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Does anyone have an answer to this?

shags38

Top Contributor
Seems in another thread of a similar nature this particular "specific" aspect of hyphenated domain names was not addressed. Does anyone have an answer to this question - no guesses please.

Example:
search term = red fire engine.
Will the domain red-fire-engine.com return the same "juice" or same results points as domain redfireengine.com (given everything else is equal)..... (could be any multiple word, 3 or more, domain name) ??

Reason for question: when using Google ADwords Keyword Tool the results data shown is exactly the same for hyphenated and non hyphenated search terms except that search "red fire engine" shows as highlighted text when those words appear in the results but "red-fire-engine" search (typing in the hyphens) does not show these words as highlighted which indicates to me there is likely a difference in the way the robots return searches for multi word domains with dashes as spaces between words but the difference is not explained. It is understood that the robots see a space as a - (dash) as is indicated in html code, so by rights the search results should be the same - so why the difference in adwords keyword tool search?

I have a list of domains I want to register that will be hyphenated but only if the robots do not penalize the hyphen (I am not worried about the searcher ease of remembering the site name, I am primarily concerned about the domain name assisting in ranking (SERP) for searches for that exact term - I appreciate that there are many other more significant factors that are assessed for ranking than the domain name however it obviously helps if it is an exact match to the search inquiry and recognised as such by the robots, right?

thanks in advance for your responses
 

Lorenzo

Top Contributor
the algorithm changes all the time, right now I'd say hyphenated scores less than non hyphenated ones
 

payattention

Archived Member
Hello Shags :)

If everything else is equal (backlinks, content, site architecture etc) then I believe an exact match domain will beat out a hyphenated one every singe time. Of course, that type of situation is purely hypothetical and not worth worrying about.

Red fire engine and red-fire-engine are 2 completely different search terms which you can validate for yourself by searching in Google. I think it's fair to say that no-one is searching for red-fire-engine and the fact Adwords doesn't return any data is proof of that.

You can build links using red fire engine as the anchor text to http://www.red-fire-engine.com/ and it won't impact any differently than if your website was http://www.bestredfireengine.com/

Why would Google penalise any site for having hyphens? There is obviously an exact match domain bonus but that doesn't mean you'll lose points for not having it, you simply won't have that little edge it gives SEO wise. It's quite simple to concieve that Googlebot treats - as a space but understands that people don't search in such a manner thus there is no search data for it in Adwords.

Search engines aside, I think hyphens make sites look spammy and I would suggest using a prefix or suffix instead - bestredfirengine.com or redfireengineblog.com or whatever you're happy to use. Try to keep additional characters to a minimum where possible.
 

shags38

Top Contributor
Hello Shags :)

If everything else is equal (backlinks, content, site architecture etc) then I believe an exact match domain will beat out a hyphenated one every singe time. Of course, that type of situation is purely hypothetical and not worth worrying about.

Red fire engine and red-fire-engine are 2 completely different search terms which you can validate for yourself by searching in Google. I think it's fair to say that no-one is searching for red-fire-engine and the fact Adwords doesn't return any data is proof of that.

You can build links using red fire engine as the anchor text to http://www.red-fire-engine.com/ and it won't impact any differently than if your website was http://www.bestredfireengine.com/

Why would Google penalise any site for having hyphens? There is obviously an exact match domain bonus but that doesn't mean you'll lose points for not having it, you simply won't have that little edge it gives SEO wise. It's quite simple to concieve that Googlebot treats - as a space but understands that people don't search in such a manner thus there is no search data for it in Adwords.

Search engines aside, I think hyphens make sites look spammy and I would suggest using a prefix or suffix instead - bestredfirengine.com or redfireengineblog.com or whatever you're happy to use. Try to keep additional characters to a minimum where possible.

thanks for your reply Jonathon, lots of thought applied.

Just thought I would mention that I have done some more search keyword searches since receiving your reply and have still found that the search term entered with hyphens returned the exact same results in Google Adwords keyword tool - except as I said in my post that the "highlighting" was absent. That in itself is the key to the question - if Adwords recognises the search with hyphens to be able to produce the results and the results do no not vary then why the lack of highlighting? :confused: (maybe my monitor is running short on ink?)

Disclaimer: the above drivel is coming from someone who regged nearly 2000 absolutely useless 3D names :D - take with a truckload of salt
 

Lorenzo

Top Contributor
Thanks fire-breather for the reply - by what margin do you think?

put this way, if all other parameters were identical:

non hyphenated ranks straight to the top

hyphenated would be under all non hyphenated ones (if more than one extension is compared)

I have done a lot of research on this issue and till 2 weeks ago, I saw the above scenario.
 

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