Should I use a hyphen in domain names? While considering the domain name for our utility, certain aspects revolve around getting a prime version. It should be catchy, SEO friendly, unique, elaborative, understandable, and sensible regarding the utility.
The hyphen, frequently known as a dash, is the only spacing character allowed in a domain name. That makes it the only option for when you want to register a domain name with two words in it, and you don’t want to—or can’t—mix them with no space between them.
It is the single spacing character permissible in a domain name. Indeed, nobody wants to mess up their domain name by eliminating a single spacing character. But factors are wrapping around the use of a dash (typographically incorrect), so here we are elaborating on each perspective and the overall hyphen in domain name SEO effects. So stay tuned!
What is a hyphen?
The hyphen (-) is a punctuation mark that pairs two words or joins two parts of words together. However, it is good to note that a hyphen is not interchangeable with a dash.
The hyphen is a rare exception to a general principle of acceptable domain names. No punctuation is allowed in the domain name other than the hyphen. Only spaces, letters (without emphasis), and numbers are allowed. The space bar cannot be placed at the beginning or end of the domain name. Internet tools such as domain name servers (which translate website addresses to places where websites are physically stored) treat the dash as a single character, meaning two identical URLs, one with a dash and the other with the same. Without dashes, they are considered a character.
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Factors Enhance the Use of Hyphen in URLs
In some cases, your domain name is likely to be more legible and easier to understand when using a dash. We will explain three different situations in which having a hyphen in your domain name is inevitable.
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Domain for a Local Business
Domain names involving local businesses that work on the caricature of ‘place product or ‘place industry can be benefited from spacing the place name from the name of the product or industry, as such businesses tend to do a lot of advertising in newspapers and billboards. Using SEO hyphens in domain names to separate the locality or area and the service or company will make the domain name more readable and accessible.
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Domain Name in Different Language
Some languages add two words together with no space in between, allowing them to create a new word with a different meaning than if you want two separate words with space between. So in these cases, using a hyphen will be beneficial.
The Word Is Already Hyphenated
If you want to buy a domain name that involves a word usually hyphenated, it would be better to keep the hyphen since it might be difficult for clients to remember that your domain name was not hyphenated previously!
Hyphenated domain names might be a revenue stream for businesses and webmasters. A study has revealed these domain names can be sold at a better price.
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2. Availability of Domain
It potentially seems that the availability of domain names is a significant issue as the resemblance of a similar character may occur. If you still want to get a similar domain name, you need to check whether the non-hyphenated domain is in use or not. If not, then it is safer to register.
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- Use To Abbreviate the Domain Name
By using domains with hyphens strategy, one can easily convert the name of their domain to a short, precise form, making them easy to remember and understand syntax in a very catchy manner.
What does Google say about dash in the domain?
The person asking the question just wants to know if it’s OK to choose a hyphenated domain name.
They weren’t asking whether there’s a ranking advantage. But Google’s John Mueller discusses that as well.
“Is it OK to choose a domain name with two hyphens?
Or is one hyphen better or should hyphens be avoided completely?”
Google’s John Mueller answered:
“Up to you.
Whatever you think makes sense.
Some websites have hyphens, some don’t.”
and he say again :
“I don’t think anything in our algorithms looks specifically for hyphens in domain names.”
Factors Reduce the Use of Hyphen
1. It Creates a Spam Environment
This is a significant issue that arises with using hyphens in domain names. While someone is locating your domain name, the syntax such as hyphen has a degraded identity as it is perceived as a spam site. So it ceases you to create a firsthand positive impact to a back foot start.
2. It Makes the Domain Name Hard To Remember
Suppose you are denoting your domain name to a client. At first, it will have a very catchy impact on the client due to using dashes in domain name, but sooner it will be difficult for the client to locate your domain as it also has a unique signature of a hyphen, which are now hard to remember. And if they didn’t go for the right domain name, they end up on your rival site.
