Does a hyphen in domain have negetive effect?

46 replies
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I am looking for a domain name which will have my keyword. The domain I really want is already registered. I have got the second best choice which will include a hyphen. Will it have any negative effect or will it lower the value of that domain?
#domain #effect #hyphen #negetive
  • Profile picture of the author butters
    No for SEO but yes if you want to brand it.
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  • Profile picture of the author webmonopoly
    No difference for seo, but for branding its harder for users to remember it.
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  • Profile picture of the author bmw040
    Since .com's are getting limited, hyphens are a good option.

    I personally use hyphens prior to going to a different Domain Extension (.net, .org, ,co, etc...).

    Good Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author mohsinmallik
    Originally Posted by iPresenceBizSolutions View Post

    Mate, this explains it. I hope you like it.

    Should I use underscores or hyphens in URLs? - YouTube
    I am looking to use hyphen, not underscores at this moment.

    With one hyphen is still okay but not for 2 hyphens, as this will be considered as spamming.
    I am using it only once because it is a 2 word domain name. Should I go for it?
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  • Profile picture of the author winsoar
    They definately do not have any negative effect on SEO.
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  • Profile picture of the author art72
    As stated above, I do not see any negatives in using a hyphen. Personally, I think the hyphen makes sense as it separates the words making them more readable and in my opinion (easier to remember) as opposed to having a jumbled mess, depending upon the length of the domain name.

    I've heard rumors that domains without hyphens hold a greater value for resale, and perhaps branding, but I am not buying into that theory, solely because the real value resides in your content, and if people like the content... they bookmark it or subscribe via RSS.

    I rarely ever type a web address into my browser manually. Cut & paste, bookmark, favorites tabs, etc...

    To say a hyphen has any real impact in search is bogus too, because using Google's keyword tool returns the same results of any two-word searches [exact]... with or without the hyphen.

    I believe it is important to obtain a .com, .net, .info, and on occasion maybe a .org though, as they do hold a specific hierarchy in relation to search.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brent48
      Originally Posted by art72 View Post

      As stated above, I do not see any negatives in using a hyphen. Personally, I think the hyphen makes sense as it separates the words making them more readable and in my opinion (easier to remember) as opposed to having a jumbled mess, depending upon the length of the domain name.

      I've heard rumors that domains without hyphens hold a greater value for resale, and perhaps branding, but I am not buying into that theory, solely because the real value resides in your content, and if people like the content... they bookmark it or subscribe via RSS.

      I rarely ever type a web address into my browser manually. Cut & paste, bookmark, favorites tabs, etc...

      To say a hyphen has any real impact in search is bogus too, because using Google's keyword tool returns the same results of any two-word searches [exact]... with or without the hyphen.

      I believe it is important to obtain a .com, .net, .info, and on occasion maybe a .org though, as they do hold a specific hierarchy in relation to search.
      I agree with Art72....it makes the domain more readable,therefore memorable!
      I think hyphens can be used to your advantage as long as common sense prevails.
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  • Profile picture of the author MrMonetize
    I hate hyphens in domains for branding purposes. Here's a bad example of this -

    The Chinese Tea Company London

    Imagine you were the owner of that site, and had to explain to a customer on the phone your website address.

    "its - the hyphen chinese hyphen tea hyphen company dot com"

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    • Profile picture of the author art72
      Originally Posted by MrMonetize View Post

      I hate hyphens in domains for branding purposes. Here's a bad example of this -

      The Chinese Tea Company London

      Imagine you were the owner of that site, and had to explain to a customer on the phone your website address.

      "its - the hyphen chinese hyphen tea hyphen company dot com"

      In that regard I stand corrected...:rolleyes:

      For two-word domains, I stand firm on my beliefs...
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      • Profile picture of the author TMW
        My first website (in an unrelated industry to those in my signature) had 4 words, 3 hyphens. We are doing well on Google. But I read an article recently saying that hyphens were bad for SEO (which went against everything I had heard before). But I still see many of them on the first few pages of Google so I don't know. . .

        As for the branding issue, that really is irrelevant IMHO. Just use a better brand name re-directed to your site, then give customers the better name.

