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Anthony Parsons
06-03-2004, 10:53 AM
Ok Rusty. I am in agreeance here in some aspects with what you wrote on the roundtable today. Forums are picking this to a point of three or more hypens are bad ju ju.

I reckon rubbish, some believe it makes an impact to losing your rankings. There are sites out there that have four hypens in the URL who have disappeard, then there are other sites with the same amount of hypens that are going strong.

Some stated this was introduced in the last algo shakeup, but that would be impossible as all sites with three or more hypens would off disappeared, and they didn't.

With the availability of some domains, more to the point, relevant domain to your business, you may have to hypenate just to secure a domain relevant to your niche, without even thinking about SEO tactics.

Where do you stand on this?

seobook
06-03-2004, 11:00 AM
Google displays their own ads on the blogs at blogspot. blogger recently started to put dashes between the words in the title of posts in their urls. this tells me that google probably does not consider hyphens to be bad or they are trying to antiadvertise their own software and ads. that would seem somewhat backwards to me.

i was talking about filepath vs url, but I don't think a few dashes in the url get your site into trouble...

rustybrick
06-03-2004, 11:40 AM
My Stance:
Google should flag sites with 3 or more hyphens in the domain name, not the file extensions. Then see if 95% of those sites are just out there to spam the engines. If 6% of those sites are not spammy, then Google should not automatically remove these sites from the index. If 5% or less are not spammy, then I feel, they should automatically remove all 100% of them.

I think hyphens in a file name should not be looked at by the engines at all. Not even for ranking purposes and not to penalize sites.

What is Actually Happening:
I wish I knew.

bhartzer
06-03-2004, 11:49 AM
Why would you possibly have more than two hypens in your domain name? In my opinion, the only reason would be to get your keyword in there--which is done to try to manipulate the search engine rankings.

seobook
06-03-2004, 11:55 AM
My Stance:
If 5% or less are not spammy, then I feel, they should automatically remove all 100% of them.
Easy to take that stance if you are not one of the poor 5% :)

rustybrick
06-03-2004, 12:01 PM
Easy to take that stance if you are not one of the poor 5% :)

All I know is that I am happy that I am not making this decision at Google.

mcanerin
06-03-2004, 12:47 PM
This has always been an issue - with the rapidly diminishing choice of domain names available sometimes you have to get creative.

I will point out though, that probably in most cases the 3+ hypen domains are NOT taken as a non-hyphened version. There is a very good practical reason for not wanted a hyphenated domain name - people tend to drop the hyphen while typing it in, which sends them to your competitor, in many cases. A normal businessperson, interested in conversions and customers rather than rankings, would not want that.

The only reason to use a hyphenated domain name is if the non-hyphenated one is not available, or you are looking for a search engine "edge". This isn't as clear for the 2 word domains, but it's pretty clear in the 3 word domain area, at least right now. I think that people buying domains in an environment where it's clear they are looking for an edge with the search engines rather than making a normal business decision are treading on thin ice.

Yes, I know that being concerned about your rankings *is* a sound business decision for a website, but the search engines don't see it that way, especially when it comes at what appears to be the detriment of client conversion or usability.

Whether or not they would actually do anything about this is anyone's guess, but I will point to the recent issues (with pages called links.htm as an example) of being willing to throw the baby out with the bath water if the perceived benifits are clear enough.

My opinion,

Ian

David Wallace
06-03-2004, 01:04 PM
I would never want a hyphenated domain just for the plain fact that I wouldn't want to tell people that my web site address is "www dot my hyphen company hyphen domain hyphen name dot com." Would be a bit tricky to remember.

That being said, I would have to think that anyone who uses a domain with more than one hyphen is under the assumption that it helps them rank better in the search engines which in my experience is just not true.

rustybrick
06-03-2004, 01:31 PM
I would never want a hyphenated domain just for the plain fact that I wouldn't want to tell people that my web site address is "www dot my hyphen company hyphen domain hyphen name dot com." Would be a bit tricky to remember.


I tell clients to avoid hyphenated domain names at all costs. It is just too hard to put them on business cards and tell people about.

