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dash or underscore - has this changed?
Reid




msg:749198
 7:13 am on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

I use kewords seperated by underscores on some file names but I read here that google cannot seperate the kewords because it reads underscored phrases as one_word and dashes as two-words.
I have made number one spot for a search for a two word phrase that my filename is keyword_keyword. This is in 22,400,000 results for a very competitive niche and a very significant phrase. (no competition in sight either because of an unrelated market beating everyone but me out so anyone searching this phrase with my niche in mind gets me only) I found this because the page is doing quite well, in fact it's my #1 page right now.
I was thinking of changing to dashes but now it appears that gooogle has no problem seperating key phrases with underscores.
Another observation I made is in place names those all in lowercase are highlighted in the filename but those that use a capitol firstletter in the filename (because it's a place) go un-highlighted in the results.

 

tedster




msg:749199
 5:08 pm on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think anything is changed here. Note this post from Adam Lasnik, the new Google liaison for webmasters:

May 20, 2006

With regards to *filenames* (e.g., blue-widgets.htm)... if you're
making a *new* site, I'd lean towards blue-widgets.htm instead of
bluewidgets.htm or blue_widgets.htm

[webmasterworld.com...] msg #26[/url]


Terabytes




msg:749200
 5:39 pm on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've always used underscores....however...

I noticed that the examples given at google coop utilize underscores in the filenames....and in THEIR pages...

(example)
www.google.com/coop/docs/guide_topics.html

just wanted to point that out....perhaps there is somthing to it...

I think (IMO) that G sometimes leaches out "misleading" information to throw off SEO efforts..

dunno....just a thought...

jimbeetle




msg:749201
 5:53 pm on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

He, he, he. Nobody ever said the person who produces pages at G is an SEO ;-)

I think (IMO) that G sometimes leaches out "misleading" information to throw off SEO efforts..

Well, if you don't trust 'em, the best bet is to run some searches on G using both the underscore and the dash and see how the results differ.

annej




msg:749202
 5:57 pm on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

it reads underscored phrases as one_word and dashes as two-words.

I don't know if this is related but I find on searches Google hilights the words from the search even if they are a part of a run together phrase just as it does with an underscore or dash.

If they can do it there can't they separate the words out in a search as well?

tedster




msg:749203
 6:11 pm on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the text highlighting on a SERP is a character match routine, run as a last step for the generated page, rather than an indication of whether that character string influenced the ranking algorithm or not. There's a definite disconnect between the algo and the bolded words.

Dash vs. hyphen is a minor issue, but for four years Matt Cutts has been saying that dashes would give the clearer signal. GoogleGuy has also posted this. Now Adam also says it. But if you have underscores in your file names (and I have both scattered around) you definitely can hold a key #1 spot. It's just a minor issue that can give a small bit of help. I'd especially say that changing a url with an established history for a small reason like this would be a foolish move, especially on today's Google.

g1smd




msg:749204
 9:42 pm on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Avoid spaces and underscores in URLs. There are various problems.

Use hyphens or dots instead. These are indexed just fine.

Reid




msg:749205
 5:38 am on May 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

ok so what I get from this is don't mess with a performing underscore filename but when you create new ones use hyphen.

b

activeco




msg:749206
 12:40 pm on May 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I noticed that the examples given at google coop utilize underscores in the filenames....and in THEIR pages...

(example)
www.google.com/coop/docs/guide_topics.html

Yes, but in the above example google can't recognize neither "guide" nor "topics" words. It is one word (this helps a lot by searching programming terms).

Try this:
inurl:"guide topics" site:google.com
(not recognized)
vs
inurl:guide_topics site:google.com
(recognized as one word)
vs
inurl:"egypt guide" site:google.com
("egypt-guide" recognized as both words)

mistah




msg:749207
 1:29 pm on May 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'd always understood that undrscores were preferable. However, Matt Cutts says otherwise - see [mattcutts.com ]

So now I've changed my mind and started using dashes.

Simsi




msg:749208
 1:39 pm on May 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Interesting observation as I noticed these last few days my two pages with underscores in the filenames have picked up in popularity. maybe just coincidence but they are ranking well for the first time ever.

berto




msg:749209
 2:57 pm on May 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have hundreds and hundreds of pages across a couple of older sites using underscores as separators. Although I am tempted to begin using hyphens for new pages, I figure it won't be worth the mental confusion. (Redoing existing file names and URLs, replacing underscores with hyphens, would be foolish.)