        As far as I'm concerned, the only issue is how the search engines will respond. Customers and branding can be easily handled in other ways.
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        • Profile picture of the author MrMonetize
          Originally Posted by TMW View Post

          As for the branding issue, that really is irrelevant IMHO. Just use a better brand name re-directed to your site, then give customers the better name.

          As far as I'm concerned, the only issue is how the search engines will respond. Customers and branding can be easily handled in other ways.
          Branding is key for most businesses, its makes your business stand out in the crowd, which for small businesses is important. It can also help increase sales, trust and credibility, so don't dismiss it like it isn't important. What you are doing is building a site for the search engines, rather than your customers which is the wrong way round of looking at it.

          If you have a site that is a better branded name, why not just make that the actual site seen as Google has devalued EMD?

          For example - Twitter.com is more memorable than Short-Message-Social-Network.com or whatever.
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          • Profile picture of the author TMW
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            • Profile picture of the author Kush Sharma
              In my opinion, hyphens do have some effect of SEO, though I'm not sure how relevant it is for a domain name. I have an article that has hyphenated word which is the correct way to write it, but most people searching for the keyword ignore it. The hyphenated version ranking is 4 pages ahead of the unhyphenated one.

              So I suggest you try for a domain without hyphens.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jacob Padget
    People are whimsical and fickel. So, if they type out an address one way, and it's wrong, many will quickly give up and assume that the website does not exist. Adding a hyphon to your domain name is asking for trouble.
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    • Profile picture of the author bobcath
      Originally Posted by Jacob Padget View Post

      People are whimsical and fickel. So, if they type out an address one way, and it's wrong, many will quickly give up and assume that the website does not exist. Adding a hyphon to your domain name is asking for trouble.
      In my experience it's not. It may be if you want to hand out your domain name to others, however I build affiliate sites and my seo does not require that I hand my domain name to anyone; as others have said it makes no difference to seo. I have many hyphenated domins on page 1 of Google.
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  • Profile picture of the author Curtis2011
    No, Google treats hyphens as spaces between words.

    The only negative effect will be the perception of the person viewing the domain name.
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  • I do not see a problem with it. As long as your domain is not hard to remember, I think you should be fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author jayatana
    Just a hypen on a domain i think it doesn't not matter. the matter is when you put more than two hypens on a domain.
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  • Profile picture of the author +newportone
    I have never seen any negative effects with hyphens in domain names.
    At this point in net history you may as well get used to the concept , since name choices are becoming more limited each day.
    Some have replied that the hyphen will hurt you in branding , if it does I believe it will absolutely minimal.
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  • Profile picture of the author leemajors
    For SEO purposes a domain without a hyphen will track better.... so, always try to create a domain without the hyphen if possible. You have to decide on how important it is for your business. good luck
    Originally Posted by mohsinmallik View Post

    I am looking for a domain name which will have my keyword. The domain I really want is already registered. I have got the second best choice which will include a hyphen. Will it have any negative effect or will it lower the value of that domain?
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  • Profile picture of the author eshoppingez
    You din't mention what you need the domain for. I'm pretty sure it would not have a negative effect on your Google rankings, so you can buy it without hesitation for SEO purposes.

    But, if you want to create a brand name, then I would not suggest hyphens in your domain name. You need domains that would be easier to remember in order to properly brand a site, and hyphens are not good for that purpose. So, it depends on what you need the domain for.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Hyphens don't affect SEO efforts, but they do lessen the value of the domain for resale. I don't buy them and a lot of people don't like them.
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  • Profile picture of the author MrMonetize
    Originally Posted by TMW View Post

