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    Question To dash or not to dash in URLs


    Does google or any other engine penalize or give less attention to URLs with dashes in them. I have experimented with them and it seems to me that dashes..(www.widgets-cool.com) in the url work against the PR...I would love to get a few peoples' take on it!

    thanks
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    I've used both "-" and "_" on my pages equally. The pages with "-" seem to rank a little better than the pages with "_". I'm not sure how to explain this, but I believe Google consider "-" as a separater like " ". So "Black_Widgets" is considered one word and "Black-Widgets" is considered two words.
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    This subject shoud be in a FAQ somewhere - it crops up all the time...

    http://www.ihelpyouservices.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=15097

    BTW, hyphens in the domain should not have any effect on Google PageRank unless Google is applying some sort of penalty. PR is strictly a function of links. The issue with hyphens is whether or not you get a boost from having a keyword parsed in your domain name - which may help when you get IBLs that use your domain name as the anchor text.
    Last edited by Bernard; Feb 13th, 2005 at 12:35 PM.
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    I checked already


    Originally Posted by Bernard
    This subject shoud be in a FAQ somewhere - it crops up all the time...

    http://www.ihelpyouservices.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=15097

    BTW, hyphens in the domain should not have any effect on Google PageRank unless Google is applying some sort of penalty. PR is strictly a function of links. The issue with hyphens is whether or not you get a boost from having a keyword parsed in your domain name - which may help when you get IBLs that use your domain name as the anchor text.

    I did a thorough search for URl and Dashes..nothing..
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    since google uses a huge dictionary with almost every word, it would make sense that my-keyword for google counts for two words and mykeyword is an 'unknown' word for google, since google cannot recognise when to 'break' the word. For example mykeyword could be either 'mykey' and 'word' and also it could be 'my' and 'keyword' or 'my' and 'key' and 'word'. So the dash seems most possible to be a word delimiter for google. This is valid for domains.

    Now regarding the filenames, consider the above as valid and also add the '_' the same as the dash.
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    Originally Posted by giorgoc
    since google uses a huge dictionary with almost every word, it would make sense that my-keyword for google counts for two words and mykeyword is an 'unknown' word for google, since google cannot recognise when to 'break' the word. For example mykeyword could be either 'mykey' and 'word' and also it could be 'my' and 'keyword' or 'my' and 'key' and 'word'. So the dash seems most possible to be a word delimiter for google. This is valid for domains.


    Now regarding the filenames, consider the above as valid and also add the '_' the same as the dash.
    I strongly disagree. G, or any other SE, is not a dictionary. It does not check validity of the string entered or compares it to the known words. When someone searches for "blue widgets" first thing any SE does is combines both words together to see if its in the URL (or filename). Dash or underscore is another character and may actually hurt your rankings. Ive been always able to obtain higher rankings with bluewidgets.com then with blue-widgets.com or blue_widgets.com.
    Last edited by faremax; Feb 13th, 2005 at 01:31 PM.
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    I personally do not think that Google cares either way from a ranking perspective Dash or no dash, and I know for a fact that it has no effect on PR - HOWEVER

    Both MSN and Yahoo strongly favor dashes (Hyphens) IMO vs conjoined words.

    As for hyphen vs underscore - it is my understanding that hyphen is parsed as a spaced between keywords and underscore is not example

    seo-guy = seo guy
    seo_guy = seoguy

    Hope that helps
    Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles [Of Google] will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit. Google.com

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    Originally Posted by seo guy
    I personally do not think that Google cares either way from a ranking perspective Dash or no dash, and I know for a fact that it has no effect on PR - HOWEVER

    Both MSN and Yahoo strongly favor dashes (Hyphens) IMO vs conjoined words.

