move against domains with multiple keywords, but I don't see how the hyphens make a difference. If the four words make up an actual key-phrase (that people search for), then of course it's legitimate.

That domains without hyphens would be better is primarily a matter of direct navigation, or if you advertise on traditonal media, but on the net hyphens are fine, imo.

Webwork




msg:694790
 4:53 pm on Feb 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

domains without hyphens would be better is primarily a matter of direct navigation, or if you advertise on traditonal media, but on the net hyphens are fine

Pretty well sums the issue up.

Whether there's an added .5 point out of 100 point search engine ranking benefit to "separate words" is an issue and a fact that is likely to vary from year to year and search engine to search engine.

My money, for the long haul, is bet on the outcome that hyphens won't matter to SEs. However, what you see in the SERPs when it comes to word-word-word-word domains is not people concerned about the long haul.

Different strokes for different folks at different moments in different search engines.

Bottom line: Diversify.

willybfriendly




msg:694791
 10:26 pm on Feb 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

If the four words make up an actual key-phrase (that people search for)

And there is the rub.

Sites built for searches are vulnerable.

Notice that I said "sites". Pages built for searches may come and go, but the site needs to be a constant (if one is in it for the long haul).

www.mybrand.com/fruits/oranges.htm is a far cry from www.apples-oranges-mango-kumquats-limes-to-go.com, or, www.applesorangesmangokumqatslimestogo.com

Are you building for your visitors or for the SE's? The SE's will betray you sooner or later, but a loyal visitor/customer might just be forever.

WBF

Martin40




msg:694792
 9:48 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

You're absolutely right. Not everyone agrees, but I think that SEs use more quality measures than just links and in the longer run a search engine figures out a site's quality.

Am I allowed to post a URL? I've got a marvelous example of keyword rich domain, which I don't think is spam, because it exactly describes what the company does.

Even if a domain is spammy, I don't think that's enough to get it penalized - it's probably just a warning signal that the site could be spam. If several of such signals combine, then a search engine's spam detection team will go and take a look at the site.

Kufu




msg:694793
 10:53 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

but I don't see how the hyphens make a difference.

Hyphens do make a difference. Search engines especially Google do not like hyphenated domains, and do indeed see them as an attempt to spam.

If you are going to use hyphens then make sure that the domain doesn't have more than one hyphen. I personally would opt for a .ws before i buy a hyphenated domain.

Another good point was made earlier, that if you need to hyphenate that much then you probably have too long of a url.

Kirby




msg:694794
 12:09 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

>People only register these things for one reason.

because so many domains are gone? In many cases these are the best option. It doesnt mean spam and they are easier to read.

>Hyphens do make a difference. Search engines especially Google do not like hyphenated domains, and do indeed see them as an attempt to spam.

You do not know that and there is a ton of hypenated domains sitting atop the Google serps that are not spam and are not hurt by the hyphens.

willybfriendly




msg:694795
 4:02 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

because so many domains are gone? In many cases these are the best option. It doesnt mean spam and they are easier to read.

Since when? I picked up a 7 letter .com domain a little over a month ago that captures the site perfectly. Brandable? Definitely. Type in traffic? Probably not much, but maybe a wee bit since it is a possible typo.

A brick and mortar coffee drive through is not going to name themselves "Hot-Espresso-To-Go". But, a web site could name itself "cofeenut.com" (which is available as I write this - and is only a slight mispelling. Have at it)

WBF

pageoneresults




msg:694796
 4:08 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've purchased maybe 4, possibly 5 hyphenated domains over the years. And those were just single hyphens. As an experienced searcher, I typically avoid results with too many hyphens in the URI and file path. Overly SEO'd sites don't do a whole lot for me. I'll buy from the underdog 7 out of 10 times. ;)

Just because a hyphenated domain is available does not mean that there won't be any legal consequences. I would make sure that the non-hyphenated version is not in use and I'd also make sure there were no trademarks registered with the name operating in the same industry.

If you absolutely have to have that hyphenated version, and the non-hyphenated version is not in use, have you thought about making an offer?

Just a couple of things to think about.

No hyphens! They are a usability nightmare. Very difficult to brand. Just like sub-domains. People just are not used to entering a hyphen in a domain name. Not the average surfer anyway. :)

old_expat




msg:694797
 5:18 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Search engines have already made a move against domains with multiple keywords, .."

In my *pretty competitive* niche, the top 3 spots on Google have multiple *word* domains. Top 2 are multiple keyword domains.

2 of the first 10 are virtual domains (one government site, one is *****.yahoo.com)

Only 2 are clearly *single word* domains .. and both are keywords.

All of the Page 2 results have multiple keyword domains.

old_expat




msg:694798
 5:26 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Search engines especially Google do not like hyphenated domains, and do indeed see them as an attempt to spam."

Not necessarily. In the same example cited above, #2 is hyphenated. Keyword-keywordkeyword.com.

BTW, *I* consider the site as SPAM (it's a link directory), but Google apparently likes it.

Kufu




msg:694799
 6:38 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Old_expat,

There are of course always sites that slip through the algo, and show up on the first page. For one of my keywords which I am desperately trying to break into top 30 in Google, the third site in the SERPs is a domain with nothing on there (not even parked). Go figure.