    My husband and I own two small businesses. Without hyphenated domains, we would not own page one of Google for his business right now. Branding is interesting but irrelevant for most local/small businesses, particularly given exact match domains--was that contractornewyork.com or newyorkcontractor.com??? I don't think they would remember either of those either way. And, as I said, you can forward the better/branded name (which we have done, and for which we paid $350 for the domain that equaled our branded business name--the two word name dot com, which appears on our trucks). That method has been working for us much better than before we were anywhere near Google on any page with our great branded name but without anywhere near the same business. We have had experience in this area that worked for us so saying it doesn't work, well, just isn't accurate.
    I hear what your saying, but from a marketing perspective its completely wrong. Branding is EVERYTHING for small businesses, to help you stand out in a saturated marketplace. You have ranked sites on the first page of Google solely with longtail EMD or whatever and seen some success. Thats fine, it's brought you business so I can understand your point of view. But your business is neither memorable or scalable based on its name. You haven't built your website for your customers, you've built it to capture the search engine traffic. Why does every large company have a brandable domain? Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, WarriorForum? Its because its memorable, and the name alone is enough to make people remember the company which creates repeat business, trust and credibility. That same analogy should be applied to small businesses as well, because your 'brand' is effectively your reputation. And small businesses need a good reputation to survive.

    Someone in a coffee shop isn't going to recommend your business based on its domain name, the name can't be branded effectively on a business card, logo etc because it would look silly. I have a few sites that are EMD, and these are still ranking okay, but they are only meant for online traffic. They are not offline businesses so I have no interest in people recommending the sites, but if you were an offine business then a brandable domain is paramount IMO.

    Google has devalued EMD domains now, so you have equal chance to rank either a EMD or brandable domain depending on your SEO. And from an offline marketing point of view, the brandable name wins every time. You can create stickers, T-Shirts, flyers etc with that brandable name. I don't see the point in forwarding a good brandable domain, to an ugly search engine orientated domain. The ugly domain is lost in the search results, as it isn't recognized by the searcher who is looking for the brandable domain from any advertising.
    Or the user is confused thinking they are going to to brandable domain, and when they end up on a ugly generic domain they click back on the browser as they don't understand domain forwarding. Extreme maybe, but perfectly plausible.

    The following quote is from Google's own patent for detecting commercial queries:

    It is very common to see domain names that include a single hyphen, but when two, three, or more hyphens are present, this is often an indication that these domain names are associated with companies that are attempting to trick search engines into ranking their web pages more highly.
    United States Patent: 8046350

    Here's some great resources on branding for your perusal:

    The Exact Match Domain Playbook: A Guide and Best Practices for EMDs | SEOmoz

    Google's Exact Match Domain Name Patent (Detecting Commercial Queries) - SEO by the Sea

    Why Brand Building Is Important - Forbes

    http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/mark...-need-a-brand-
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  • Profile picture of the author nitesh
    Hyphens make the word clear to understand so if your domain name is of two word then it will be a good choice of adding a hyphen. A single hyphen will not make the SEO word dificult. You may face some problem when you are reselling the domain name because many buyers do not want to buy a domain name with hyphen. I have also registered a domain name with a hyphen and the URL to my domain name is
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  • Profile picture of the author Howard Oreile
    Actually , it doesn't matter, in my case though. It really doesn't affect your search ranking on Google. Ranking vary daily and hyphens has nothing to do with that. It only depends actually on how people sees your domain name.
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  • Profile picture of the author lucidbs
    For branding is no. Branding should be no more than 3 syllable and it's gotta be a dot.com But for seo purpose, I don't see a major difference.
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  • Profile picture of the author usmantech
    No negative seo effect of hyphens. A hyphenated .com is always preferred over other extensions without hyphens.
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  • Profile picture of the author UMS
    Hyphenated domain names can be very beneficial indeed when you have a domain name like:

    expertsexchange dot com

    or

    therapist dot com

    There's loads of other examples where a missing hyphen in the name has very unfortunate outcome.
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    • Profile picture of the author sketchaddict
      Originally Posted by UMS View Post

      Hyphenated domain names can be very beneficial indeed when you have a domain name like:

      expertsexchange dot com

      or

      therapist dot com

      There's loads of other examples where a missing hyphen in the name has very unfortunate outcome.
      Hahahaha... Thats a good one UMS!!

