Quadrille - 9:09 am on Oct 2, 2011 (gmt 0)
Quadrille's Oft-Quoted 14th Law is quite clear on this issue: More than one hyphen is international shorthand for idiot webmaster; More than two hyphens is Galaxy-wide shorthand for "I'd be a spammer if only I knew how".
But that was written a good while ago, and SEO moves on, indeed, the URL of that article is "/articles/quadrilles-law.shtml".
It is common sense to have a URL that reflects the page content, and most SEOs - and Google - have no problem with intelligent use of hyphens, but the key word there is 'intelligent'.
Folder and file name titles are one of hundreds of factors that Google considers (and, I'd guess, the lesser engines too), and they are very small factors in the great scheme of things.
So while it may be time to update Quadrille's Oft Quoted 14th Law, one part of it needs little revision:
Using hyphens to ensure that a URL reflects page content is is fine, though it has minimal SEO value, but over-use of hyphens is Galaxy-wide shorthand for "I'd be a spammer if only I knew how"
The added advice still applies, too: "Who's counting? Not me. But it's the look of the thing; would you really spend money at:
It has never been good practice to 'SEO' for irrelevant terms, all that does is raise your bounce rate, and reduce return visitors, and keyword stuffing is as stupid and futile now as it has always been.
And Google isn't impressed, either.