My email address is barry at keyword hyphen keyword hyphen dot biz. ;)

Anthony Parsons
06-03-2004, 07:52 PM
Why would you possibly have more than two hypens in your domain name? In my opinion, the only reason would be to get your keyword in there--which is done to try to manipulate the search engine rankings.

I think more than two is stepping over the mark, though I have seen legitimate use of it simply for the fact that all other relevant domains where gone. Real estate is especially one area of this. Now if you haven't though about this before, check it out:

www.newyorkrealestate.com

www.new-york-real-estate.com

Which one would jump out at you first in the SERP's? To me, the second. So I would most likely click on that first if that's what I am searching for. Funny how the mind works. So it is not just about SEO purposes, it is also about how the human mind interprets and what your eyes naturally focus upon first. Think beyond the realms of just SEO.

We attempt to achieve the same thing with our content. Eyes focus on certain things first, headlines, etc. No difference.

From_Beyond
06-04-2004, 07:37 PM
As I mentioned over here In this thread, (http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/forum/showthread.php?p=775) Google is highlighting keyword occurrences in the ransom notes, including in the url.

If you have the keywords in your url, they're going to get bolded, which will help them get noticed and clicked on. Making it to the top five is only part of the battle. The other part is making a clickable serp listing.

bhartzer
06-04-2004, 07:47 PM
I agree with you, New York Real Estate would be the exception rather than the rule.

dondiego
06-09-2004, 01:04 AM
But when Google sees : www.newyorkrealestate.com, does he understand there are those two keywords : new york and real estate ? :confused:

Anthony Parsons
06-09-2004, 09:12 AM
But when Google sees : www.newyorkrealestate.com, does he understand there are those two keywords : new york and real estate ? :confused:

Yes. It would be shown as www.newyorkrealestate.com if you searched new york real estate

The other would be shown as www.new-york-real-estate.com



Which does your eye focus upon straight away?

Pannu
06-09-2004, 09:36 AM
If you were to search for "real estate" and www.newyorkrealestate.com were to show up in the results, then only realestate would be highlighted:

www.newyorkrealestate.com

This points to the fact that Google does recognise individual keywords in non-hyphenated domain names. To what extent this helps in SERP ranking, is a mystery.

Anthony Parsons
06-09-2004, 09:57 AM
Yes, correct. If you search real estate (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=real+estate&X=1) you will see the first result www.realtor.com highlighted like such.

The argument is, is how far do you want to go with it. You achieve the same thing by having:

www.newyorkrealestate.com

or

www.blah.com/new-york-real-estate.html

So it isn't a necessity to have it in the URL, ie. having 10 term URL's.

dannysullivan
06-09-2004, 10:16 AM
Ah, the hyphen issue :)

I remember this really kicked off when long domain names became available back at the beginning of 2000. Suddenly, there was a wave of "get all your keywords in the domain name, that will boost your rankings." Part of that was helped by the fact that some of the people pushing this also sold or earned off of domain name registrations.

Personally, I never bought into this. And today, I still seem plenty of examples where people rank well without having a search term in their domain or in their URL string.

Looking at Google, I see Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and IRED in the top results even though their domains lack the term "real estate" embedded within them.

I've always felt if it made sense to use a term in your domain name, obviously do it. If I could get shoes.com and sold shoes, wonderful! It's memorable from a branding standpoint. If I sold running shoes and could get runningshoes.com, great. But if I was Nike? I'd stick with nike.com.

Shouldn't I be running-shoes.com, to break up those words? In the past, perhaps. But as Anthony and Pannu points out, no longer an issue at least with Google. It can see the separate words even if they are run together (this doesn't seem to have changed at Yahoo).

Personally, the only reason I'd have done running-shoes.com was if I already owned a memorable brand domain like runningshoes.com and wanted to keep a competitor from perhaps confusing things.