      However the domain names with hyphen can rank as good as the ones without hyphens. But i would always suggest you to go for hyphens when you have your keyphrase with atmost 2-3 words in it...
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  • Profile picture of the author jachu2
    Not at all! It should be fine!
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  • Profile picture of the author jaisonjohn
    From SEO prospective it is really too good whereas for the brand value its not, so decision should be based on the the above mentioned factors and at the same time, think about EMD update i.e. Exact Match Domain, which will cause problem if you don't have quality content in the website.
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  • Profile picture of the author advancedmile
    Originally Posted by mohsinmallik View Post

    I am looking for a domain name which will have my keyword. The domain I really want is already registered. I have got the second best choice which will include a hyphen. Will it have any negative effect or will it lower the value of that domain?
    On its own it won't but in combination with other spammy factors it will.
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    • Profile picture of the author linhuck
      One hyphen doesn't have a negative seo effect, but more than one hyphen does (according to google, if it has two or more, they believe you are trying to manipulate the engines).

      As far as branding and using your domain name on business cards, leaflets, video, press release, letter heads, etc. it does. I believe it cheapens the business and makes the company look less proffesional, but then again I have been in this industry for way too many years and I may (definately) have preconceived ideas of what a domain should be.

      It would be a good idea to look at the fortune 500 and even the top 500 sites on alexa, then see how many have hyphens.

      So, whether it is with hyphens or without hyphens, I wish you luck

      linhuck
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    • Profile picture of the author paulgl
      Originally Posted by strategic seo services View Post

      The hyphen will not effect SEO at all.
      ROTFLMAO! After 1,000 people say the same thing, you must spam that sig link?

      Branding? Branding has nothing to do with anything. Joe Blow does not worry
      about branding, nor does he care. And if "branding" matters, well, you
      probably have a million+ $ company that advertises.

      If your brand mattered, then it would matter to google as well. You type in
      espn, and who gives a rip if the domain goes to a subdomain, complete
      with a period in there? espn.go.com... If hyphens matter for branding, then
      periods would to.

      G-shock, for example. That's the brand G-shock. But what do you think?
      They went for gshock.com. Completely going against branding in their
      domain. Thing is, they are not going for branding in a domain.

      I can't believe how many people fall for this "branding" crap when it comes
      to IM. It's a nonissue, and certainly, for the 1,001 time, has nothing
      to do with SEO, unless you DON'T put one where you should!

      The only thing IMers need to worry about, is branding themselves as spammers.

      And if you have a real business, and you worry about domain and branding,
      then man, your business in deep trouble.

      Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Banned
        Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

        Branding? Branding has nothing to do with anything. Joe Blow does not worry about branding, nor does he care. And if "branding" matters, well, you probably have a million+ $ company that advertises.

        If your brand mattered, then it would matter to google as well. You type in
        espn, and who gives a rip if the domain goes to a subdomain, complete
        with a period in there? espn.go.com... If hyphens matter for branding, then
        periods would to.

        G-shock, for example. That's the brand G-shock. But what do you think?
        They went for gshock.com. Completely going against branding in their
        domain. Thing is, they are not going for branding in a domain.

        I can't believe how many people fall for this "branding" crap when it comes
        to IM. It's a nonissue, and certainly, for the 1,001 time, has nothing
        to do with SEO, unless you DON'T put one where you should!

        The only thing IMers need to worry about, is branding themselves as spammers.

        And if you have a real business, and you worry about domain and branding,
        then man, your business in deep trouble.

        Paul
        What a bunch of bull. First, your example, gshock. Gshock is a brand, whether it has a hyphen or not. If they weren't going for branding, their domain would be thebestmensdigitalwatchesonline.com. lol.

        As for IMers not branding their sites, maybe .... if your definition of an IMer is guys who build cheesy little one page landers and nothing else.

        And if you think branding doesn't matter as it relates to SEO, you're either uninformed or not paying attention or both.

        Google Brand Promotion: Why Brands Rank #1 in Google
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      • Profile picture of the author MrMonetize
        Originally Posted by paulgl View Post


        If your brand mattered, then it would matter to google as well. You type in
        espn, and who gives a rip if the domain goes to a subdomain, complete
        with a period in there? espn.go.com... If hyphens matter for branding, then
        periods would to.

        G-shock, for example. That's the brand G-shock. But what do you think?
        They went for gshock.com. Completely going against branding in their
        domain. Thing is, they are not going for branding in a domain.

