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Hyphens in Domain Name

could the filter be the hyphens in the domain name

   
2:45 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Is it possible that google is applying a filter to domain names that have hyphens in them? www.domain-domain-domain.com?

Just a thought.

5:16 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Is it possible that google is applying a filter to domain names that have hyphens in them? www.domain-domain-domain.com?
Just a thought.

A bit of clarification ....
I've done a search on google for many terms and see that most of the domain names in the first three or more pages of results do not contain hyphens' in them.

Coincidence or not? Or is google saying "authority" sites do not have hyphens in their domain name? And lets filter them?

5:20 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Are you referring to domain names or urls.

Our site has actually both, ex:

www.domain-e.com
www.domain-e.com/domain-domain.com

We have only a small portion of our site indexed and we are doing very bad in SERP.

Anyone that has hyphens as domains and is having a problem should respond to this post. It would be very helpful..

5:21 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I'm refering to domain names
5:23 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)



I have several domains/sites with 1 hyphen in them - no problems with ranking.

Perhaps it might raise a flag if there are 2,3,4 or more, but that's just a guess. ( if nothing else it looks spammy ).

5:30 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Is it possible that google is applying a filter to domain names that have hyphens in them?

It is highly unlikely this is the cause of your problems unless you are taking it to an extreme. Anything is possible but spend your time first looking for more common causes than a general conspiracy such as this.

We have domains with hyphens that continue to do well, and others that continue to do poorly. We have never seen any correlation.

5:37 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It is highly unlikely this is the cause of your problems unless you are taking it to an extreme. Anything is possible but spend your time first looking for more common causes than a general conspiracy such as this.

I'm not spending a whole lot of time on it. It is just an observation. Lot's of guessing going on and this is just some more!

5:42 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



Perhaps it might raise a flag if there are 2,3,4 or more, but that's just a guess.

That would probably be a good guess. This discussion goes back many years and there is some validity to it.

If you were a search quality engineer and were responsible for cleaning up the SERPs, do you think part of your criteria may be sites that cross a certain threshold with the number of hyphens in their URIs?

Personally I think two in the domain name is max. Three and you've raised a red flag. Four and you'll be lucky to hold on. Five or more and your history.

6:25 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



hyphen domains also tend to be newer, I would guess.
7:13 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



For whatever it's worth, the only domain that I can't get to rank has a hyphen (only one).
I've tried everything short of sacrificing a goat. I guess many people have one domain that won't work.
10:43 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



>>Coincidence or not?

Coicidence. Matt has already put this one to rest.

11:14 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



Matt has already put this one to rest.

In what way? Please do expand. ;)

1:20 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Sometimes I just need 2 words.

I used to use underscores: word1_word2.htm.

Then I read a lot of statements that G doesn't perceive the two things as separate words with underscore, so I changed to hyphens: word1-word2.htm.

Now it seems dots are popular: word1.word2.htm.

I do find the dots easier to read than the hyphen, plus a litte, uh, somehow cooler.

Does it make a difference?

9:39 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Matt has already put this one to rest.

In what way? Please do expand. ;)

Ditto, I thought it was all suspicion? To announce it would simply push the domain market through the roof - I haven't seen that.

10:19 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Matt has already put this one to rest.

In what way? Please do expand.

Ditto, I thought it was all suspicion? To announce it would simply push the domain market through the roof - I haven't seen that.

In his blog Dashes vs. Underscores August 25, 2005 @ 12:29 am

To answer a common question, Google doesnít algorithmically penalize for dashes in the url. Of course I can only speak for Google, not other search engines. And bear in mind that if your domain looks like www.buy-cheap-viagra-online-while-consolidating-your-debt-so-you-can-play-texas-holdem-while-watching-porn.com, that may still attract attention for other reasons.

- George

10:26 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Then I read a lot of statements that G doesn't perceive the two things as separate words with underscore...

That is correct Google doesn't but Yahoo does index on keywords separated by underscores.

- George

10:26 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have never seen a quality site with more than one hyphen in the domain name!
10:59 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



Google doesn't seem to major on the minors, and I might be saying this in the wrong place, but they seem to have a fairly "gentle touch" in that it often seems that rather than inflict bans or heavy penalties they'll just withhold any benefit for doing some things when it comes to relatively minor things, as compared to some of the heavy-duty stuff that has to be dealt with.

>>That is correct Google doesn't but Yahoo does index on keywords separated by underscores.

Yahoo doesn't strike me as "gentle" at all, and never has. Sometimes it seems that they've genetically inherited some of that old Inktomi DNA.

I was checking the first 10-20 results doing some random searches at Yahoo this past week, and with all I looked at, there seemed to be a serious lack of hyphenated URLs.

It's unsettling for me because I've always used hyphens in directory and filenames (not domain names), simply so that I could keep track of which pages were what and where they should go within the site structure. Even so, it's not 100% comfortable, to me it looks spammy even though that isn't the reason at all. I got paranoid last year and tried to limit to 2 hyphens but now I'm tryig to eliminate them as much as possible - I just did massive 301 redirects on a couple of sites to get rid of hyphens in URLs, trying to leave a maximum of one, if absolutely necessary. It'll mean losing visible TBPR which has been stable for quite a while. The original interior pages on one rather important site were PR4 and the ones redirected to will now seem to be PR0 for a while, but to me it's worth it, at least to see what happens down the road. Not so much with Google, but with Yahoo.

11:03 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



And bear in mind that if your domain looks like www.buy-cheap-viagra-online-while-consolidating-your-debt-so-you-can-play-texas-holdem-while-watching-porn.com, that may still attract attention for other reasons.

