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the domain I am looking for is mywidgets.com - however, they are all bought and "parked" - no websites exist.
so i am thinking of buying "my-widgets.com" - with a dash - my question is - does it make a significant difference when it comes to search engine ranking? - especially considering the fact that the domains with the dash don't exist?
Please share your thoughts. Thank you
The main place where the dash would be a problem is for offline promotions. Dashes in domains are clumsy in spoken contexts, and if you promote it in print there will always be a few users who forget the dash when they type it in.
Be aware that working hard to promote a domain with a dash ... when someone else controls the domain without dash ... will increase the value of their domain as well as your own.
If you can live with those limitations, the domain name with the dash might work okay for you.
Think very, very hard to see if you can come up with a non-dash domain name, though. It will simplify life as your site grows.
Regardless of the hyphens, you will increase your rankings from the anchor text of inbound links as most people will link to your site as "My Widgets".
Search engines aside, I'd be hesitant on building a business on a second rate domain and run the risk that a competitor would buy the non-hyphenated version and leapfrog you.