Generally, hyphenated domains are considered to be spammy. Of course one hyphen should really be fine, but once you go past one, then it gets into shady territory.

Pankaj_lis




msg:694800
 8:48 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think hypernated domain names is what people will have to opt for in future, if u want example###.com and is booked, u would be happy with example-###.com. Infact this sounds and makes a better feeling. but simultaniously with or without hypens long domain names are not preferable. there are other ways and means to optimise your website. always remember your name is "mack" its easy to remember but if it is "mackcurrentchoclateicecream" do u think anybody would be interested in saying the whole thing. People like to visit sites with names they can easily remember.

[edited by: Webwork at 2:15 pm (utc) on Feb. 15, 2006]
[edit reason] Charter [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]

JasperSEO




msg:694801
 9:24 pm on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

A recent book <snip> says G was going to start penalizing hyphenated sites.

Of all the arrogant, highhanded tricks Google has pulled, this one is really at the top. I can think of good reasons why someone would use hyphens in a domain name, other than for an SEO advantage.

For example, several years ago, I created a site for a friend of mine who had a small shop in a small town. Let's say it was called My Business Name. She named it after a classic book in her field. Well, mybusinessname.com and .net were taken, so I got the hyphenated version for her. It's been like that for five years, and I have no intention of changing it. She doesn't get much traffic, but either way, using the unhyphenated version is not an option.

Another situation would be when someone has a three-word name and the middle word is an acronym. Let's say you have a site that explains the ins and outs of the GNU license and you call it Public GNU Info. For human consumption you'd probably write it PublicGNUInfo.com, which at first glance might appear to be Public GNUI nfo. Here's a case where hyphens would simplify the whole matter.

I can see hyphenated names being on a par with unhyphenated ones, but to penalize them is just stupid.

[edited by: Webwork at 12:48 pm (utc) on Mar. 15, 2006]

Kirby




msg:694802
 6:07 am on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

From Matt's blog:

Matt Cutts Said,
March 7, 2006 @ 8:30 pm

We donít use hyphens as a spam signal.


walkman




msg:694803
 2:20 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would get another name, period. 4 words is 2-3 too many, and serves no value when it comes to branding. Either way it's too long, but if you get a hyphenated one, Google and other SEs will think you got it to spam.

graywolf




msg:694804
 2:29 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Last year for the movie chicken little Disney registered and used in movie trailers, other promotions the domain

the-sky-is-falling.com

While it is turned off now you can check the whois.

While I agree multi hyphenated domains look spammier initially, if a major trusted brand, like Disney, uses hyphens the spam factor goes away.

Webwork




msg:694805
 2:31 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

if you get a hyphenated one, Google and other SEs will think you got it to spam.

If true that wouldn't bode well for the World Tourism Organization, a/k/a www.World-Tourism.org:

"The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO/OMT), a specialized agency of the United Nations, is the leading international organization in the field of tourism."

[google.com...]

Looks like www.World-Tourism.org website is ranking #1 amongst 392,000,000 results. Not bad for a hyphenated domain.

What does this mean for hyphenated domain names?

Probably not much. 1 hyphen does not make for definitive evidence of an intent to exploit a search engine's ranking quirks.

3 or 4 hyphens? Maybe . . no, highly likely, absent evidence of an associated UN Charter. :)

FWIW, here's my hyphenated domain strategy:

1. IF the 2 word domain is a very high search results count for an "exact match" AND IF the 2 word phrase is very commercial AND IF the phrase relates to some activity that is very much an online activity THEN I'll seek to acquire the domain. If in the aftermarket I'll likely value it at 1-10% +/- of the value of the non-hyphenated generic industry descriptive 2 word phrase. These are 2 word phrase domains such as "online abcxyz" or "internet abcxyz" or "web-abcxyz", with results in the millions. Some exceptions may apply for lower search result counts.

2. I may pick up the non-hyphenated AND hyphenated version of domains that I intend to develop, just to guard my flank. Indeed, if the promotion of the website will be exclusively online I may choose to develop the hyphenated version and redirect the non-hyphenated version - on a case my case basis.

3. I don't think I'm the registrant of any domain with more than 1 hyphen, although there are some industry grade phrases for which 3 word domains make sense (and make cents, I'm sure).

[edited by: Webwork at 3:06 pm (utc) on Mar. 8, 2006]

trillianjedi




msg:694806
 2:58 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

If it is all mashed together in one compound word then it is seen as one long word

Not anymore - the SE's have moved on quite a bit in the last year or two.

TJ

volatilegx




msg:694807
 3:42 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Tim Mayer said (at the Orlando WebmasterWorld conference) that Yahoo penalizes hyphenated domain names. That being said, I have a whitehat site in a competitive keyword space with two hyphens in the domain name that does extremely well in all the search engines.

Enviromed




msg:694808
 4:06 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

What do you recommend about hyphens in the subdomain names?

Kufu




msg:694809
 4:29 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)


From Matt's blog:

Matt Cutts Said,
March 7, 2006 @ 8:30 pm

We donít use hyphens as a spam signal.

not if it is just one hyphen; but once you start having 3 or 4, then the domain becomes clearly suspect, because there are very few times where you'd want a long domain like that if you are not trying to spam the URL.

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