I did double-check with Google fairly recently on whether there's an issue of too many hyphens. They stuck by their guns that this isn't an issue. If you believe them, then certainly you can still go for best-running-shoes-and-lowest-prices-online-buy-now.com

My own thought, however, is that while perhaps neither Google or Yahoo might have hard automatic filters on detecting spam based hyphens (ie, 3 or less is OK), I'm sure that multiple hyphens are something that might help flag a page or site for closer review if other factors are also spotted. So, I'd still avoid them.

dondiego
06-09-2004, 01:31 PM
Ah, the hyphen issue :)
My own thought, however, is that while perhaps neither Google or Yahoo might have hard automatic filters on detecting spam based hyphens (ie, 3 or less is OK), I'm sure that multiple hyphens are something that might help flag a page or site for closer review if other factors are also spotted. So, I'd still avoid them.
Yep, I do agree with this.
:cool: By the way, I'd just like to add that in term of usability, according to Jakob Nielsen, k1k2.com is better than k1-k2.com (easier to spell, to type and to remember).

surftrip
06-09-2004, 02:17 PM
i think this thread is interesting; however, one aspect people seem to be overlooking is what i call the "joe blow minivan" perspective.

all of us are heavy internet users, marketers and "judges" concerning what makes a quality site (or domain) and what does not.

however, when "joe blow minivan" hits the web, he will certainly be more likely to click:

MLB-Baseball-Tickets.com

as opposed to:

mlbbaseballtickets.com

perception is reality and the "joe blow minivan" user will perceive that "wow" this site must have the best baseball tickets available since it is named so perfectly.

it's aggravating for us who are usability focused and eager to create a standard void of spamming the engines ...but the bottom line is what matters and as long as competitors can make more sales with these "dummy" domains they will continue to churn 'em out by the dozens. ISPs give us so many IPs now, that you no longer need to house all these dummy domains using "host headers" which prevents engines that check IPs from flagging the domain as spam.

it makes it twice as difficult too because folks are using the same databases, just replicated to other database servers, and churning out pages that are just a little different. different enough to not appear as spam, but when the transaction phase is initiated, the transaction bounces to the same place as for all the dummies. (but who cares about a transaction page being indexed?)

will be interesting to see how all this shakes out...

christian
encoretickets.com

dondiego
06-09-2004, 02:40 PM
Perhaps should we focus on our customer to get on the right track. I mean, if you sell some products to "joe blow minivan", it may be a better idea to buy the k1-k2.com domain name. On the other hand, if your products are targeted to highly educated people or geeks who are heavy users of Internet, then k1k2.com may be better.

pageoneresults
06-10-2004, 07:28 AM
I would say that many of us here are bias. The consumer is not really going to look at the domain name as closely as we are. It's the title and description that is going to catch their eye. So in my opinion, the hyphenated domains are not going to get any more play than the non-hyphenated ones.

I've always been a firm believer that three or more hyphens is juju (as mentioned earlier, I like that, juju). I will always go for a non-hyphenated domain for brandability. Since Google is now stemming, hyphenated domains just became obsolete with them. It will be a while before the others catch up though.

I've reviewed enough sites to effectively determine that 9 out of 10 domains with three or more hyphens are junk. Same goes for all the 2, 3, and 4+ word canonicals. Same goes for the long hyphenated file names. You begin to cross into usability issues at some point and it is something that many have overlooked.

AussieWebmaster
06-12-2004, 10:31 AM
The thing about this is unless tests are done isolated of other factors it is difficult to make a conclusive statement.
Many of the run-on names already have inbound links from the right places, have heavy text and title use...
I think registering a non name like the Search Guild competition and starting from there would be the cleanest way of seeing what happens... maybe have to grab various hyphens and run-on versions of a name and go from there.

Terry Plank
06-12-2004, 10:46 PM
For standout of the meaning to the human eye, can do less than go "hyphen overkilling" with:

newyork-realestate.com vs new-york-real-estate.com
mbl-baseballtickets.com vs mlbbaseballtickets.com

I personally prefer Anthony's suggestion though, www.blah.com/new-york-real-estate.html so you don't need such a long basic URL.

Plus, I've worked on scores of real estate sites and there are many more keywords to focus on for that New York Real Estate site to drive traffic and they can naturally be focused on the file name like above. i.e. [new-york-homes-for-sale] [new-york-property] [new-york-country-estates]

Be sure and use unique text content though on those different pages. :)

Sharon and Roy
06-16-2004, 06:04 PM
::: To Hyphen Or Not To Hyphen -- That's The Question, So What's The Answer? :::

Ah, the hyphen issue :)

I remember this really kicked off when long domain names became available back at the beginning of 2000. Suddenly, there was a wave of "get all your keywords in the domain name, that will boost your rankings." Part of that was helped by the fact that some of the people pushing this also sold or earned off of domain name registrations.


