Hyphenated domain Vs dot org

21 replies
I'm setting up a new site with a keyword rich domain. The key phrase is very important and I want to use it in the domain. Problem is, the .com is taken and parked by one of the usual suspects. The .org and .net are both available, as is the hyphenated .com. So basically I have a choice between:

word1-word2-word3.com

and

word1word2word3.org

I've no desire to make any offers for the .com domain, as the site is not expected to be a big money earner. Any advice on which of the two you think would be best to use, the hyphenated or the dot org?
#domain #dot #hyphenated #org
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Wayo
    To my mind, generally .com domains are better in any case.

    However, if the website is not expected to be a big money earner, it's totally up to you.

    I'd prefer .com
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  • Profile picture of the author Bertil Jenner
    Go for the "word1word2word3.org".

    Non hyphenated versions will give you far more SEO juice.
    FAR MORE!
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  • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
    Originally Posted by dags_87 View Post

    I'm setting up a new site with a keyword rich domain. The key phrase is very important and I want to use it in the domain. Problem is, the .com is taken and parked by one of the usual suspects. The .org and .net are both available, as is the hyphenated .com. So basically I have a choice between:

    word1-word2-word3.com

    and

    word1word2word3.org

    I've no desire to make any offers for the .com domain, as the site is not expected to be a big money earner. Any advice on which of the two you think would be best to use, the hyphenated or the dot org?

    Why not:
    word1word2word3reviews.com
    word1word2word3advice.com
    word1word2word3news.com
    etc.....

    I'd prefer any of those over the hyphenated version or the .org myself. If you want to have some fun playing with ideas download DomainSamurai from Noble Samurai. It is a great tool for working out some options on domain names based on your keywords, and is free.

    Keyword Domain Name - Domain Samurai
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Duggan
    Go with the .com every time.

    It's the oldest of the site suffixes and is therefore the most trusted. It also looks global. .Org domains tend to be associated with charities.

    If you're doing offline promotions, avoid hyphens, because they're harder to say and remember. If you're only relying on traffic from the web, then hyphens are fine. Actually, hyphens may well be more beneficial as they separate the words and allow the search engines to see the keywords in your domain name more clearly.
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  • Profile picture of the author dags_87
    No consensus at all then.

    I could add a forth word to the mix, as KansasDragon suggests and grab the .com - 'forum' perhaps, as a forum will form an element of the site.
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  • Profile picture of the author roger123
    I have seen that .com or .org (both with or without hyphens) domains rank equally well with same amount of efforts. However if you have a commercial site, you should stick to non hyphenated .com - Just add any of those hundreds of suffixes to make creative names which could be brandable and easily remembered,
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  • Profile picture of the author frqhuss
    I suggest you to go with .com as its the only good option if its not available than try for .org or .net......
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  • Profile picture of the author Marhelper
    This is one of those topics that people are equally split and dogmatic about. Personally, I have done well with both but in this case I would go with the .org
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    • Profile picture of the author imintern
      I second what KansasDragon suggested. Append a short word before or after (I'd prefer "after") the key phrase and place the order.

      For example, if the key phrase in question is low carb diet then I will look for any of the following -

      1. lowcarbdietplan.com
      2. lowcarbdiettips.com
      3. lowcarbdietblog.com (if it's a blog)

      Also you can try to play around with singular and plural numbers. For example, if you like lowcarbdietplan.com but it's not available consider lowcarbdietsplan.com or lowcarbdietplans.com

      Hope that helps.
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      • Profile picture of the author Crew Chief
        Originally Posted by Marhelper View Post

        This is one of those topics that people are equally split and dogmatic about. Personally, I have done well with both but in this case I would go with the .org
        The only individuals split on this issue are those who don't have a clear understanding of OFF PAGE SEO.

        I have .biz sites in fiercely competitive markets that outrank my .com, .net and .org competitors.

        I also have .info and .us domains that outrank my .com competitors in fiercely competitive niches.

        In a number of other fiercely competitive niches, since there were no TLDs left, I was forced to go with .co.cc and now outrank my peers.

