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How Do You Feel About Domains With Hyphens?


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29 replies to this topic

#1 suzstephens

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:19 PM

After consulting with his SEO guy, a client bought a domain something like:

keyword-keyword-real-estate.com.

From an SEO point of view, I'm sure it's a great keyphrase, but from a useability viewpoint, I prefer domains without hyphens. I had recommended either:

my-keyword-keyword-homes.com
or
keyword-keyword-realestateforsale.com

In all three examples, I've substituted "keyword" for my client's city or state. While the second name is longer, it's dead on the money to match the most searched keyphrase for his market.

Do you folks have a strong preference for domains with or without hyphens?

Thanks for your input!

#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 08:24 PM

The domain name doesn't really matter that much. I would have advised on something brandable. You can always put keywords into individual page URLs.

#3 Mikl

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 06:29 AM

I can't comment on the SEO implications, but surely a phrase where the words are separated by hyphens is always gong to be more readable than one where the words are run together.

Real-estate-for-sale must surely be better than realestateforsale.




#4 Jill

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 07:44 AM

Domains with hyphens look spammy no matter how you slice it.

#5 piskie

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 04:16 PM

It's so 1990s

#6 Mikl

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 06:23 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Mar 30 2011, 07:44 AM) View Post
Domains with hyphens look spammy no matter how you slice it.


Really?

Jill, I will always bow to your expertise on these matters. But I genuinely can't see what's spammy about them.


#7 Jill

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 06:27 AM

They've mainly been used as a place to stuff keywords. A domain with just 1 hyphen wouldn't seem spammy, but any more than that, yes, imo.

#8 Michael Martinez

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 12:09 PM

I do use domains with 1 hyphen but I think that consensus has favored hyphenless domain names. When choosing new domain names, or advising people on them, I now reserve hyphenated domain names for second choices (and then only if the unhyphenated domains don't have any Real Content on them).

#9 DJKay

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 12:48 PM

Not that I can remember what video it was...but I do remember a Matt Cutts video that had some inferences that with Google's latest update, they seem to have a little shift in the algo to more branded types of domain names and that some keyword-keyword-keyword.com type urls were hurt in their last change....

I think...someone out there find the video.. (just came back from traveling...we are transitioning our daughter from the crib to the big girl bed--sleep deprived smile.gif


DJKay

#10 Mikl

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 11:10 AM

I see. It's slightly worrying for me, because three of the four sites I manage have domains with hyphens. But fortunately there is only one hyphen in each case.

When I invented the names, I had no idea about stuffing keywords. I just thought it would make them more readable (I still think so).


#11 suzstephens

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 05:06 PM

Thanks everyone for your input.

#12 noel_x99

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:24 PM

It's a lot harder to promote a domain with a hypen when you're doing it orally. Try to tell someone - or better yet announce a url on a radio spot - when it has a hyphen. People are used to the words running together in a url. I'll agree that it looks nice visually, but it's not what people have come to expect.

#13 Waterfall

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:10 AM

I think there's a prejudice against hyphens.

It's probably more important nowadays to have a domain name that's easier to convey and remember from print (business cards, brochures, etc.) and verbally (talking to someone on the phone) that doesn't have hypens. It's just ubiquity. People generally think of domains names not having hyphens, so it's a mental hurdle to point out to them that there are hyphens in your domain name... and where. And I don't think Google weighs the domain name a whole lot for your ranking anyway.

That said, I think there's one case where I'd recommend a hyphen - when the un-hyphenated version produces a word within the domain that's obscene. Try something like pen-island-resort.com without the hyphens.

If you're still going to go for the hyphenated version for your site then buy the non-hyphenated version and set it up on a redirect. That way you can tell someone your domain name without having to worry about getting them to understand the hyphens. I've done that for my largest site. I started it about 5 years ago under keyword-keyword-keyword.com, before I really thought of this issue. Then a couple years ago I bought the non-hyphenated version and set it up to redirect to the hyphenated one. Now when I'm talking with someone about the site I don't worry about getting them to spell it correctly. Eventually I'll probably transfer the whole site to keywordkeywordkeyword.com, which I'm not looking forward to, and then set up the redirect in the opposite direction. My site is so large now maybe I shouldn't bother...?

Edited by Waterfall, 21 April 2011 - 09:29 AM.


#14 blogdog

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 11:32 AM

I like the brandname approach. It's more user friendly and marketable. You can more easily build a business on BrandName.com than keyword-keyword-keyword.com

#15 Jill

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 01:59 PM

How about these for a hyphenated domains:

http://f-llinthebl-nk.com

or

http://a-b-c-d-e-f-g-h.com

They're mine smile.gif




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