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Search Engines and Keyword Domains With and Without Hyphens

2:50 pm on Feb 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi all,

I've been told that it might be better to seperate keywords in your URL with hyphens, as someone I spoke to believes that search engines can't differentiate keywords that aren't seperated. I'm a little dubious about this, so I thought I'd ask.

So for example I've been told that "examplewidget.com" wouldn't be readable to the search engines like "example-widget.com" would be.

I have no idea whether this is true or not. But I've always believed that hyphens in a URL aren't good because they can be poorly communicated to people.

Any clarification would be wonderful. Thank you in advance.
4:33 pm on Feb 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Search engines don't seem to have a problem deciphering my own "examplewidget.com" domains.

Hyphens can be a mixed blessing. Some word combinations are definitely easier for humans to read when they're hyphenated, but hyphenated domain names are awkward for communicating in spoken contexts.

So the merits of using a hyphen need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Ideally you want control of both versions, regardless of which one you actually use. In particular, you don't want the situation where you use a hyphenated domain but someone else has the non-hyphenated version.
2:18 am on Feb 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think he means more in terms of the page urls, not the MAIN DOMAIN NAME.

For example, examplewidget.com/awesome-cool-widgets.html

In fact, domain names with extensive use of hyphens are probably knocked by Google since its an obvious SEO tactic and mostly used by spammy webmasters.

On the other hand, Google DOES tend to favor keyword rich domain names without the hyphen.
3:43 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think hypen make domain name looks cheap and spammy, and also make domain name longer and hard to speak.

Hi Skape, hypen in URL is quite common, my (wordpress) site generate URL base on title (words seperate by hypen) of blog entry.

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