Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.196.243.192

Forum Moderators: open

Message Too Old, No Replies

+ vs _ in the URL

Mod rewrite

     
4:56 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 7, 2002
posts:44
votes: 0


I am using modrewrite and it creates + instead of _ in the URLs. Is google OK with this or is there a simple way to change this to_?

Thanks for any help

4:13 am on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 5, 2003
posts:137
votes: 0


try the HT Access forum.
12:48 pm on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:June 12, 2003
posts:702
votes: 9


For SEO reasons, I am not sure why you rather use an underscore (_) then a hyphen (-). Plus signs (+) probably work as well as hyphens, but underscores make a file name such as /my_page.html look like /mypage.html, whereas a hyphened file name such as /my-page.html looks like /my page.html (two words) in the eyes of the engines.

Of course Google is now highlighting both in the SERPs but tests have not shown otherwise.

1:13 pm on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 5, 2003
posts:137
votes: 0


that's odd....i work at an SEO firm and we always use the underscores _ instead of the hyphens (-) for seperating keywords in the url paths.

perhaps googleguy could pay us a visit and settle this once and for all.

1:47 pm on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 2, 2003
posts:3710
votes: 0


In the past GG has recommended the use of hyphens, however, as ever, he chose his language carefully. So far as I am aware, he has not stated categorically how underscore chars are treated.

Insofar as underscore is not a letter or digit you might reasonably expect it to be treated as a separator, but what happens when searching for function names such as URI_UNESCAPE? This could be treated as a search for "URI UNESCAPE" with almost the same effect. If Google were to use this strategy, underscore chars in urls could be safely treated in the same way as hyphens.

Perhaps, with a little experimentation, you could test whether Google does treat underscores as I have suggested.

Kaled.

2:01 pm on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jdmorgan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 31, 2002
posts:25430
votes: 0


> perhaps googleguy could pay us a visit and settle this once and for all.

[webmasterworld.com...] message #8

Jim

9:14 am on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:May 2, 2003
posts:27
votes: 0



As a programmer, I can say it's likely that underscore is treated like any other alphabetic character, such that two words separated by underscores would be read by google as one word. Just as we don't read boathouse as "bao" and "house" separated by a "t".

But that's assuming Google is following standards. I can't understand why Google wouldn't downweight "-" considering it's used so widely in doorway pages and the like.

12:52 pm on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:May 12, 2002
posts:4479
votes: 0


>I can't understand why Google wouldn't downweight "-" considering it's used so widely in doorway pages and the like.

Because the hyphen is also used by non-spammy webmasters because it makes it clear what the page is about.

1:03 pm on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:July 17, 2003
posts:560
votes: 0


As far as I can tell both - and _ work. Look in the SERPS.
As for + I'd avoid it as I don't see it in the SERPS. It may be OK though
1:28 pm on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:July 3, 2002
posts:18903
votes: 0


An underscore visually "disappears" on underlined links.

It is better to use a hyphen. It reads more clearly, and the separated words will be treated as separate words.

12:46 am on Aug 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Feb 25, 2003
posts:2527
votes: 0


In searches, Google treats hyphens as though they are joining a word, not separating them.

Try a few:

'fun-fair' as opposed to 'fun fair'
or
'shot-gun' as opposed to 'shot gun'.

You'll see that Google lists the joint words (i.e. 'funfair' and 'shotgun') for the hyphenated versions.

1:54 am on Aug 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 15, 2004
posts:1300
votes: 0


it's likely that underscore is treated like any other alphabetic character, such that two words separated by underscores would be read by google as one word

This seems to be right, I searched:

allinurl:keyword1 keyword2 keyword3

and it returned only keyword1-keyword2-keyword3 urls, whereas underscores seem to be treated as letters, making keyword1_keyword2_keyword3 only findable by
allinurl:keyword1_keyword2_keyword3

But in the SERPS they clearly highlight key words in urls using underscores, so at least some of their system is able to correctly identify the underscore as a word separator, which is what it is. Why they made this decision is beyond me, underscore is clearly, and always has been, clearly a word separator, that's the first programming thing I learned almost. Whereas a - is supposed to hyphenate a single term. But if that's how they have decided to treat the symbols not much can be done about it.

9:03 am on Aug 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:July 3, 2002
posts:18903
votes: 0


The word highlighting is applied only to the SERPs output stream, not as a part of the underlying ranking algo.