Ah, yes, and also the fact that the Yahoo directory's algorithm was taking the keywords in the URL as a consideration when ranking pages was also a major reason we all saw URLs with as many as 6 and 7 or more hyphens used.

Whether you are a fan or not of hyphenated domain names and/or hyphenated subdirectories and/or file names doesn't matter since you can achieve the same high rankings with or without them.

But for those of you who are debating whether to include more than 3 hyphens or to include hyphens at all, we'll just point to a few current examples that may help you decide one way or the other.


A query for ...

mortgages home equity loans

http://www.google.com/search?q=mortgages+home+equity+loans

Results 1 - 10 of about 2,930,000 for mortgages home equity loans.

... Results in the following URL at #5

http://www.mortgages-home-equity-loans.com/


According to Wordtracker, the following term receives daily searches of ...

home equity loans 1568 1509

... And the above domain name is #13 and the #1 ranked page for this term is ...

Home Equity Loans Rates Online Refinancing Loan 125%
Home Equity Loans - Get multiple offers in minutes. ... Low Rates on home equity loans,
debt consolidation, refinance, second mortgages & home improvement loans! ...
www.home-equity-loans-center.com/ - 25k - Cached - Similar pages

... Of about 3.45 million pages ...

http://www.google.com/search?q=home+equity+loans

Results 1 - 10 of about 3,450,000 for home equity loans.



secure mortgage company

http://www.google.com/search?q=secure+mortgage+company

Results 1 - 10 of about 1,090,000 for secure mortgage company.

::: #1 :::
The Mortgage Site - rates, home, calculators, company, refinance...
Fill out an application. For Mortgage Search this database for mortgage agents and
companies. ... Copyright 2004 The Mortgage Site. Secure Home Equity Loan /.
www.secure-mortgage-company.com/ - 20k - Jun 14, 2004 - Cached - Similar pages


bad credit home mortgage loan

http://www.google.com/search?q=bad+credit+home+mortgage+loan

Results 1 - 100 of about 2,380,000 for bad credit home mortgage loan

::: #1 :::
Bad Credit Loans Mortgage Home Loan Mortgages
... Any duplication of this site including content and graphics is strictly prohibited.Bad Credit
Loans & Mortgage is an Home Mortgage Service.
www.bad-credit-loans-mortgages-loan.com/ - 10k - Cached - Similar pages


.............................
Wordtracker Results
.............................
bad credit home mortgage loan 55 53

bad credit home mortgage loans 45 43
home mortgage for bad credit 27 26
bad credit home mortgage 24 23
bad credit home mortgages 24 23
.............................


bad credit personal loans lenders

http://www.google.com/search?q=bad+credit+personal+loans+lenders

Results 1 - 100 of about 2,380,000 for bad credit home mortgage loan

::: #1 :::
www.personal-loans-lender.com/ - 37k - Cached - Similar pages

::: #6 :::
www.personal-loans-consolidation.com/ - 32k - Cached - Similar pages

::: #7 :::
www.1st-personal-loans.com/ - 29k - Jun 14, 2004 - Cached - Similar pages

::: #10 :::
www.financial-services-online-fx.com/ - 28k - Jun 14, 2004 - Cached - Similar pages


.............................
Wordtracker Results
.............................
bad credit personal loans lenders 26 25
.............................


bad credit personal loans

http://www.google.com/search?q=bad+credit+personal+loans

Results 1 - 10 of about 2,860,000 for bad credit personal loans

::: #1 :::
www.bad-credit-unsecured-personal-loans.com/ - 9k - Cached - Similar pages

::: #2 :::
www.unsecured-bad-credit-personal-loans.com/ - 24k - Jun 14, 2004 - Cached - Similar pages

::: #5 :::
www.apex-personal-loans.com/ - 7k - Jun 14, 2004 - Cached - Similar pages