        Ideally, you want dot com, but if its not available and the niche is worth fighting to get into, it doesn't matter if you get hyphens, .info, .biz, .us. .co.cc or whatever... when you know Off Page SEO, you can outrank EMDs, .COMs and even out rank the company you are an affiliate for.


        Originally Posted by Richard Odell View Post

        Google ignores the hyphens and the tld doesn't matter, the content and the link love does.

        Dashes vs. underscores
        Finally, some Off Page SEO sensibility!

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        • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
          Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

          The only individuals split on this issue are those who don't have a clear understanding of OFF PAGE SEO.
          Crew Chief your statement is incorrect. For sure you can get page one rankings for any domain. Just takes more backlinking is all. But despite the thousands of campaigns I have run I must not have as "clear an understanding" as you do on the topic.

          Go ahead and grab two domains targeting the same keyword. Both with exact matched top level domains. One with hyphens and the other without. Put two different 500 word articles optimized for the keyword on them and then ping them both.

          I will bet you my next years profits that it will be the non hyphenated domain.

          When grabbing domains it's all about getting a head start against the other competitors targeting that keyword. Once you have the domain you then have to optimize the page to the hilt and then check to see where you rank in a few days.

          That's when the backlinking kicks in.

          But to make a blanket statement stating others do not have a clear understanding who disagrees with you on the subject is ignorant at best.
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          • Profile picture of the author dags_87
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            I'd take the .org every time over hyphenated domains. I don't have any problem getting them to rank.
            Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

            After running thousands of seo campaigns I can tell you with full certainty that the non hyphenated .org will get better rankings for you than the hyphenated .com. Yahoo still seems to give good rankings for the hyphenated domains though. But who cares about Yahoo!
            That's what I was looking for. On that basis, I'll go for the unhyphenated dot org domain. Thank you very much for the advice.
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            • Profile picture of the author el-chucklebuck
              Good luck with your campaign.

              Cheers
              El-Chucklebuck
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  • Profile picture of the author el-chucklebuck
    Definitely go with the .com if possible. Although, .org does inspire trust with human visitors...

    Cheers,
    El-Chucklebuck
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I'd take the .org every time over hyphenated domains. I don't have any problem getting them to rank.
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  • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
    After running thousands of seo campaigns I can tell you with full certainty that the non hyphenated .org will get better rankings for you than the hyphenated .com. Yahoo still seems to give good rankings for the hyphenated domains though. But who cares about Yahoo!
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    • Profile picture of the author el-chucklebuck
      Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

      After running thousands of seo campaigns I can tell you with full certainty that the non hyphenated .org will get better rankings for you than the hyphenated .com. Yahoo still seems to give good rankings for the hyphenated domains though. But who cares about Yahoo!
      Well that's good to know.
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  • Profile picture of the author Martin2010
    .org for me as the major search engines hate - domains. Also it looks pants
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  • Profile picture of the author DNChamp
    Here is my take on it beign a domain investor. As far as SEO goes the SE will see the hyphen and will NOT affect your seo at all so your ok with that...Now with that beign said when it comes to marketing your domaing and such if people HEAR the domain EVEN if you say the hyphen in it a lot will still go to the non hyphen version of the domain.So my choice would be the .org unless the reg .com is NOT developed and make an offer
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    • Profile picture of the author Crew Chief
      Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

      Crew Chief your statement is incorrect. For sure you can get page one rankings for any domain. Just takes more backlinking is all...
      Matt, the statement you just made [For sure you can get page one rankings for any domain. Just takes more backlinking is all.] is the whole point of what I was saying. The bottom line...
      • A hyphenated domain name can out rank .com with proper Off Page SEO
      • A .biz can out rank a .com with proper Off Page SEO
      • A .co.cc can out rank a .com with proper Off Page SEO
      • So forth and so on...
      Hence, my statement that anyone arguing over which type of domain name is better than the other as it relates to outranking your competition doesn't understand Off Page SEO.

      That my friend IS NOT an incorrect statement!