I would take that statement to mean that having things like stop-words such as "so", "can" or spam words like "buy", "cheap" could be penalised rather than having more than one hyphen being bad. Obviously search engines would be crazy not to penalise domains with 4 or more hyphens even if they don't admit it. But the thought that 2 or 3 could be penalised doesn't sit right with me.

hyphen domains also tend to be newer, I would guess.

Exactly, new businesses or businesses slow to enter the internet ecommerce realm will not be able to buy non-hyphenated domains even for their own company name in most cases. I came in in 2001 and the non-hyphenated versions of two of my company names were already gone!

11:16 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It's unsettling for me because I've always used hyphens in directory and filenames (not domain names), simply so that I could keep track of which pages were what and where they should go within the site structure

Exactly what I've always done, did it long before I thought of any SEO advantage. I use coffeecup for drop and drag editing and it's invaluable for locating files.
Never more than 1 or 2 hyphens though, thankfully.

My current concern for any potential penalties are my wordpress URLs.
I am using the slug facility because, whilst I really like the title mimic feature, it does look spammy.

www.mysite.com/i-bought-myself-a-new-red-widget-today

Hopefully the engines will not come down on them but this climate of fear and paranoia forces me to think about such things

2:50 pm on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Somebody mentioned it is paranoya. I notice generaly that webmasters are sort of scared of Google Almighty. Google Almighty determine a lot how our business will go. People are scared, anxious and within anxiosity paranoya develops.

Anyway, hyphens started to be modern and Matt Cutts use it and some blog programs started to use it. Also, I noticed today that this new Google employer Adam (mentioned in Matt's blog) like to use hyphens so it seems that hyphens started to be modern for Google so I don't think that will fight sites using it AT THIS MOMENT.

10:53 pm on May 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Also, I noticed today that this new Google employer Adam (mentioned in Matt's blog) like to use hyphens so it seems that hyphens started to be modern for Google [...]

I'd be careful about drawing inferences from my personal blog, since I started it way before I was employed by Google. Just because my blog has [x] and doesn't have [y] doesn't mean you should emulate that :-)

With that said, yes, Google does draw distinctions in the hyphen realm, and I knew this (from reading public docs) before I started working at Google.

* * *

By the way...my colleague Vanessa highlights an important current issue Google is having with hyphenated domain names and the site: operator.

Specifically, she's noted that we've had some issues with our site: operator [sitemaps.blogspot.com] not returning appropriate results when used with hyphenated domains... so it's quite likely that much of the falloff you've seen is thankfully illusory.

We've noted similar discrepancies with site: searches using domains with a trailing slash as well.

And yes, Googlers are working to correct this stuff as quickly as possible!

11:29 pm on May 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



Are there any fixes coming up for any of the other oddities that WebmasterWorld people have been listing here in this forum (and out on Matt Cutts blog) for several weeks now?

It is great that the hyphenated-URL problem has been noticed and that a fix is coming, but it is just one of a number of oddites that people have recently been seeing in Google results.

12:01 am on May 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi g1smd,

I'll do what I can to post updates in the other relevant threads; I don't want to hijack this one :). Likely won't be 'til next week, though; I can only procrastinate cleaning my apartment for so long and also my friends may soon forcibly move me away from my computers this weekend ;)

3:01 am on May 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



"With that said, yes, Google does draw distinctions in the hyphen realm, and I knew this (from reading public docs) before I started working at Google."

Would we be better off renaming our domain to be w/o a hyphen?

We currently own the same domain name w/o the hyphen, however it's not in Google's index we have it 301 redirected to our hyphenated domain..

But the question is, do non hyphenated domains do better than hyphenated domains, if so maybe we are better off starting a new?

Please advise..

3:30 am on May 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Do what's best for your users.

Take a humorous but very real example:
expertsexchange.com is a site NOT about an adult topic but rather a site designed to facilitate experts helping each other.

Is there any wonder that they changed their domain to experts-exchange.com? ;-)

Unless your current domain name is confusing, I wouldn't bother changing it.

With regards to *filenames* (e.g., blue-widgets.htm)... if you're making a *new* site, I'd lean towards blue-widgets.htm instead of bluewidgets.htm or blue_widgets.htm

9:38 am on May 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I'd lean towards blue-widgets.htm instead of bluewidgets.htm or blue_widgets.htm

That's some seriously helpful info.

Sorry if I missed the memo, but where was the announcement that you really are Adam Lasnik? Normally there's a welcome thread for big shots on this forum. We've had our fair share of moles and fakes here, and I seem to remember something about ThatAdamGuy being Lasnik's username.

3:09 pm on May 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I had a load of keyword1-keyword2.com domains drop out of G two years ago. At the time the sites were between 1 and 2 years old. Since then G have continued to keep on decreasing the filter threshold.

I also have some older keyword-keyword domains that are holding fine for nowÖ but no doubt their days are numbered, that I am sure of. More recently Iíve noticed vaguelyrelatedtokeyword.com/keword1-keyword2.htm sites get hit but site age tends to determine your fate here more than anything.

If you reconfigure your perception of G, and realise that everything they do, without exception, is aimed at getting more companies opening Adwords accounts and surfers clicking Adwords ads then you can see the direction they are headed in.

G figure that if they target traditional methods of SEO, they will hit those that have become dependent on SE traffic for survival so they will have the best chance of getting these guys to subscribe to Adwords before going bust.

Google, despite itís friendly, cuddly image is a multi-billion dollar corporation with shareholders to answer to, not webmasters.

My humble 2 cents.

4:37 pm on May 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



where was the announcement that you really are Adam Lasnik?

The closest to an official thread: [webmasterworld.com...] -- and we've definitely authenticated the account.

12:05 am on May 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



o.k. some results are back for the hyphenated domains. However, they are all supplemental and don't appear to be in the regular index!
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