::: #8 :::
www.personal-loans-consolidation.com/ - 32k - Cached - Similar pages

::: #9 :::
www.1st-personal-loans.com/ - 29k - Jun 14, 2004 - Cached - Similar pages


.............................
Wordtracker Results
.............................
bad credit personal loans 510 491

personal loans for bad credit 172 165
personal loans bad credit 100 96
.............................


bad credit unsecured personal loans

http://www.google.com/search?q=bad+credit+unsecured+personal+loans

Results 1 - 10 of about 1,130,000 for bad credit unsecured personal loans

::: #1 :::
www.bad-credit-unsecured-personal-loans.com/ - 9k - Cached - Similar pages

::: #2 :::
www.unsecured-bad-credit-personal-loans.com/ - 24k - Jun 14, 2004 - Cached - Similar pages

.............................
Wordtracker Results
.............................
bad credit unsecured personal loans 49 47
.............................



Now Let's Use The Query To Match The Other Domain Name

Question: Will doing so reverse the ranking order of the aforementioned top 2 domain names?

Answer: Yes it will.

Notice that the former query has a daily search frequency of 47 while the latter has only 4, but nonetheless, both domain names are ranked either #1 or #2 for both terms.


unsecured bad credit personal loans

http://www.google.com/search?q=unsecured+bad+credit+personal+loans

Results 1 - 10 of about 1,210,000 for unsecured bad credit personal loans

::: #1 :::
www.unsecured-bad-credit-personal-loans.com/ - 24k - Jun 14, 2004 - Cached - Similar pages

::: #2 :::
www.bad-credit-unsecured-personal-loans.com/ - 9k - Cached - Similar pages


.............................
Wordtracker Results
.............................
unsecured bad credit personal loans 4 4
.............................


As you can clearly see, Google has no problem with hyphenated domain names whatsoever, even if they have more than 3 hyphens.

Whether they will have problems with them in the future is anyone's guess of course, but optimistic and deductive reasoning would say that they will never have a problem with hyphenated domain names, even if they look like these examples.

search--engines.com

search---engines.com

search----engines.com

search-----engines.com

The reason we say this is since Google didn't do anything when people were registering long keyword rich domain names separated by hyphens almost exclusively for the Yahoo directory so that they could obtain higher rankings, and since that technique has all but been phased out, we see no reason for Google to ever do anything like penalize or ban a site for using hyphens of any number or any location in a domain name.

Google isn't concerned about the name "OF" your domain but they are concerned about what name you make "FOR" your domain, such as ...

Web spammer

... Or ...

bad neighborhood

Google Information for Webmasters

Webmaster Guidelines

Quality Guidelines - Basic principles:

Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to Web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the Web as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

Source: http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html


Your Friends,

Sharon and Roy Montero

Terry Plank
06-16-2004, 06:25 PM
Sharon and Roy, just wanted to welcome you to the SEW Forums. I'll have to read through your data here.

Sharon and Roy
06-16-2004, 08:04 PM
What's This About Hyphenated Domains, Stemming and Google?
Since Google is now stemming, hyphenated domains just became obsolete with them.


Hi Edward,

Not sure what you mean by your statement, so we'll ask you.

Do you mean to say that a domain name like this ...

homeequityloans.com

... Is now just as VALUABLE for the words ...

home

... And ...

equity

... And ...

loans

... As a domain name like this ...

home-equity-loans.com

... As far as Google is concerned?


In other words, if there are only 100 links pointing to each of the following two domains ...

http://www.homeequityloans.com/

http://www.home-equity-loans.com/


... From the SAME 100 pages on the same 100 unique domains and all that is used for anchor text is their URL, then theoretically you are saying that they will both rank equally for the query ...

home equity loan

... Is that right, Edward?


If that is what you are saying, then why won't the [ inurl: ] operator verify your statement, or are we missing something?


