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Hyphens In Domain Names (again!)

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#1 DaveW


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Posted 28 July 2009 - 04:06 AM

Hey everyone,

I know this is a widely debated topic and i have read many posts on here and articles/posts elsewhere on the subject. From what i can establish it used to be the case that the use of hyphens in urls were a good thing from a SE perspective so they could identify the individual words. Now that google does word splitting this is less of an issue. Obviously whether having your keywords/phrases in the domain helps SEO is an issue in itself and i have read a variety of opinions on this, personally from what i have seen it can help if you are targetting very specific words and they are mirrored in your domain.

I have recently set up a number of sites that follow the same template and are focussed on generating good SE traffic based on SE position. Of the 8 sites i have recently registered two have hyphens and six do not. They all use the same template with similar on page SEO (in terms of keyword density, meta tagging, alt tags etc), as well as having the main keywords within the domains. I have used very similar techniques to boost all of the sites up the SERPs and have been very successful with all of the non hyphenated ones. Obviously they are different keywords so a direct comparison can't be made, however the competition/number of searches etc is pretty similar. One of my hyphenated domains (that i have done more work on that a few of my non hyphenated ones) comes up 128th in Google for my main keyphrase. 2 of my non hyphenated domains come up within the top 10 results for their main key phrase in Google. I have done much more optimisation for the hyphenated one than these 2 non hyphenated ones.

As i say this may all be complete coincidence and i am going to continue testing, however the longer this goes on, the more it seems that having hyphens in the domain name is causing a difference. As a i say the onpage SEO is pretty much identical, the template and layout (and h1 etc tags) and the meta tags are all almost identical (in terms of SEO) and all have the main key phrase in the domain so the only real difference (apart from the keyword/phrase itself) is the hyphenation.

I just wanted to see if anyone else had experienced a similar issue with using hyphenated domains, or if you all think this is just coincidence?

Thanks so much for your help,


#2 mal4mac


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Posted 28 July 2009 - 06:07 AM

Many of my hyphenated URLs do well. One page, with plenty of competition appears on page 1 of the SERPS and has five hyphens. Six other pages on that page 1 have at least one hyphen or underline.

My "best page" has two hyphens in the domain name and two in the actual page name. It beats every other page but the .com for a high competition keyword. So I kinds like hyphens :-)

Having said that, I now tend not to use hyphens! I think, in general, domans and URLs just "look better" without hyphens. But I wouldn't change any of my hyphenated pages to non-hyphenated as I would loose all the ageing and link juice that they have accrued. And my gut feeling is that hyphens don't make a difference. If my "best page" can do so well with hyphens everywhere then why can't yours? I would look to all other factors before thinking "these hyphens are a problem". Of course, in the black art of SEO, you can never be sure -- maybe for your particular circumstances they are a problem. Keep experimenting! Could you not create non-hyphenated pages that are the same as the hyphenated pages? That would be the crunch test. Careful not to make them *exactly* the same of course!

I have a few such mirrored pages on my hypenated domain site and a non-hyphenated domain site, and both sites perform equally well.

#3 lister


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Posted 28 July 2009 - 01:30 PM

I think that hyphen and no-hyphen domains are exactly the same - that is my hunch.

excessive use of hyphen might awareness for the SE's but otherwise fine - just a guess but maybe certain words are flagged? like free-free-free-viagra.com for example must be flagged.

after all the software for filtering data is very much widely available and working well

#4 sezerb


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Posted 28 July 2009 - 08:25 PM

I don't think there are any negative effects of using hyphens.

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