        I can't believe how many people fall for this "branding" crap when it comes
        to IM. It's a nonissue, and certainly, for the 1,001 time, has nothing
        to do with SEO, unless you DON'T put one where you should!

        The only thing IMers need to worry about, is branding themselves as spammers.

        And if you have a real business, and you worry about domain and branding,
        then man, your business in deep trouble.

        Paul
        I cant agree with any of this. Of course branding matters, why does every large company have a brandable name? Its about image, reputation and getting more customers. I see you've picked out a case in point, G-Shock. When you look at their logo, what do you say to yourself when you read it. You say GShock. Not G Hyphen Shock. So their board decided to use the domain GShock.com which is quite right. So when you read it, you say the brandable name out loud. Useful when recommending websites to people without getting your tongue tied. And you failed to mention they also own G-Shock.com which forwards to GShock.com so they get traffic from type in's who presume its the former. It was simply a matter of pronouncing the domain name as they intended it to sound. Its not as cool saying - "Theres a smart watch on G hyphen shock dot com".

        I don't think dots should be treated in the same way as hyphens either. They are the one constant in every single domain, so the word dot when read out isn't as alien as saying hyphen when explaining your domain name. If you don't think branding is relevant, why do 95% of the WSOs for sale on here go for a brandable name? Nearly all of the them have a brandable domain, logo, Ebook covers etc to create an impression of professionalism, and so that people remember them. Be it WP Robot, TweetAdder, Buzzinar, BonusPress, SENuke, Clickbank or whatever, the IM niche is littered with brandable products. Branding is tried, tested and makes money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shins
    So the conclusion is to avoid hyphens if possible. No any negative effect on SEO.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Carlin
      Not only do hyphens not matter, domain names don't matter (for SEO).

      You can rank horse-betting.com for "Payday loans".

      The one thing it might effect is click-through, since people searching may think it's odd your domain is not niche relevant, but I've found through re-purposing aged domains that it's not a big effect, less than 10% less clicks in the same ranking position for the software niches I did this in.

      I guess most people just click results rather than reading the snippets or domain URL.

      EMD and "on page" SEO are easy ways to get caught for trying to manipulate the rankings. Links matter more. For organisation I often do silly thing like:
      KeywordAnimalName.com just because it's quicker than searching for exact matches or "good" sounding domain names.

      SoftwareMonkey.com
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Hyphens are a bad idea IMO If another domain name exist without the hyphens.

    Who do you think will get return traffic?
    • hxxp://mydomain.com
    • hxxp://my-domain.com

    I'm sure the domain without hyphens will get most of the direct site search traffic, regardless which site is better. Traffic isn't going to sit there all day trying to figure out hyphens.

    If you have a craptastic site, none of this matters, your not getting any direct site search traffic anyways.
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  • Profile picture of the author LiftMyRank
    I would rather a EMD.net than a E-M-D.com
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    • Originally Posted by strategic seo services View Post

      For SEO it has no effect, but if you want to brand or sell the domain then you should not use a hyphen.
      I also agree that domain name with hyphen are tough to remember. Google won't mind even 10 hyphens in your domain.
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  • Profile picture of the author PROmotions LLC
    Hyphens are not really a big deal, underscores is what sucks. Hyphens are read like a "space" in the eyes of search engines.
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  • Profile picture of the author apnavarun
    Surely no negative seo effect. If you have a shorter and niche related domain name a user can recall it easily only if he wants to ( in case you have a high quality content or interesting content).

    Today most internet hardly wants to stick to one site rather remembering a domain name they put query in search engine. So, I don't think you should bother about domain name but your site layout and quality of content.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hansons
    Well, this would give more info about brand name with hyphen:

    http://productforums.google.com/foru...er/2zIW7y_oaTA
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  • Profile picture of the author tjtigers14
    I have had really surprising success with EMD domains with a single hyphen in them. Add 2 hyphens and they never seem to gain traction, but the single hyphen thing is a bit of a hidden gem.

    One of my domains is killing it right now with a small amount of links, it's equivalent to something like Best-ProductReviews.com
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