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I have always also owned the domain myownverygreenwidgets.com (without dashes), with a 301 to the main domain. Is it now time to make myownverygreenwidgets.com the main domain, and has anyone experienced improved Google results when switching a hyphenated domain to a non-hyphenated?
For a new site, there's still no disadvantage - and possibly a very small advantage to a hyphenated name. And there's no reason at all why it should harm an existing site.
However, do not forget Quadrille's Oft-Quoted 14th Law:
"More than one hyphen is international shorthand for idiot webmaster; More than two hyphens is Galaxy-wide shorthand for "I'd be a spammer if only I knew how"
I'm not suggesting anything rude about you - it's just the look of the thing.
On the other hand, changing a site's URL is usually the single worst thing you can do for a site. So even if your premise was correct - and it's most unlikely to have been involved in any way - changing the domain name will do 100 times as much damage as you hoped to repair. Maybe 200x.
The problem is elsewhere - and so is the solution.
Most people miss basic SEO stuff that is easily fixed and you float right back to the top 10, especially with 8K IBLs unless someone is playing dirty. If they're playing dirty pop into the Google Webmaster Central and file a spam report and see if they do anything about it.
I would examine the 14 sites ahead of yours and see what they did that you didn't.Well, to start with, they don't have as many hyphens in their domains :)
But 2 very valuable opinions against the change from hyphenated to non-hyphenated will certainly make me study my competitors' advantage more in depth. Thanks and have a good year!
... as many? *blink*
*reads OP again*
Ah... I see.
Well, good luck.
If your site doesn't attract links that use the URLs ie. the domain name as the anchor text, there's no point in having-such-a-domain-name anymore. And even then you could use directory names/filenames the same way ( like every blog on planet Earth does by now ).
But if you're a firm believer of following up on all hints, consider which is better for you, if you get 1 extra ( 1 UP ) credit for
having such a domain name
...while trying to weigh in the ever changing 'we know it's SEO' parameter at Google.
I, for one, have never used more than a single hyphen, and such decisions were usually made for the sake of clarity - where there were more than one readings to the same domain name *smirk*
I don't think that's so, and anyway, uncool or not, what matters is what search engines do - and they have expressed a slight preference for domain names they can read easily, over those that they have potential parsing problems with.
But it's only a slight preference, not one that makes a significant difference.
As for people, there are those that argue that people 'prefer' nonhyphenatednamesandwhoamitoargue - but there are also those who believe that visitors really don't mind much (unless they are seos), but with hyphens, they-are-less-likely-to-make-simple-spelling-errors.
The only way I would use a hyphenated domain is if it were naturally hyphenated in written form. And even then, I'm going to have the non-hyphenated version 301'ing to the hyphenated or vice versa.
And, this whole excuse of "the non-hypehnated version was taken" is something to give serious consideration to. There may be legal issues to contend with in this instance. If you don't have both versions, don't do it.
Hope this is a good link to remain but the dashes is not causing the site to be in a filter. If you don't have a kazillon of them you are fine I have just started buing domains with them in mine I am only using 2 dashes
my-domain-here.com keyworded and feel it is fine and won't be an issue. You are not showing for other causes not the dashes...
To answer a common question, Google doesn’t algorithmically penalize for dashes in the url. Of course I can only speak for Google, not other search engines.
Not too long ago Yahoo was looking at multiple dashes in the domain name as a negative factor - and that could have a cascading effect, making it slightly harder for some people who might link to your site to find it.
Using a name the same as someone else's, bar adding or subtracting hyphens is a potential copyright / tm issue; but it's also a straight gamble; who will be seen as the 'me too site'; you or them?
If you DON'T have both, if your site has any success at all, you can bet the farm that some creep will set up an MFA site (or worse) on the other.
doesn’t algorithmically penalize
Google doesn't algorithmically penalize for hidden text either. Nor for jumpy placement of AdSense units.
There's a pretty good reason for this thread having been started I guess... the public and SE opinion is in the air. One can of course ignore it, but as long as people's minds associate such domain names with SPAM ( something never meant to be typed in ), you're better off not using it, am I right?
There are these little signals that any USER / Webmaster ( who would otherwise link to you ) / Google website evaluator will look for to go by when trying to guess the credibility of a source.
And when-a-site-aims-for-this-bit-of-extra-because-it-knows-it-wont-get-natural-legit-links is one of them.
I, for one, would never link to you.
Many directories / webmasters have guidelines forbidding linking to you.