I have another site, launched last September, where I consistently use hyphens.

Despite using underscores on my older, more established sites, any new pages I create on those sites still rank well, in some cases really well.

In my experience, the benefit of using hyphens over underscores does indeed seem to be minor.

activeco




msg:749210
 6:19 pm on May 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

In my experience, the benefit of using hyphens over underscores does indeed seem to be minor.

This only means that url keywords bring minor points in overal scoring.

georgeek




msg:749211
 6:57 pm on May 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I read an interesting article recently on how Google, Yahoo and MSN treat hyphens, underscores and concatenation. No url drop allowed so search for "callipygian screak quindecillion" (the words used in the experiment) and its title is 'Keywords in urls'.

Reid




msg:749212
 1:29 am on May 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

good article georgeek

catch2948




msg:749213
 2:21 am on May 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

If this is the case, then Google must be treating search phrases with spaces in between the words as one long word. I am currently looking at a page 1 result (#8 out of 1.5 billion results) for a 2 word keyphrase. The keyphrase was entered as follows:

phraseword1 phraseword2

Google is highlighting as a match a page name that is as follows:

phraseword1_phraseword2.shtml

So I think that there is some funny business going on with the whole dashes vs underscores issue.

activeco




msg:749214
 8:29 am on May 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google is highlighting as a match a page name that is as follows:

Highlighting has nothing to do with the ranking algorithm.
See message #6 of this thread for the proper explanation.

Reid




msg:749215
 2:04 am on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm not so sure there is such a large disconnect between the highlights and the algo in my niche.
Placenames in a travel site. When i search for placenames it is not black and white but generally the bolded text is in the URL for the first page of results, bolded within the URL for the next page..in the description for the next page, there is a definite pattern to it.
like this with the keyword widget.
first page of results
#1 widget.gov
#2 widget.com
#3 highprsite/bignationaldirectory/widget.htm
#4 highprlocalsite/widget.htm
and on for page 1
#11 bestwidget.com
#12 widgetsrus.com
#13 bigname.com/widgetville/some.htm
and on to page 3
first lots of multiple mentions of keyword in description and then gradually peters off to less and less highlighted results.

I think it begins with this structure and then the algo addss or subtracts from that.

irock




msg:749216
 3:39 am on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Terabytes,

I think Google doesn't really care about SEO for their pages...

Then I could be wrong... remember that incident someone caught a Google service spamming on its own SE?

catch2948




msg:749217
 3:51 am on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

irock

You have a point ...

You might design your websites with 100% compliant HTML. But if you use Adsense, every page that has Adsense code will generate about 9 errors ...

Last year, I wrote Google about that one, and all I got was the standard canned answer "Don't alter Adsense code at all". I'm just wondering how much compliant HTML figures into the algorithm.

irock




msg:749218
 5:29 am on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

I also think all these underscore and dash thing will be a thing of the past (for Google at least) in near future. All these easy-to-implement tricks will just become somewhat 'unnecessary'... as people abuse the system.

All my keyword searches in my field yield ZERO listings with keywords with dash/underscore in the URLs. Perhaps my field is just too competitive.

Reid




msg:749219
 12:44 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

All these easy-to-implement tricks will just become somewhat 'unnecessary'... as people abuse the system.

using keywords in filenames is not a trick - its just good file structure. Like the title and H1 tag - the keyword is in the title of the document, just shows that the document title matches the search term - just basic common sense.
Think of it this way - most relevant results fo search keyword.
#1 official wesites bout keyword keyword.gov
#2 private websites about keyword keyword.com
#3 high PR dirctory with a listing about keyword highpr.com/keyyword.htm
#4 pages about keyword somesite.com/keyword.htm
#5 pages that mention keyword somesite.com/some.htm

SEO is about targetting words, pick the right ketwords that your target audience is searching for and then build the most relevant results for that word.

g1smd




msg:749220
 5:39 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

The bolding is added to the SERPs when they are delivered to your screen.

If I do a search for inurl:keyword you will see that the keyword is emboldened whenever it appears in a URL (those in green under the snippet), but also on some occasions when it appears in the title or in a snippet.

Reid




msg:749221
 9:32 pm on May 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

yes the bolding is added to the results but the results show (in bold) that the most relevant are usually intheurl (*for my niche anyway)

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