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Hyphens in page names
I notice pages doing better without them
dougmcc1

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 7:29 pm on Oct 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Anyone else noticing page names without hyphens ranking better in Google? I used to optimize 2 doorway pages for each keyword my clients were promoting. I quit doing this awhile ago but I never took the pages down. After looking at these pages again I'm noticing that the pages without the hyphens seem to do better. Maybe it's just coincidence, that's why I'd like some feedback from you guys.

Thanks.

 

EBear

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 3:15 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Maybe Google has finally created the perfect algo - as soon as you stop optimising a page it rises ;)

stuntdubl

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 6:58 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

This was the best I could find:

A member starts a thread asking what is the best format for filename in Google's index, whether the seperate words with-hyphens, with_underscores, or with%20spaces. Other member note that in the past, GoogleGuy has suggested or hinted that hyphens are best. He now says is doesn't matter much.

GoogleGuy Says:
Shouldn't matter much. %20 is just ugly though. :)

I remember at one point GG saying that dashed domains with keywords offer a bit of an advantage because G will parse dashes but not underscores. Not sure if that still applies or not.

dougmcc1

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 3:40 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Maybe Google has finally created the perfect algo - as soon as you stop optimising a page it rises ;)

The thought did occur to me that maybe the pages named without hyphens were better ranked due to a reduction in the optimization for the page, but if that were so then I would expect a number of other SEO techniques to be taken into consideration at the same time. And I haven't noticed a drop in rankings, just that the pages without hyphens are ranking better.

GoogleGuy Says:
Shouldn't matter much. %20 is just ugly though. :)

Yeah but that was over 3 and a half months ago.

Just wondering if anyone else has noticed the same thing. If not then I'll have to assume the unhyphenated pages for the most part are just optimized better.

hazardtomyself

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 3:45 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

The pages I recently added have hyphens and are at the top of the SERPS competing with some big dogs who use the "_" underscore. I don't think hyphens are the reason though. My pages have more relevant content on them. It does not appear that hyphens, no hyphens, or underscore give a *significant* boost. I doubt seriously that the hyphen issue will ever make or break a page's position.

2_much

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 3:53 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

It matters so so little when it actually comes down to the ranking algo. Again, the most important thing is how people link to you based on the title of the site, if the title of the site contains the keywords and people use them, what the domain name is doesn't matter very much.

lawboy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 3:55 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just optimized a page and the url does not have hyphens. 90% of those ranking above me have hyphens for the same keywords in their urls.

Iguana

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 4:56 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you have a lot of links that point to you using the url then having hyphens can be useful because blue-widget.htm should be interpreted as the link text "blue widget htm"

dougmcc1

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 7:24 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

2much and Iguana, I understand that the page name probably matters little and I know that hyphens are treated as spaces in between words, but thanks.

hazard and lawboy, thanks also for your input but the page names themselves wouldn't have much bearing on the rankings.

I guess I should have asked the question like this in the first place:

Has anyone ever optimized two pages similarly (same keywords, same techniques) and used a hyphenated page name for one of the pages and underscores for the other? If so, did you notice any advantages using underscores over hyphens or vice versa?

The reason I started this thread is because hyphens make more sense, but I'm seeing better results with underscores (all things being almost equal). And though the page name doesn't matter that much, everything adds up. And I'm wondering if there is a much bigger reason for the unexpected results - such as hyphenated pages being red flags for SEO - or if it's just coincidence.

jon80

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 7:28 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Maybe the pages or domains made up of 5 or more hyphenated keywords set off the alarm bells.
I'm starting to notice more and more of these.

dougmcc1

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 9:25 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hmmm. Got any examples? If so, please sticky me.

Arnett

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 3:42 am on Oct 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I doubt seriously that the hyphen issue will ever make or break a page's position.

I started using hyphens and underscores when G stopped partial word matching. I use underscores for subdirectory names and file names. They're not legal in domain names. I have good ranking regardless.

I've noticed that many people still seem to be looking for the one factor that will get them ranking. There isn't one. It's a combination of things. If one factor worked everybody would use it and the results would be the same as they are now because it wouldn't change anything.

dougmcc1

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 3:06 pm on Oct 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have good ranking regardless.

many people still seem to be looking for the one factor that will get them ranking

*sigh* The question isn't whether or not the underscores are the reason for the good rankings.

Like I said, hyphens make more sense, but I'm seeing better results with underscores for nearly identical pages. I was kind of hoping someone would chime in and say "yeah I did that too and the pages named with hyphens/underscores ranked better than pages named with underscores/hyphens".

Vec_One

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 4:28 pm on Oct 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I suppose I'm in a good position to do a little experimentation because I'm currently creating about 20 pages like this:
www.widgets.com/service1/city
www.widgets.com/service2/city

I could try using hyphens, underscores, and nothing on different pages. There are many other factors, though, so the pages must be very similar to see the effect of the hyphen thing. The question is, how does one conduct a controlled experiment without creating duplicate pages? Does anyone have any suggestions?

dougmcc1

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17627 posted 9:18 pm on Oct 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hehe well I think this is overkill but what you could do is rewrite the text a little bit but try to keep the keywords in the same position. Only change the words that don't carry any weight, such as stop words. Change 'by' to 'from', 'great' to 'excellent', 'big' to 'huge', etc.

Title1: Blue Widgets by Company
Title2: Blue Widgets from Company
Title3: Blue Widgets at Company

H1:(Title1)
H2:(Title2)
H3:(Title3)

Sentance1:Get great blue widgets made by Company. Take advantage of our blue widget sale for big savings.

Sentance2: Get excellent blue widgets from Company. Check out our blue widget sale for huge savings.

Sentance3: Get wonderful blue widgets at Company. See our blue widget sale section for immense savings.

Have 2 or 3 paragraphs with the text written like this. Have very little code and keep it exactly the same on each page. Link to all 3 pages from the same page. And report back in 1 or 2 months with your findings. :)

<added>Actually you probably only need 2 pages because an underscore and no separator should have the same effect</added>

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