I think Google tightened up the over optimization penalty threshhold recently. It's not just on hyphenated domains but it is often easier for them to get hit harder when that happens.
[edited by: Jane_Doe at 5:31 pm (utc) on May 18, 2006]
I see no difference - I have 2 hyphenated domains and 2 non- that I observe daily.
All are doing much the same, bar minor fluctuations which are more noticeable for search terms that appear further down the SERPS.
Unless one uses multiple hyphens, which can be indicative of spammy domains, I still have complete confidence in a domain name with a hyphen, especially where the hyphen makes the domain name easier on the eye and/or easier to type without spelling mistakes by tokenising the name.
For example, I'd reckon a (fictitious) site about search results in google is *much* better served for visitors by google-res.com not googleres.com
|Do you own a hyphenated domain? |
Is your site affected?
Yes, on three of our sites we have discussion boards that have produced a good number of indexed pages over the years that pull good traffic. Two are hyphenated domains and one is not. The non-hyphenated domain is doing fine; the other two are down over 95% in pages indexed.
I don't believe this is a penalty; a problem for sure, but right now Iím not ready to start believing Google is penalizing sites because there is a hyphen in the domain.
I do believe we are seeing a real fundamental shift in how these guys are data mining, and its going to result in some changes.
How many hyphens?
How many in the URI itself?
How many used in the file naming conventions e.g. page names?
I have a lot of domains with 1 hyphen - all's status quo - rankings remain the same.
Certainly doesn't appear to be a system-wide penalty agianst hyphenated domains. ( or at least those with 1 hyphen ).
[edited by: bobothecat at 5:35 pm (utc) on May 18, 2006]
|How many hyphens? |
How many in the URI itself?
How many used in the file naming conventions e.g. page names?
|We own a hyphenated domain name, our site is down to 24 pages. Just wondering, anyone with a hyphenated domain in the same boat? |
Just wondering, why do you think your hyphenated domain is the reason for your site going down?
My domain is not hyphenated, but my site is not going up!
Very interesting - I have a website which has a forum on it. Almost EVERY single page that was indexed with more than 1 hyphen in the page name has gone!
I used an SEO product to get the file names prettier than?t=#*$!xxx. Pages are currently /forums/txxx-blue-widges.htm
Matt did suggest using dashes instead of underscores here : [mattcutts.com...] I wonder if things have changed?
Whether lots of hyphens in page names has an impact on ranking is a different question.This thread is about hyphens in the domain name, not the page file name. Please, let's stay focused on just the domain name issue here, thanks.
Note that Matt Cutts' own site uses many hyphens
in the page names, but none in the domain name.
I have 2 .com sites, one with one without hyphens. One with is doing fine but unfortunately it is not my bread and butter. Non-hyphenated site is down 95% - similar situation to Randle.
Mentioned elsewhere it doesnt bode well for Google, that webmasters all over are following the **rules** with good white-hat SEO, great content, yet are being turfed out on the street. Out of desperation they now having to spend even more time analysing innocuous variables like hyphenation. I just wish the search engine market was less dominated by one player (especially here in the UK where Goliath has 80% of the market). Then we wouldn't have to worry so much about every little Google muscle spasm.
|Out of desperation they now having to spend even more time analysing innocuous variables like hyphenation. |
You almost got it right. It should be:
|Out of desperation they now having to spend even more money on Adwords. |
This topic was also discussed here:
I have a site that lost 90% of it's index over the past week. It has a hyphen in the name. My other sites are just fine.
I have a hyphen not because of SEO or anything, but because if I didn't, it would be a confusing domain name, both to type and to remember (basically the same letters would be up against one another).
I also own the non-hyphenated version of the domain name, but I wouldn't switch to it because with the hyphen it's easy to read and type (and it's been around for almost a year).
I don't think this is a matter of hyphenation though - I think it's bigger. I lost all of my backlinks I had since around October/November, backlinks that I had in the past few weeks, and that still exist on the sites (and these aren't spammer sites, they are very big and very popular, and the backlinks aren't trackbacks, etc., but actual links the people running those sites published and the sites themselves all average at minimum a PR of 7, and most are 8).
Is this considered hyphenated. It's not two words just hyphen between two letters.
|Is this considered hyphenated. It's not two words just hyphen between two letters. |
Yep... a hyphen is a hyphen :)
Never thought this may be an issue..
We own our domain for seven years now..
We own the domain w/o the hyphen as well, but being that we are established with thy hyphen we where recommended not to start up with a new domain.
However, if hyphen is an issue..Who knows maybe we will be forced to switch some day..
Our site dropped majorly (from #3 to #516) for one of our good keywords. The site is not a hyphenated domain name. Seems pretty interesting. As looks very extreme, I will not panic for a week, maybe two. I'll re-post our status in a week. Does anyone else think this could be some kind of minor update?
I can't see much
I have had quite some difficulties getting a site on a hyphenated domain to rank for the two words in the domain name. And it is still, after almost two years buried.
However, it ranks as #1 for a search for the first of the two words only.
So no, I wouldn't say there is a penalty for hyphenated domains, but using a keyword1-keyword2.com type of domain, but it's quite easy for Google to tell what two words you are optimising the site for... (and to add any over optimisation filters accordingly).
My only sites that are up this month have hyphens in their domain names. Two with 1 hyphen each and one with 3. The 3 hypen domain is up about 100% for the month and today beat its previous record day by noon.
i've been hearing the various hyphen theories for years, and the only one that I buy is that it might be used as a quality trigger in combination with a lot of other factors. I seroulsy doubt that it directly affects ranking on its own.
I don't buy any theory for one or two hyphens in the domain leading to sites being penalised.
I could believe having four or more hyphens leading to a closer inspection of other factors, then maybe leading to a ban.
Crude spam fighting, not entirely accurate but incredibly effective, not saying all hyphenated domains are spammy but ...
There is ALWAYS collateral damage when an algo tightens up.
|The only one that I buy is that it might be used as a quality trigger in combination with a lot of other factors. |
That's also the one I subscribe to. Typically the more hyphens, the louder the signal. One or two hyphens in a domain (URI) is no big deal. But, add a third, fourth, fifth, and then combine that with 3 and 4 word keyword phrase hyphenated directory and file names and you may have some issues. Add in all the other things that usually accompany that type of structure and you have a recipe for failure.
One and two hyphen domains doing just fine, up a little bit.
I see no hypenated domains in my sector that have gone down significantly.
The consensus here is that one and two hyphen domains are not being penalized, and I definitely see the same thing. I think anyone having troubles needs to look at the many other factors that can affect ranking.
Matt admitted there's something up with the hyphenated domains in his blog....so apparently they were messing with it..........
From Matt's blog.....
|- The team refreshing our supplemental results checked out feedback, and on May 5th they discovered that a ďsite:Ē query didnít return supplemental results. I think that they had a fix out for that the same day. Later, they noticed that a difference in the parser meant that site: queries didnít work with hyphenated domains. I believe they got a quick fix out soon afterwards, with a full fix for site: queries on hyphenated domains in supplemental results expected this week. |
Hyphenated domains are easier to get spam penalties on because people often link to the domains using the exact same words for anchor text as the words in the domain.
Don't think penalty, think less or no weight given to the words in the url.
Maybe that's what's happening..or maybe it's just a coincidence.
|Don't think penalty, think less or no weight given to the words in the url. |
Looks like penalties to me.
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