We see the following page is the SERP for ...

http://www.google.com/search?q=inurl:homeequityloans+site:tv&num=100
Results 1 - 1 of 1 for inurl:homeequityloans site:tv

Home Equity Loans, Personal Loans and Bad Credit LoansHome Equity Loans, Personal Loans and Bad Credit Loans. Mortgage Calculator can help you find home equity loans, bad credit loans ...
www.mortgagecalculator.tv/homeequityloans.html - 8k - Supplemental Result - Cached - Similar pages

... But we don't see it here ...

http://www.google.com/search?q=inurl:home+inurl:equity+inurl:loans+site: tv&num=100
Results 1 - 7 of about 91 for inurl:home inurl:equity inurl:loans site:tv

Is that not showing the contrary to your statement? If it isn't then again, we may not have understood your statement correctly.

inurl:

If you include [inurl:] in your query, Google will restrict the results to documents containing that word in the url. For instance, [inurl:google search] will return documents that mention the word "google" in their url, and mention the word "search" anywhere in the document (url or no). Note there can be no space between the "inurl:" and the following word.

Putting "inurl:" in front of every word in your query is equivalent to putting "allinurl:" at the front of your query: [inurl:google inurl:search] is the same as [allinurl: google search].

Source: http://www.google.com/help/operators.html#inurl



::: For Your Information :::

The following don't show any "stemming" as far as we can tell, but then once again, we may not have understood your statement correctly, Edward, so any insight is much appreciated.


http://www.google.com/search?q=inurl:home+inurl:equity+inurl:loans&num=100
Results 1 - 100 of about 144,000 for inurl:home inurl:equity inurl:loans

http://www.google.com/search?q=inurl:homeequityloans&num=100
Results 1 - 100 of about 1,590 for inurl:homeequityloans

http://www.google.com/search?q=inurl:homeequityloans+site:org&num=100
Results 1 - 21 of about 76 for inurl:homeequityloans site:.org

Your Friends,

Sharon and Roy Montero

Sharon and Roy
06-16-2004, 09:12 PM
Sharon and Roy, just wanted to welcome you to the SEW Forums.


Thank you for the warm welcome Terry, as we certainly appreciate it!

steve sardell
06-16-2004, 11:12 PM
pageoneresults
I will always go for a non-hyphenated domain for brandability

To me this is one of the key reasons not to use the hyphenated domain names,especially for sites intending to market in the old traditions of print,audio and visual. I can hear the anouncement now, "for more information on this special order go to "blabla hyphen bla hyphen bla.com" Or,trying to relay it over the phone "the URL is blabla hyphen bla, No! not the underscore, the dash. Yes I said hyphen. It is the dash. Oh! it's right above the P. OK I'll start over... " And, as Rusty stated it can take up too much room on a business card or any print media. I like the short snappy names that are easy to relate and remember. More importantly, it just seems very confusing to the user. Just my take on it!

Terry Plank
06-17-2004, 01:43 PM
Steve, you have an excellent point. I think we sometimes get so tied up with driving traffic through good SE rank that we slip away from it being only one part of a larger picture. Happens with getting links too, forgetting about traffic from sites can be as important as just getting links for SE ranking.

I have to keep reminding clients and myself (!) that a complete business strategy includes evaluating every element of the overall strategy and how it affects every other part of the strategy. Then making hard choices and creative "work arounds" to challenges.

pageoneresults
06-18-2004, 08:33 AM
Is that not showing the contrary to your statement? If it isn't then again, we may not have understood your statement correctly.
Unfortunately your example domains cannot be utilized for this test. The non-hyphenated version of the domain you reference is penalized by Google.

5starAffiliatePrograms
06-18-2004, 01:22 PM
Hi All,

I'm new here, but I mod the Affiliate Marketing forum and "Domain Game" forums over at WebProWorld and this question comes up alot both from affiliates and domainiacs alike! I used to do SEO for a living years ago, back when it was still easy to get #1 rankings but now I don't have time to keep up with SEO issues as much as I would like to. That's why I'm planning to spend more time over here.

One thing I'm not sure if anyone mentioned - aside from the SEO and branding implications is that hyphenated domains are worth less if you ever decide to sell your site.

I'm glad to see all the answers and unique view points in this thread regarding hyphenated domains from the real pros in this industry.

Thanks for sharing!

Linda AKA Catalyst

pageoneresults
06-19-2004, 05:01 AM
Since Google is now stemming, hyphenated domains just became obsolete with them.
Let me expand on that a little...

