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Url Name With "-" Or Without It
Posted 22 December 2006 - 09:58 AM
Ok. This may be a newbie question but that's who I am
If I am for exemple starning house selling site, of this two site addresses what would be better for me:
So is there a difference for search engines if I put those words together or put them with "-" in between.
Posted 22 December 2006 - 10:25 AM
The short answer is to use whichever is going to be best for your branding.
The longer answer is that the search engines will treat the hyphen --and many other punctuation characters-- as if it were a space. So if people link to your site with the URL address as the anchor text:
For houseselling.com the engines would see the anchor text as "houseselling" and "com"
For house-selling.com the engines would see the anchor text as "house" "selling" and "com"
So, for the very limited purposes of those times when someone links to the site using only the url address as the linked anchor text the hyphenated version would be better.
But --and it's a huge but-- at the end of the day most people don't link by the url address only. They usually link with real anchor text. And the hyphenated version isn't nearly as user-friendly.
So we come full circle back to the begining. Use whichever is going to be best for your Branding, or to put it another way whichever way is going to be best for real human users to remember. Because in the real world it's not going to have some magical effect one way or another with the search engines.
Posted 22 December 2006 - 10:54 AM
Hyphenated domain names contain just one more thing that the user has to remember / type - the hyphen! This may account for why hyphenated names generally sell for less than the unhyphenated variety.
As has already been pointed out, the search engine advantage is negligible. Undoubtedly, you will not be relying on the keywords in your domain name to be generating the bulk of your search engine traffic.
For these reasons, I would recommend the domain name without hyphens (if it is available).
Posted 22 December 2006 - 05:41 PM
For SEO, no. IMO, I always want the non-hyphenated version if it's available. But these days, often it's not, even for obscure names. I do avoid anything with more than one hyphen though- they look icky to me as a general rule and if you expect anyone to type in your URL, you've just doubled the chance that they'll misspell it.
Posted 23 December 2006 - 06:29 PM
Sometimes both versions are not available. Personally, I do not think the domain name has much, if anything to do with ranking.
Posted 24 December 2006 - 03:15 PM
Posted 25 December 2006 - 07:46 PM
I realize this is a tangent, but I've noticed that the words in a domain name can indeed carry significant weight --particularly if the actual content of the site is relevant, congruent, and supports the domain name. This depends on what is being searched for and on the context--others can probably write more about this. Anyway, since page title is important, it makes sense to me that domain name is important too since a domain name is more 'permanent' (for lack of a better word at the moment) than a page title.
This makes sense from the human perspective too (at least this human). If I'm looking for a bb gun (you'll shoot your eye out!) I would give more credibility to a domain like airgunsbbguns.com in the search results than I would a more ambiguous domain like asseenontv.com
Posted 25 December 2006 - 10:41 PM
Can you tell us what your evidence of the signifigant weight is?
Posted 27 December 2006 - 06:58 PM
Hi Scottie, I understand this is controversial since we can't look under Google's hood, but I can give the most recent example I've noticed:
keyword=company name I work for
Someone posted a page with an image map with only links to other sites which Google wasn't indexing at all with the following domain:
There was no indexed content on the page at all. The only 'content' is the page title in which the keyword is the 8th word in the page title (which is definitely significant). However, for the past 2 weeks this page is on page 2 of the Google SERP and ranked higher than pages that have the keyword as the first word in the page title and actually have content relevant to that keyword.
Now, I do think that Google will eventually catch up to this (probably soon) and the site will fall in rankings for this keyword significantly, but that's pretty good evidence to me that the domain name is taken into account and given at least some significant weight in conjunction with other factors. Other new sites with content and the keyword in the page title don't rank as high; even when the keyword is a directory name in the address (e.g. www.domain.com/keyword).
Now, things like this are obviously trumped by text content, links within the site, inbound link quality/popularity etc. At the very least, if two sites ranked roughly the same in all other factors, I'm convinced the one with the keyword for the domain name would rank higher in SERP. Beyond that, the question is the degree of significance for each case or keyword, not whether it's significant.
Edited by bluenote, 27 December 2006 - 07:17 PM.
Posted 28 December 2006 - 08:34 AM
I would definitely recommend the domain name without hyphens.
Posted 29 December 2006 - 11:41 AM
Also, I believe (no firm evidence) Google does word splitting with URLs such as "domainname/directoryname/filename.htm"
If Google is (or about to) the others will follow.
Posted 29 December 2006 - 12:37 PM
Posted 30 December 2006 - 11:54 PM
If Google is (or about to) the others will follow.
Here's a real website: KidsExchange.com. It's a site for a twice-yearly consignment sale of kid's clothing, toys and gear that's run buy some really nice ladies in my town. I've capitalized the site name in order to make it more readable, but capitals vs. lower-case doesn't matter in domain names, so the real url is: kidsexchange.com.
Should Google parse that into: kids-exhange, or into kid-sex-change? There are actually many such sites out there with inadvertent (and often amusing or off-color) "alternative interpretations". There's an e-mail circulating around the net with quite a few examples. How is Google to decide how to parse these domain names?
Depending on how a site is coded, it might be virtually impossible for Google to figure it out. And it only gets harder to figure out with directory and file names. Potentially, a site's pages may mention the domain name itself in some way that might make such parsing possible, but it's very unlikely they would do the same for all the folder and file names.
You know what your keywords are, so the "right" way to parse your URLs would be obvious to you, as I'm sure the domain name of KidsExchange.com was obvious to the nice ladies who run the site in my town. But Google doesn't know, just as I didn't know the first time I saw their domain name, and it's quite likely that if Google tried to parse the domain name, they'd get it as wrong as I did on first look.
And bottom line, you have to remember Google is a publicly-held business with a responsibility to return a profit to their shareholders. What exactly would they gain from parsing URLs in that way? How, precisely, is it going to help them return more relevant results than they already get from looking at the actual content of the page and the anchor text of the links pointing to the page?
They're not going to expend the considerable manpower and computing resources it would take to attempt that kind of parsing unless it's going to bring them proportionately improved results -- and I simply don't think it will do that.
So it makes no business sense for them to go through the effort... which means, IMO, it's unlikely to happen.
FWIW, I'm with the buy both if you can get 'em camp.
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