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Keywords In The Domain Name - Dash Or No Dash

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5 replies to this topic

#1 matthew harris

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 08:15 PM

So, I'm warming up to the practice of having dashes in domain names. I used to consider it a no no, but I've seen some successful sites do it, and I think it makes the domain name easier to read and it opens up a whole lot of potential names that haven't already been bought up. So....does anyone know or care to ponder whether or not it makes a difference to search engines?

For instance, would there be an advantage in having the domain name:


One is clearly easier to read. But...is it not also easier to read for the search engines? Instead of the domain being a word, it becomes a "bucket of keywords" with the words being separated by dashes? Or is Google smart enough to know that both are the same bucket of words?

If you owned both domains, which should be the primary domain and which should forward?

Hrmmmm..... I wonder?


#2 1dmf


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Posted 30 April 2009 - 05:25 AM

I've had many debates on this and the simple answer is yes, hyphens make it better for SE's as hyphens are word separators.

dancemusic -> not a word
dance-music -> two words

the problem lies with people remembering your domain and having to advertise it, the more words the more hyphens in them, the more of pain in the ass it gets telling people about it.

for your example, you'd say to people -
www (dot) high (hyphen) rankings (hyphen) search (hyphen) forum (dot) com

how many people are going to remember that!

It wouldn't sound to good on a radio advert or telly either!

however as you say, if you owned both , you could have the hyphenated one as your primary, but 301 redirect the non-hyphenated domain.

So you can tell people the non-hyphenated , advertise the non-hyphenated , but anywhere on the net, use the hyphenated, that would give you the extra KWD weight you are looking for.


Is all this effort worth it?
How much KWD value will it bring?

This is where the SEO guru's will say stop wasting your time and effort and spend it doing something usefull and more productive.

dunno, if it's only one or two hyphens, maybe it's not such a biggie, if you have 4+ words and hyphens , well maybe it's not worth it.

Up to you, the bottom line is the only way KWD in domain names will help you is if you use hyphens to separate the words and then the anchor text for the hyperlink uses your domain name with the hyphens.

do you think it's worth it?

#3 doogie88


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Posted 07 May 2009 - 05:33 PM

dancemusic -> not a word

no, it's not a word, but if you search for dance music, that domain will show up. It's not like it's confusing the SEs because there is no space or hyphen to separate it.

#4 piskie


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Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:18 PM

I have experienced Google "Wordsplitting" a 2 word domain name. So I would always recommend no hyphens in a domain.



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Posted 08 May 2009 - 04:33 AM

well I'd disagree with you, thisisnotaword , and the SE's would have no idea where to split it into 5 words either.

I've seen this happen when I typed a search and missed a space and got no results.

do this test yourself! Go to Live/MSN and type..

sussexwired -> I get three results and not the website I want.

now type

wiredsussex -> you find the website!

now try it both ways but with the space -> you find the website for both terms.

Ok if you only ever want to be found correctly in G! , fine...I'm just trying to help.

so if it can't work out where the space should be in your search term, why all of a sudden does it know where the space should be in your domain name?

Also at least in G! as far as I remember being told the KWD highlighting is done after the SERP is created. So don't let the highlighting confuse you either!

#6 lister


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Posted 08 May 2009 - 05:52 AM

Just to give my penny.gif but I have a website that ranks right at the top of google - the domain is 100% the keywords that I am looking for.

My thoughts are that it ranks at #1 and has done for ages because it is not very competitive and the words are so specific that from a Search Engine Point of View - my site, (for such an uncompetitive search phrase) is regarded as addressing the search criteria...

However, and more on a business side, the problem I have with this well ranked site is that it is basically a one trick pony, the best thing is to have a sort of unique brand name that ranks for a various products or services - so there is room for growth.


Also, I have a site that I am trying to get ranked that has a hyphen. It is a great brand name and I am excited to get it going, I dont really care about the debate is about hyphens - but what i did, at expense, was buy like 8 domains that dont have the hyphen, so for example:


etc - pricey I know but they all have re-directs so for any issues about remembering - it doesnt matter.

I really feel that if you stick by the 'rules' - see Bruce Clay about this - then you should always be fine....(I HOPE!!!!!!!!)


Edited by lister, 08 May 2009 - 05:58 AM.

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