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3. Myths Regarding SEO
It’s a typical myth that a domain with a dash destroys your SEO. While search engines tend to keep their exact algorithms and their secret sauce under wraps, it is often surmised that a hyphen in a website name has no impact on its ranking, supported by past statements of employees. Still, too-long hyphens don’t rank or end well in the SEO parameters. Also, including a dash in your domain name often reflects the brand name as amateurish.
The hyphen vs. underscore SEO URL; Which One Is Better?
One of the reasons why the role of (-) in page addresses and domains is so controversial is because of a lousy comment made by Google’s Matt Katz in 2007 that seemed to show that underlining, for many people, is considered as a word separator.
Matt immediately corrected the idea on his blog, but the misconception remained. Later in 2009, Matt reiterated that you should still use dashes for your dash in domain name SEO because Google does not use underscores as word separators, and he suggested that you use the space again in 2010.
In August 2011, Google’s Matt Katz released a video in which he explicitly stated that dashes are a solution to SEO URLs and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Here are some quotes from Matt Katz’s 2011 video:
“If you want to build a site and you’re just getting started, so you have a blank page to work with, I’ll probably go ahead and go with the dash. “I will continue to rent with a dash for the foreseeable future.”
“No one is going to work on it, so at least for now, it’s better to use a dash.”
Here is Matt’s August video response to the SEO dashed URL and underline:
If your site is currently using underscores instead of dashes, changing them is probably not worth the trouble (ultimately, 301 redirects do not pass 100% of the link water). Matt Katz stressed that the ranking difference between the dash and the underline is moderate – but there is a ranking difference.
When Should You Choose a Hyphen in Domain Names?
Besides making the context and content of a website clear, there are some situations where you should use hyphens in your domain name. These are:
1- If you insert a hyphen, a local business domain name becomes much easier to read and relate to.
For example, the city and business niche or the country and industry.
In addition, local businesses do a lot of other advertising on traditional media, and it would be easier to read hyphenated domain names on billboards or cable TV scroll ads.
2- When a word is naturally hyphenated, please don’t bother to remove it. It would only make it look artificial.
Take the words “pet-friendly” or “low-budget,” for instance. If you remove the hyphen from these two words, it doesn’t look or sound the way it’s meant to be.
3- You can’t confine yourself to only the English language when you think of domain names. There are many languages where joining two words results in a comment with a different meaning.
In such cases, it’s better to use hyphens in the domain name. Just make sure not to use more than one hyphen.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Hyphens in Domain Names Good or Bad?
If you want to use a dash in website name, you can, but it’s generally not recommended if it can be avoided. The problems are many and there are no actual benefits unless you absolutely need the clarification. Sometimes, you might want to register a domain name with a hyphen because you’re looking to protect your brand name or other intellectual property, or if you just want to keep away from confusion.
Generally, it highly depends more on your situation. Consider these domain names with hyphens examples: If your domain name is two words (like www.samplesite.com), you may want to separate the words with a hyphen for readability: www.sample-site.com. But, take into account that the use of hyphens also strongly seems like spam and decreases domain name memorability or readability.
Do Dashes in Domain Name Hurt SEO?
Google can show different search results based on whether a website has a dash in its name or not when you search for a word or term with or without it. When you confront hyphenated words, you ask yourself “do hyphens affect SEO?”. It has been said that the site ranks on the first page of Google’s search results for the keyword without the hyphen, but when you include the hyphen in the keyword, it doesn’t rank.
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Generally, we acknowledge the fact based on the arguments of spam environment and communication barrier that one simply shouldn’t register a domain name with hyphen. This is often an honest example of a fact that really just a shortcut for the more important, big picture, which is: consider your future business website visitors once you register a website name. It is getting complicated to elucidate them and a bit sophisticated to recollect the name.
To eliminate such an issue we simply don’t include it. Otherwise, be happy to register a website with a hyphen in it. Asking yourself is a hyphen in a domain name bad? Actually, if you’ve got the budget, getting both the hyphenated and non-hyphenated versions of a website name may be a good idea for brand protection, and for traffic generation.
Hyphen works as great symbolism producer as it posses the unique property of creating space between words and letter similarly as underscore but in order to make domain name and tittles more catchy don’t mess up with you intactness with other heavy multinationals.