Using Hyphens in Domain Names: The pros and cons
There is ongoing controversy in the SEO world on hyphens or no hyphens in domain names. There are SEO ramifications, conversion ramifications, perception issues, SEM issues and branding issues. See the pros and cons of using hyphenated domains in 2017.
Pros for Using Hyphens in Domain Names
- You set the same SEO/traffic as the non-hyphened domain names (see the links below including Matt Cutts’ videos)
- Many of the industry changing domains are already take. Even worse many of the are just parked. With hyphenated domains, you get to play with the key word big boy names as long as there not a copyright infringement.
- Hyphens can be used as separators by the Google Search Engines for correct parsing. For example, if you had a domain together.com that would be a one-word domain. However, if you had to-get-her.com, that has a totally different meaning to the search engines and the human searchers.
- Another example is the domain “nondotcoms.com”. That could be parsed by the search engines as “no do toms.com” which would put your SERP at near zero every second of the day. However, if you used “non-dot-coms.com”, both the search engines and the human searchers will know what this website is about quickly.
Cons for Using Hyphens in Domain Names
- With exception of my example above, should you always buy non-hyphenated domains? Absolutely. However, if the domain is not available, the of purchase is too high, it parked and you don’t know who to contact; then a keyword hyphenated dot com is a good choice.
- Hyphenated domains usually make awful brand names (but not always).
- You may not get any “type in” traffic when using hyphens, just search traffic.
- Most would agree that having a non-hyphenated premium domain carries more clout and instant trust even if the SEO is the same. I absolutely agree. The catch is this is also reflected in the price. womensshoes.com is worth over a 1/4 of a million dollars and womens-shoes.com appraised at very low five figures.
- Hyphenated domain names “may” have a spammy connotation to them. Google says the hyphenated domains are perfectly fine.
- What about hyphenated non-dot-coms. I actually own one but it a killer keyword combination. It generates a few million in SERP a month. However, like I said,…. I still own it.
I recommend you identify your objective for your brand, campaign, landing page, or project. Try to get the non-hyphenated domain if possible with respect to the above exceptions and costs. If it is unavailable, then you can decide to try another domain, look at a hyphenated
- then you can decide to try another domain,
- look at a hyphenated dot com domain or
- a ccTLD (dot XXXXX) domain.
Good luck and let me know your opinions, comments, and your empirical and anecdotal findings at the email address below.
Matt Cutts (manages Google’s algorithm) on using hyphens in domains
Google’s Matt Cutts talks about the power of keyword domains
Let me see the domain lists
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