    As for hyphen vs underscore - it is my understanding that hyphen is parsed as a spaced between keywords and underscore is not example

    seo-guy = seo guy
    seo_guy = seoguy

    Hope that helps
    Yes, I agree that it doesn't matter for G if there is a dash or not. Especially for PR calculation. Looks like new M also does not care much. But in Y I was always able to attain higher rankings without dashes and underscores. I actually had a test performed and optimized bluewidgets.htm, blue-widgets.htm and blue_widgets.htm. For bluewidgets.htm I was #1 in relatively short time and #3 and #4 respectively for the other two. Not a big difference but it can be in real world.
    Last edited by faremax; Feb 13th, 2005 at 05:35 PM. Reason: incorrect information
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    Interesting on the DASH


    Do you have evidence of this? Cuz all i ever see in the results pages of site with high PR are the mywidget.com as opposed to my-widget.com...im just trying to get to the bottom of it...it's been nagging me for about 2 years

    better example:

    www.blue-man.com...
    Does the Bot only read anything "blue" and anything "man" and it will NOT search for blueman ..will this site rate lower..

    Originally Posted by seo guy
    I personally do not think that Google cares either way from a ranking perspective Dash or no dash, and I know for a fact that it has no effect on PR - HOWEVER

    Both MSN and Yahoo strongly favor dashes (Hyphens) IMO vs conjoined words.

    As for hyphen vs underscore - it is my understanding that hyphen is parsed as a spaced between keywords and underscore is not example

    seo-guy = seo guy
    seo_guy = seoguy

    Hope that helps
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    There doesn't have to be a direct causal link between dashes in urls and PR. It can be an indirect effect, or two effects of another cause. Example....

    Back in 199x, someone got himself the domain whitewidgets.com (LOL - I don't like blue widgets - they're an eyesore). He got lots of backlinks since then, hence the high PR. Last year, another adventurous spirit thought he should get into white widgets as well, but alas. All he could choose from was whitewidgets.co.tw and white-widgets.com... Newer site, less backlinks (on average)

    That and the fact that people (not bots) like non-hyphened urls better (e.g. to link to) could have caused your particular examples to show an advantage for non-hyphened sites.

    I'm sure there are lots more reasons why you SHOULD or SHOULD NOT use hyphens. In any case, I'd prefer hyphens to underscores, if only because you can't see the underscore anymore if it's underlined (and links often are...)
    ...please help me w/ the real Redscowl Bluesingsky...how2 check backlinks...now postin' @ SEO Refugee ...
    <`)~ LOL now that I finally have a paypal account, I'm charging 19,- for SEO advice via PM. Seriously...
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    Originally Posted by Wit
    That and the fact that people (not bots) like non-hyphened urls better (e.g. to link to) could have caused your particular examples to show an advantage for non-hyphened sites.
    Do you really think this is the case? that humans prefer no hyphens but that bots don't care?

    It could be interesting because I am currently working on a site for which I have registered both the hyphenated and non- hyphanated domains and I'm trying to decide which one to use, purplewidgets.com or purple-widgets.com.

    Should I go for one rather than the other? And, if so, why? Purely because people don't like the hyphen?

    I would have gone for the hyphenated option - purely for aesthetic reasons. It's easier to read and, therefore, looks more "correct", but maybe I should use the other?

    Have any studies been made on this subject?

    I think I should hold back before going for one rather than the other - the aim is, of course, to get the maximum number of visitors and, for that, I need the best possible SE ranking and linking.

    Any advice?

    Apologies in advance, I'm not trying to hijack this thread - I think my question is linked to the subject...

    Cheers
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    Originally Posted by faremax
    I actually had a test performed and registered bluewidgets.com, blue-widgets.com and blue_widgets.com.
    That's very surprising considering that the underscore is not a valid character for domain names.

    It is valid for directory and file names though.

    jz, get both domains, set a redirect from the non-hyphen domain to the hyphen domain and promote the hyphen domain - IMO.

    Originally Posted by giorgoc
    ... the '_' the same as the dash.
    As SEO Guy mentioned, the hyphen and underscore are not parsed the same way. Feel free to read through the thread referenced previously.
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    Originally Posted by Bernard
    That's very surprising considering that the underscore is not a valid character for domain names.

    It is valid for directory and file names though.
    Yes, you are right. Sorry for the misinformation. They were the pages of course

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