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Hyphen or Underscore?

what's the best keyword delimiter?

     
4:24 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm wondering if anyone has concrete data on whether it's better to use a hyphen or an underscore to seperate keywords in a url. A hyphen seems more traditional for the web, but an underscore has always seemed more readable to me - has anyone got any comparative results, anecdotal or otherwise?
4:33 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Google [google.com] indexes _ so my guess is that a hyphen [google.com] would be better to speperate keywords.
12:28 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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LOL - good answer, now I know how to find out for myself ;D
2:07 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I thought google does not care for the keywords in the URL ?

Am I wrong ?

2:38 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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bcc1234,

From what I have seen, they don't care much about keywords in the URL, but that's different than
saying they don't care for them... What I mean is that all else being equal, an automotive repair
business called the "Car Shop" at car-shop.com isn't going to do any better or worse in the SERPs
than a car sales company that uses car-shop in its on-line sales URL as far as the search engine
cares. The "appeal factor" of the URL to Web surfers is an entirely different matter, though.

mortalfrog,

Two drawbacks come to mind about using underscore versus hyphen: One is that most users will assume
it's a hyphen, since hyphenated names for URLs and for people are common, and underscores are pretty
much a "computer thing". The other probem is that when presented as a link, the link underlining
in the browser often obscures the underscore, and it can look like an underlined space instead of an
underscore. So, it's a "usability" issue as well as an SEO decision.

Jim

3:31 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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For some reason my version of IE doesn't let me look at pages with an uderscore in the url. I have IE 5.5 with all the security patches etc installed, none of the patches have made any diffrence. I've tried to find a setting or something which might be doing this but no luck. I'm sure I'm not doing anything odd with my browser, and I've had the same problem on another computer (also running 5.5 but without any pathces). Mozilla lets me view these pages so I'm pretty sure it's a browser issue.

So no matter how well google indexes your page, if there's underscores in the url I just can't open it.

3:39 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Shelleycat,

Just a guess...
Try: Internet Options->Advanced->Always send URLs as UTF-8 (requires restart)
and see if that helps.

Jim

4:06 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I would go with hyphens, personally.
4:10 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I would go with hyphens, personally.

Yeah, underscores rank too well! :)

5:04 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I thought google does not care for the keywords in the URL ?

Maybe not but the text in the link pointing to your site sure does, and some of these links may be along the lines of <a href ..>domain.com/keyword-keyword.html</a>

6:15 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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> The other probem is that when presented as a link, the link underlining in the browser often obscures the underscore, and it can look like an underlined space instead of an underscore.

I've been a strong advocate of hyphens since the beginning. For both reasons jdMorgan brings up. I don't think I've ever used an underscore for anything. Oops, check that, I do use them in this instance... /_private. Its an FP thing.

8:06 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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http://www.google.com/search?q=allinurl:your+keyword+phrase

Let me know as soon as you find a result using an underscore. :)

Hyphens are treated as a blank space. Underscores are not.

Now if I could just get GoogleGuy to explain why there is such a difference in page counts when you search with hyphens.....

8:23 am on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Just a guess...
Try: Internet Options->Advanced->Always send URLs as UTF-8 (requires restart)
and see if that helps.

Hey wow, I turned this off and it works! Thanks Jim :)

I guess the point I was trying to make in my original message but forgot to add was: if I couldn't figure out how to make underscores work after a year and a half of trying, then there are sure to be lots of other people out there the same. So by using them in the URL you may be losing potential page views. I guess it depends on your target market, someone who knows more about how computers work than I do would probably have fixed this in a second.

Shelley

 

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