try the HT Access forum.
For SEO reasons, I am not sure why you rather use an underscore (_) then a hyphen (-). Plus signs (+) probably work as well as hyphens, but underscores make a file name such as /my_page.html look like /mypage.html, whereas a hyphened file name such as /my-page.html looks like /my page.html (two words) in the eyes of the engines.
Of course Google is now highlighting both in the SERPs but tests have not shown otherwise.
that's odd....i work at an SEO firm and we always use the underscores _ instead of the hyphens (-) for seperating keywords in the url paths.
perhaps googleguy could pay us a visit and settle this once and for all.
In the past GG has recommended the use of hyphens, however, as ever, he chose his language carefully. So far as I am aware, he has not stated categorically how underscore chars are treated.
Insofar as underscore is not a letter or digit you might reasonably expect it to be treated as a separator, but what happens when searching for function names such as URI_UNESCAPE? This could be treated as a search for "URI UNESCAPE" with almost the same effect. If Google were to use this strategy, underscore chars in urls could be safely treated in the same way as hyphens.
Perhaps, with a little experimentation, you could test whether Google does treat underscores as I have suggested.
> perhaps googleguy could pay us a visit and settle this once and for all.
[webmasterworld.com...] message #8
As a programmer, I can say it's likely that underscore is treated like any other alphabetic character, such that two words separated by underscores would be read by google as one word. Just as we don't read boathouse as "bao" and "house" separated by a "t".
But that's assuming Google is following standards. I can't understand why Google wouldn't downweight "-" considering it's used so widely in doorway pages and the like.
>I can't understand why Google wouldn't downweight "-" considering it's used so widely in doorway pages and the like.
Because the hyphen is also used by non-spammy webmasters because it makes it clear what the page is about.
As far as I can tell both - and _ work. Look in the SERPS.
As for + I'd avoid it as I don't see it in the SERPS. It may be OK though
An underscore visually "disappears" on underlined links.
It is better to use a hyphen. It reads more clearly, and the separated words will be treated as separate words.
In searches, Google treats hyphens as though they are joining a word, not separating them.
Try a few:
'fun-fair' as opposed to 'fun fair'
'shot-gun' as opposed to 'shot gun'.
You'll see that Google lists the joint words (i.e. 'funfair' and 'shotgun') for the hyphenated versions.
|it's likely that underscore is treated like any other alphabetic character, such that two words separated by underscores would be read by google as one word |
This seems to be right, I searched:
allinurl:keyword1 keyword2 keyword3
and it returned only keyword1-keyword2-keyword3 urls, whereas underscores seem to be treated as letters, making keyword1_keyword2_keyword3 only findable by
But in the SERPS they clearly highlight key words in urls using underscores, so at least some of their system is able to correctly identify the underscore as a word separator, which is what it is. Why they made this decision is beyond me, underscore is clearly, and always has been, clearly a word separator, that's the first programming thing I learned almost. Whereas a - is supposed to hyphenate a single term. But if that's how they have decided to treat the symbols not much can be done about it.
The word highlighting is applied only to the SERPs output stream, not as a part of the underlying ranking algo.