Most "Gurus" highly recommend domain names with keywords separated by hyphens.
WHY it seems that domain with hyphens are more favorable with search engine? The answer is NOT because Google like your keywords in your domain name. Keywords in domain and URL just take too little affect on ranking.
Then WHY the hell are domain names with hyphens did appear to rank better in SERPs? The answer lies in how people will link to you when you have a hyphenated domain name with keywords. Say, if you have a site
The site has good contents and people want to link to you. What will he CHOOSE to use as the anchor text? :) Most senior members will definitely know the power of anchor text, and for those who still not aware of it, DO your homework!
Even the site doesn’t have good contents, but you do a lot of link exchange, how do you think your link partners will link to you? :) Again, it is the power of anchor text, not the domain name itself. Or you may think that the hyphenated domain name help the rankings indirectly by helping or forcing people that want to link to you to decide what anchor text to use.
NOW, I know good domain names are all taken, and many of us have no choice but to use hyphenated domain names, even they look ugly, unprofessional and hard to type in the address bar. It all works fantastically for a long time, and rapidly the world wide web is crowed with lots of happy webmasters. They are happy because they do well with Google, pretty easily.
When there are more and more ‘happy kids’ that mess around the ‘house’, ‘mummy’ is now angry. So mummy arranges a happy meal for the happy kids - “Florida”.
Simply put, Google wants to control the manipulation of their SERPs, they want to take control of their own SERPs, not by the webmaster. Because, they don’t want to end up like Altavista which serve junk results because too many webmaster are able to manipulate the search results and get to the top.
So how do hyphenated domain linked to Florida? When excessive anchor text is matched with hyphenated domain name + if the keyword is competitive and commercial + most links come from link exchange + ….
If I am Google! I will safely assume that the webmaster is trying to manipulate the search results using tricks. Then I definitely filter this site out of SERPs. I will take the chance that this site might be a very precious, on-target site that the visitor wanted badly. (In Google guidelines, mummy asks you to be a good boy, concentrate on your site contents, build site for visitors, not for search engine and they will take care of your ranking, don’t manipulate!)
I know I am making myself unpopular here with this theory, as most people dislike changes that don’t go their way. But the fact is Google did wipe off a lot of sites since Florida. I thank them for their effort in ‘taking care’ of my competitors (some seems innocent).
Can you cope with the changes? Do you still believe that Google will not penalize you on how other people link to you? Do you still think hyphenated domain name can’t harm you indirectly? Do you still think Google will keep 10 manipulators because their imperfect-algo will kick your “innocent” site out of the SERPs if they run their Florida-Liked algo? Do you think Google want to end up like the once-big search engine like Altavista, Infoseek, Webcrawler and Hotbot? Do you think google is a “handsome” guy with “pretty face”?
Come on, if you want to receive traffic from Google, either cope with the changes, sail along with the wind, or use Adwords. :) I hope this article will extend your context.