Hyphens in URL a no-no?

by RRG
27 replies
Looking at getting a domain and setting up a site in a niche where all the top domains are taken.

In some of these domains, hyphenated versions are available.

Example:

MarketingForNiche.com - not available

Marketing-For-Niche.com - available

The fact that the latter is available implies to me it's not worth having.

What are the pros and cons of using a domain with good keywords that includes hyphens?

Thanks!
#hyphens #nono #url
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Monroe
    I don't actually think there is any evidence that states using a hypen in your URL is bad.

    I've got multiple sites that rank in position one, from exact EMD's, hyphenated EMD's and generic "brand names".

    All have the same SEO applied to them and the finally outcome was the same on every site. All rank on the top three positions, mainly position one.

    If it makes any difference, all five of my URLs with hyphens are ranked #1 in Google.
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    • Profile picture of the author David McGimpsey
      Over the last six years (for SEO purposes) I've had very little luck with hyphenated domains ranking in the short term. From an SEO perspective I would say find something without hyphens if you can, or have one hyphen max.
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    • Profile picture of the author theaccountant
      Yeah but that proves nada I can get a site to index and rank number 1 for a keyword / phrase any where up to 100 million competitors during my lunch hour but they are not money keywords.

      Big deal
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    • Profile picture of the author TimK06
      Originally Posted by Josh Monroe View Post

      I don't actually think there is any evidence that states using a hypen in your URL is bad.

      I've got multiple sites that rank in position one, from exact EMD's, hyphenated EMD's and generic "brand names".

      All have the same SEO applied to them and the finally outcome was the same on every site. All rank on the top three positions, mainly position one.

      If it makes any difference, all five of my URLs with hyphens are ranked #1 in Google.
      I couldn't agree more Josh! I've never saw any evidence either. As a matter of fact my url has an hyphen in it
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Gram
    I think domains with hyphens look spammy. I'm sure many are not, but that's the impression I get when I see them.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicholasb
    having hyphens makes it easier for someone to forget your url, lets have a look at some of the most successful websites in the world.

    Here is a list of the top sites in the world

    Alexa Top 500 Global Sites

    Not a single hyphen in any of them. I think that pretty much ends the debate right there.
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  • Profile picture of the author JasonBennet
    I personally will not use it as people will tend to forget my domain name easily. I still prefer to get a domain name with all words in it.
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  • Profile picture of the author ArielT
    For an small site not so important to you, and maybe with flipping ideas, the hyphen wouldn't matter so much, but if you are thinking in a site for a long term then no no

    Personally when I build a site that I think will be for a long term I'll use only a .con and not hyphenated
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  • Profile picture of the author howtogurus
    Google does not look at the domain name for positioning. So don't worry about SEO. Technically a name with hyphens will be easier for a search engine to place, as the hyphen is seen as a space, thereby separating your keywords into something recognizable by the search engine. But since they don't use them anyway for ranking, why bother? My advice is always to think of your web site name on a radio ad. If the site name would work well in a radio ad then it is a good name. Say it out loud, see how it sounds. When we read, we internally verbalize the words, in essence speaking them in our minds. The mind remembers words by shape and by sound. If the name sounds good it is more easily remembered, and that is the whole point anyway. Plus hyphens would sound just awful in a radio ad. i.e. "Visit us online at best hypen car hyphen deals hyphen in hyphen town . com." You get the idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author MartinPlatt
    The biggest problem is that when you say where you're from like internetmarketingniche.com nobody knows to put hyphens in, so you have to explain it. Not a good branding choice in my eyes.

    On the other hand, if you whack up some awesome content, I'm sure it will become popular. Just probably not as popular as the without-hyphens version....
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    • Profile picture of the author sonas
      Originally Posted by UMS View Post

      Hyphens can help ambiguity in a domain name.

      Have a look at 30 Unintentionally Inappropriate Domain Names | Bored Panda for some classic examples.
      Reading that list was hilarious! Great example where placing hyphens in the url for some specific company / domain names can be a good thing irrespective of seo concerns.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Forget about chasing keyword rich domains.

    Did Google register search-for-something-online.com?
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    There are numerous reasons not to bother with hyphenated domains

    1. Google is no longer giving an automatic advantage to EMDs
    2. They look cheesy and spammy
    3. Hard to remember for visitors

    The only really good reason to use them is in this link posted by UMS

    30 Unintentionally Inappropriate Domain Names | Bored Panda
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  • Profile picture of the author WordpressManiac
    I like to keep my URLs as short as possible so go for one word if you can. If not one hyphen may be okay but I NEVER go with two or more hyphens, this really is spammy. As said by some warriors befor a whatsmyexactnichedomain.com looks spammy too, that's why I would always suggest to build a brand in 2013.

    If your product is about toilet seats don't go for thebluetoiletseatfromwhallawhalla.com but go for ToiletKings.com this is a little harder to establish, but will pay off as time moves on.

    Just my two cents ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author CamisOnline
    I sympathise with people trying to set up as new domain and site in an established marketplace where all of the best names have already been taken.

    When I was setting up my current website I came within a nats wing of using a hyphenated website address, as so many of the ones that I wanted were already taken.

    Like so many people in this post I came to the conclusion that it would too difficult to either tell people the name of the website, have them remember it or to enter it properly into a search engine.

    In my experience if people can get something wrong they will, you don’t want to put up any barriers to people finding your website.
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  • Profile picture of the author aizaku
    EMDs and hyphenated domains are a thing of the past SEO wise.

    However, my most profitable site is an EMD hyphenated domain but thats because its old as hell, it has tons of great content and good PR.

    but these days, I focus my domains on branding and create authority around it.
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  • Profile picture of the author RRG
    Originally Posted by DonnyBoy View Post

    hyphens are not appreciated much by the people out there. So go for .net as a second choice and .org if .net is also not available... Would not recommend hyphens at any point
    Isn't a dot com crucial?
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  • Profile picture of the author Jillian W
    I just feel like people who does add hyphens in the URL either could not think of anything better or the domain name that they want is taken is just add hyphens in it knowing is more likely to be available.

    Like most people had already spammy, when I look at URL with hypens, it looks spammy and cheap since most sites that I end up at has URLs with hyphens in it..
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  • Profile picture of the author Anoosh Kashefi
    I just don't like the way they look. But, I see hyphens on the first page all the time. Overall, I think you are alright with the hyphen, but if there is any way to avoid it, by all means, I would do that.
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  • Profile picture of the author RachelLily
    I think you should avoid having a dash. The reason is because the majority of Domain Evaluators give a low score for domains with dashes and a even a lower score with more than two dashes.Also, Professional Domain Brokers will not sell a domain with dashes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Hyphens are fine... especially if you can find a way to get 400-500 targeted hits per day to your website... outside of SEO.

    Feel me?

    Don't worry about Google. You're 1 algorithm change away to being placed on page 5. Just find other effective means of free advertising and you will be fine. Market like a madman.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marshallsbiz
    From my experience registering various domains, adding a - in the domain name is not penalized at all...all my domains with a hyphen in then continue to rank very well.
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