      As I've previously stated, I've outranked EMDs and then again I have EMDs that are perched in the top spot, but not because they are an EMD. But because I've done Off Page SEO to keep them perched in that top position.

      Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

      But despite the thousands of campaigns I have run I must not have as "clear an understanding" as you do on the topic.

      Go ahead and grab two domains targeting the same keyword. Both with exact matched top level domains. One with hyphens and the other without. Put two different 500 word articles optimized for the keyword on them and then ping them both.

      I will bet you my next years profits that it will be the non hyphenated domain.
      Honestly, Matt, what is that hypothetical analogy going to prove? And why would you, I or anyone else who is genuinely versed in Off Page SEO burn valuable time running such a valueless case study when we know for an incontrovertible fact we can take any domain name whether it be hyphenated, .biz or a .co.cc and out rank a .com. EMD or any non hyphenated domain name when we set out do it?

      You obviously missed the point of the statement I made and why I made it.

      Let me see if I can clarify things by sharing these two incidents that happened just this week.

      Since this Monday, I've received two different offers from desperate IMers.

      In the first situation, the IMer bought a system a few years ago that encouraged him to buy EMDs. He was led to believe that once he launched these EMDs, he would automatically out rank everyone else by the mere fact that he had EMDs.

      He ended up investing in approximately 100 or so EMDs with the belief that he was going to make a killing. His thinking was a minimum of $5.00 bucks a day per EMD. Two years later, none of his EMDs are ranked on page 1 in the top slot. The ebook that he bought failed to mention that an EMD doesn't guarantee top ranking. The ebook also failed to mention that someone who knows Off Page SEO could easily outrank an EMD.

      Oh, and I should note that he didn't know anything about Off Page SEO.

      In the second scenario, the desperate IMer offered to sell his entire portfolio of domain names because he had enough of IM. He'd been at it for almost five years and was in the red each year and simply had enough. He has some sweet .com domain names and has the On Page SEO thing down pact but his problem was, he was being out ranked by SEO Pros who know Off Page SEO.

      After listening to him in length, he had been convinced that having the "RIGHT" domain name (i.e. under 13 characters, no hyphens and only .COMs) was the key to his success. What's sad is, he believed that thought pattern so passionately, that he paid premium prices for many of those domain names and now he is reduced to cold calling people in hopes of dumping these hot domain names before they expire.

      It wasn't until he examined the sites that outranked him that he finally accepted the fact that the belief he embraced which stated that the better the domain; the better the rankings [was in fact, a fallacy.]

      So again, when I said, "The only individuals split on this issue are those who don't have a clear understanding of OFF PAGE SEO." That is a correct statement.

      Why would someone who clearly understands how to execute Off Page SEO - argue and debate or be split over which would be the best to use; hyphenated, .com, .biz or .org?

      Such an argument from a seasoned Off Page SEO Pro simply doesn't make sense.

      Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

      But to make a blanket statement stating others do not have a clear understanding who disagrees with you on the subject is ignorant at best.
      Matt, this wasn't about a disagreement but if that's your perception, to each his own.

      This was discussion about clarifying the fact that any domain name can be out ranked given the proper Off Page SEO and time. AND, in regards to ranking high in the SERPs, that no domain, whether it be a .com or an EMD has no inherent advantage when said domain names come up against savvy Off Page SEO.

      Originally Posted by dags_87 View Post

      That's what I was looking for. On that basis, I'll go for the unhyphenated dot org domain. Thank you very much for the advice.
      Just so you know, there are plenty of scenarios that you WANT to use hyphens even if the .com is available. Here's two examples:

      Businesssecuritysystems.com (See the triple Ss? You don't want that! You don't even want a double! Hyphens correct such issues)

      I believe Alexa used this example about a month ago. There is a plant nursery called: Mole Station Native Plant Nursery. Here is the domain name that they had and eventually let go after a hailstorm of complaints, jokes and ridicule:

      http://www.molestationnursery.com/

      Had they had hyphens: http://www.mole-station-nursery.com/

      They might have been OK!

      Giles, the Crew Chief
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