Hyphens in multiple word domains or not?

20 replies
Lets say for example I wanted the domain bowlingforidiots.com would it be better to have it as bowling-for-idiots.com?

I've always thought that it made no difference at all, but lately I've been experimenting with Web CEO, and for one of my multi-word domains it suggested that I should have used hyphens.

I can't seem to find a cut and dried answer to this question, does anyone have a definite answer?

I plan on driving most of my traffic via video marketing and article marketing. So the typing of the hyphens should not be a big deal, since in most cases, people will be clicking a hyperlink.

Any input appreciated.
#domains #hyphens #multiple #word
  • Profile picture of the author WilliamM
    There are probably a lot of opinions on the subject. Whether you go with hyphens or not may depend on what you want to do with the site.

    I build niche content sites and generate income from Adsense and affiliiate programs. I have a website with 3 hypens in the domain name. It has lots of high rankings for my keywords, gets about 42,000 unique visitors a month, and generates a decent income.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Moser
    Always go with the non-hyphenated version first if available!
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  • Profile picture of the author Christian Fox
    That is what I always thought also but that is NOT what Web CEO is telling me when I run a page optimization on it. Read below.....

    My domain is sportsbettingfordummies.net

    It's a little confusing here if they are talking about the page name or the entire url but obviously sportsbettingfordummies.net/index.html should be considered as having the keyword in it as far as I can tell.


    1. Your keyword isn't present in the URL! Our research of hundreds of search engines top-lists shows that keyword presence in the URL is crucial for achieving high rankings in a search engine's results list. By placing keywords in your domain name, you gain a serious advantage with search engines. If your URL points to an already established and high-ranked web page, we do not recommend altering it. However, this factor is worth considering when you create new pages / sites. Most major search engines favor websites with keywords in their URL; however, remember to use them sensibly and not to abuse them. When optimizing a page for a key phrase,
    separate keywords in the URL with a hyphen (domain/web-site.html) or an underscore (domain/web_site.html), but do not write them as one word. Otherwise, search engines will understand it as a single word (even if the search engine result highlights this keyword in bold), and your work on URL optimization will be wasted.
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    • Profile picture of the author jmidas
      I've come around to the belief that IF you dont have to worry about people remembering and typing the name, the hyphens are better from a SEO point of view. I think this is especially true for page names within your site.

      But in general, from an overall marketing point of view - if you need to rely on someone actually typing it - don't use the hyphens.

      As a balance, for the last couple sites I did, my domains are not hyphenated, but all my page names are keyword related with hyphens in between.

      So, for your purpose, I would use the hyphens.
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  • Profile picture of the author ManAbout
    Maybe Web CEO can't distinguish the separate words in that url but google definitely can. Try it yourself.
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  • Profile picture of the author p2y
    I use hyphens on my seo domains all the time, and on MSN you can even use a double hyphen such as make--money.com and MSN will still read it as just "make money".
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  • Profile picture of the author yoshiko
    This is something interesting I realised today. I had a hyphenated domain when i just started out and come to think of it, that site of mind did rank alright with the SEO then. I may try this the next time i set up another new site. Thanks guys.
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  • Profile picture of the author Samuel Lee
    Great perspectives so far, I think it largely depends if your using a domain name with hyphens for Google search results or Google Adwords. If you don't want someone to remember and type your domain name the hyphens are better from a SEO point of view. If they are divided up into seperate page names in your site this is especially true. Generally speaking if you need someone to type it into a webbrowswer - don't use the hyphens. I think for the last site I did, my domains are not hyphenated, but all my seperate page names are "keyword related" with hyphens in between. I wouldn't think in your case you would need to use hyphens. Hope this helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author prairiedog
    Bought a WSO from a very successful Domainer and he suggested that we can use hyphens very profitably.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikemcmillan
    I'm pretty sure Google reads hyphens as spaces (not so with underlines). Too many hyphens though tends to look spammy to Google and it may look with suspicion at your site. I wouldn't use more than 3-4 max. You can do a search for a term such as "dog training", "dog-training" and "dog_training" and you will find that the first two examples give you essential the same results, while the last example gives you results for sites with dog_training in the URL.

    Reverse engineering this concept then, indicates that an URL with dog_training in it would not turn up as well as an URL with dogtraining or dog-training in it--of course all other things being equal.

    The underline seems to tell Google that the connected words are all one word, while the hyphen is read as a space.

    The time when hyphens may not be the first choice is when you are trying to establish a brand for a new product. People might believe that the site with dogtraining in the URL is the real site, while the one with dog-training is a knock-off of or affiliate of that site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Christian Fox
    Well..... I have some input

    I just registered a few domains and optimized them fairly well for some affiliate work. My site www.Build-Wind-Generator.net is already ranking incredibly well.

    For example I am #20 in Google of about 28,800,000 for build wind gen and this is something I had not really optimized for.
    The site is also less than 5 days old. I am amazed at the number of hits I am getting already... I think I might have this seo thing figured out....It's cool to watch my statcounter and see where all of the search hits are coming from, all of them practically in the first 2 pages regardless it seems of the number of competing pages.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterlmno
    this is so confusing, i have come across this problem as well. It seems most people in here lean towards the use of hyphens. I will have to test this out.

    if I purchased helloworld.com, do you think i should purchase hello-world.com as well??
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  • Profile picture of the author TrafficGuy Claude
    You definitely want to have your keywords in your domain if possible. Hyphens help you do this, so hyphens are good.
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  • Profile picture of the author robd1302
    I think no hyphens is perceived as being higher quality, but when a user is looking at a list of sites, or Google search results, I think a hyphenated domain stands out much more.

    I tend to use non-hyphenated domains by default, but I have some with hyphens, and they do quite well.
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  • Profile picture of the author lavaleekathy
    With URL's I always think its easier for people to remember your web page (if that's your intention) with keyword rich words AND hyphens as hyphens are better from a SEO point of view.
    If people are just typing your URL its probably better to not use hyphens, as this is just more typing for the user, however in your specific case I think hyphens would be a better choice. Just my 2 cents!
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  • Profile picture of the author twannahiga
    A very specific case you have so I think I would always go with the non-hyphenated version first if available, cut down on the typing required for the user, and choose keyword rich words for my domain name. Hope this assists!
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