Since Google is now stemming, purchasing hyphenated domains for the perceived benefit of targeting keywords in the URI just became obsolete with them.

hulkster
06-21-2004, 06:00 PM
This has always been an issue - with the rapidly diminishing choice of domain names available sometimes you have to get creative.


One way of doing so it using something beside .com as your TLD (Top Level Domain) - in addition to the other 3-letter (and more) TLD's (such as .org), you can also use country code if appropriate.

alek

DanThies
06-21-2004, 09:05 PM
I would say that adding hyphens is the wrong kind of creativity. We don't have any hyphenated domains, and in spite of the supposed domain name shortage it's never been a problem.

We get a lot of email that is meant for businesses who've registered hyphenated versions of our domain names. I'm pretty sure the customers who sent it don't appreciate the creativity, because it's going right into the trash can here.

More than one I know of has had to drop their hyphenated name because they're up against a trademark, competing with an established name in the same markets.

Regardless of the impact on SEO, hyphens in domain names are almost always a bad idea.

seobook
06-22-2004, 06:29 AM
I would say that adding hyphens is the wrong kind of creativity. We don't have any hyphenated domains, and in spite of the supposed domain name shortage it's never been a problem.

We get a lot of email that is meant for businesses who've registered hyphenated versions of our domain names. I'm pretty sure the customers who sent it don't appreciate the creativity, because it's going right into the trash can here.

More than one I know of has had to drop their hyphenated name because they're up against a trademark, competing with an established name in the same markets.

Regardless of the impact on SEO, hyphens in domain names are almost always a bad idea.

totally agree. I do not think it is hard to find a keyword rich domain name. My intitial one has a hyphen (but that is because I was dumb :) ) all my other sites have no hyphen. It rarely takes me more than a half hour to think of a good descriptive domain name.

AussieWebmaster
06-23-2004, 12:48 AM
I was told by a Google engineer about 3 weeks ago that hyphens are okay.. up to three anyway... use only 2 for a few of my sites... but have the straight typed also.

Terry Plank
06-23-2004, 01:42 PM
I think we are answering two questions in this thread:
Are they acceptable?
Are they advisable?

I'm reading here they are acceptable to SE's in answer to the first question and in answer to the second one, for most cases, "not necessary" or "not advisable".

steve sardell
06-23-2004, 01:51 PM
I'm reading here they are acceptable to SE's in answer to the first question and in answer to the second one, for most cases, "not necessary" or "not advisable".

Terry, I think you have summed it up quite well. To reiterate, rarely are they necessary as there are better naming methods.

DaveN
07-27-2004, 01:26 PM
sometimes it's just plain easy for people to read the url with hypens ...

www.the-rapist.com or www.therapist.com


DaveN

Webmaster T
07-28-2004, 03:51 PM
Not 1 SE has stated in their guidelines that - are "inappropriate" manipulation. I bought one with 3 just to test some theories I had about them. I did little to optimize for the terms in the domain. Anytime you take anything to extremes, well, it's unwise to think that isn't going to raise a flag. In this case I wanted to see what juice you'd get just from the domain so optimizing for the term was counter productive to the reasons for the domain purchase.;)

A flag or penalty may not be for the hyphens themselves it could just be for the over emphasis for a term that makes it appear to be "inappropriate" manipulation. Very much like the Google Bombs being discussed in another thread. The day any SE starts penalizing for - alone is the day SE have started telling us how to build our sites and run our businesses. That would be a sad day indeed! If they are adjusting algos then that is business as usual and to be expected.

toprank
07-29-2004, 05:52 PM
Here's a comment from personal experience in regard to hyphenated domains:

My first SEO domain name was hyphenated with keywords when I naively thought it would matter. After about a year, as the SEO side of the business grew, we started marketing offline more and it really did not bode well for the "brand" to have a domain with two hyphens in it. Rankings were fair, and I did not know how much of an impact it would make to change the name.

Ultimatley, we changed to a domain with our company name in it, (should have done that in the first place) no keywords, and we have excellent rankings due to content and links - nothing to do with the domain. I doubt we'd ever recommend registering future domain names with multiple hyphens. And like Dan mentioned, there are better ways to be creative.