Domain price is decimated by adding more than a single hyphen. Adding more than 2 makes it worthless.
And not because it's algorithmically penalized, but because its ugly, uselsess, speaks volumes of your marketing/intent, somewhat parallel to using aaa111-the-best-example.com
It's a telltale tactic that people who do QC at Google might be trigger happy about. So, does it worth it? That's your call...
as long as people's minds associate such domain names with SPAM ( something never meant to be typed in ), you're better off not using it, am I right?There are many domain names which are difficult to be typed in, yet are not spammy at all.
In my case, I have a company called My Own Very Green Widgets Ltd, my website's title is My Own Very Green Widgets, my main url is logically my-own-very-green-widgets.com and my spare url is myownverygreenwidgets.com. It is debatable which of my 2 urls is easier to type in.
I, for one, would never link to you.You are actually part of a minority. Only 3 or 4 very minor directories have algorithms that block hyphenated domain. My site has been accepted without problems on DMOZ, Yahoo, about.com, Joeant, BOTW and other reference directories. I do value your opinion, but both in this thread and in general linking policy, it is part of a minority. Just what I wanted to confirm when starting this thread.
Many directories / webmasters have guidelines forbidding linking to you.
as a matter of interest, do you get a lot of repeat businessThe products / services I offer through that company are very high ticket items (average sale $60,000) and I actually do not expect repeat customers... although I already had 3 or 4. Anyway, a returning customer would email me - not order via the website.
There's zero evidence that Google would ever generalise in such a way, zero evidence that Google has any 'general' problem with hyphenated sites, and some evidence that Google actually finds it easier to parse hyphenated than (some) non-hyphenated domain names (though the difference is largely moot!).
It's human beings who make such genralizations,and that can be the difference between a successful site and a failure. It doesn't mean that hyphenated stes canot succeed; but there's always the question "if it wasn't hyphenated, could it have done even better?"
Who can tell!
And finally ... I'm quite sure that one hyphen never hurt anybody (unless it's one hyphen and a REALLY spammy name!).
I hope to test a double-hyphenated domain soon. I hate hyphens, but I like keywords. keyword1--keyword2.com. lol. Seriously, gonna give it a go, just out of curiosity.
Google made me do it--bashed my other nice dn to -950 oblivion!
I wouldn't risk a 301 to the non-hypenated domain as I know what damage it can cause to rankings in the short to medium term. Your site may not be hit too hard due to the number of backlinks.
As far as search goes, try it with and without if you can & then go with whatever works. Probably both. Whatever.
Now, as far as how PEOPLE view dashes/hyphens in the domain name...people like employees, vendors, customers, lovers, family, users, bankers, investors... I will refer you back to the first reply to this post from Q.
Can someone point to me a respected, well-known domain that uses a dash or hyphen in the name? I'm not saying it makes sense, but that's what the world sees.
It smacks of a scam-my site, at least to me. Just as good generics names signify seriourness ---- names convey the opposite.
if your site has 100 great links from other authority sites, Google's not going to go, "Ah, but it has three hyphens! E-v-i-l! Kill!"To believe that would be pure Google-anxiety. But instead of killing, Google could put a question mark on it - that seems possible, and that's why my domain might be #15, not #950.
Your domain has a lot of hyphens. Has Google slightly devalued it because of that? Maybe, but it is probably more likely that your competitors have acquired more links than you.I believe that. That is why I have been acquiring links for the past 12 months and have been quite successful at that. Maybe simply my problem is that my links are younger than my competitors'... so there is nothing much I can do, except wait.
More importantly, although my domain has a lot of dashes, it contains only 2 keywords (my-own-very-green-widgets.com - my, very and own are unimportant words; green and widgets are keywords), and the whole expression (and my company name) actually make sense, unlike i.e. free-cheap-best-green-widgets.com.
It smacks of a scam-my site, at least to me.That website is aimed at mature or retired folks, and is not about technology in any way, so does not attract scam-sniffing webmasters. It is very unlikely that its target audience perceives its domain as spammy. In 7 years, none of my clients mentioned it to me anyway.
Anyway, thanks for the input. The majority so far seem to think that killing dashes would do more harm than keeping them - so I will enjoy some more free time and do nothing :)
Kinda really hard to remember but not a site for return traffic as it host schools once you have selected the shool to go to no need to go back to the site..
Been around for 5 years now got some good links been worked so it ain't the dashes causing the problem, at least that is my opinion...