Matt Cutts of Google Says Still Go With Dashes in URLs

Aug 10, 2007 • 7:44 am | comments (15) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Matt Cutts finally chimed in on the big buzz about Hyphens & Underscores Are Now Treated Equally in, which was broken by Stephan Spencer at

Matt said, he "didn’t quite say that in the talk." What he did say was that Google was "looking at that now" and it is NOT a "done deal at this point."

Matt does say that if you do have a site with underscores, that at this point, it is not worth revamping all your URLs to use dashes instead.

But he does and a very important note:

If you’re starting fresh, I’d still pick dashes.

So Matt is still recommending that you go with dashes, if it is easy to start off with.

So there you go. Currently, dashes and underscores are not treated equally in Google.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Is Google Shortening Their Snippet Character Limit?



08/10/2007 03:36 pm

Do we get extra points for using both dashes and underscores at once? What if the URL is ?

Daniel Gibby

08/10/2007 05:07 pm

Actually, your last assumption could be wrong. You said: "So there you go. Currently, dashes and underscores are not treated equally in Google." While it could be a good assumption, it could be wrong. Another thing Matt Cutts might be thinking by recommending to go with dashes if starting from scratch is that he personally prefers dashes for other reasons, or that he feels there is a majority who prefer dashes over underscores... he did NOT say that Google treats them differently, and to say that it what he meant is an assumption that could be wrong or right. Let's not make it so Matt Cutts constantly has to keep explaining what he meant over and over and saying that this is not what he said... it seems like it happens pretty often with him. Two ways for solving that: Google can give more exact complete information (but that won't happen for various reasons) or we can stop assuming and using faulty logic to interpret what someone says (not going to happen either, so I feel sorry for Matt). You can see why he 'finally chimed in'... every word he says gets debated with the same mis-directed frenzy as people contending over scripture. I've got T-shirts ready made so people can feel the sympathy for Matt Cutts with me. As soon as I have a minimum order of 12 I'll send it out.

Barry Schwartz

08/10/2007 05:16 pm

Daniel, are you serious? I mean, he clearly said's article is not 100% correct at this time. said Google now treats underscores as word separators. If that is not correct, as Matt said, then underscores are not treated like dashes. So the assumption is valid. Right?

Jon Sanderson

08/10/2007 06:17 pm

oops. Years of working with dashes.. down the drain. :)


08/10/2007 09:11 pm

Please lets not give webmasters a reason to use underscores. They are cumbersome and unreadable in some computers.

Amit Verma

08/13/2007 09:40 am

has google offically announced it ??

Toby Barnett

08/13/2007 04:06 pm

I agree with CVOS, and isn't readability an important factor when it comes to users browsing a site as well as SEs.


08/13/2007 05:45 pm

I think you guys are being used as entertainment. Instead of the old stupid pony tricks, its now the stupid bloggers trick. When the higher ups at Google need a break, they throw you all a teaser and see how long you talk about what they MIGHT have said. Almost like the politcal idiots and the main stream media. "Well, she said this and that means ..." and they talk for hours about nothing while the people who made the stupid comment laugh at you all.

Barry Schwartz

08/13/2007 06:01 pm

Mrmark, that is one way to look at it.

Jeffrey Henderson

08/13/2007 11:43 pm

How silly is this of Google? I calling this one a distraction, to keep us from working on important stuff. I mean seriously, how ridiculous would it be to say dashes are better than underscores, and sites with dashes will better serve our users in finding what they want.

Rob Abdul

08/14/2007 01:17 pm

Thinking out aloud underscores are more for the computers file system and dashes are friendlier to humans. Webmasters should make a dash for it!


08/27/2007 08:37 am

I recall reading somewhere years ago that dashes were treated differently than underscores by Google. But the comment was related to the domain name , not pages.

CVOS man

10/19/2007 07:37 pm

It is not possible to register a domain name with underscores - only hyphens are allowed

No Name

03/13/2008 12:44 pm

Naming URLs is the primary task in SEO and this advice is very useful for website users.

Tony Whincup

04/06/2010 04:11 pm

That is very interesting. I am building a new site, still under construction, but online. I am on the first page of google in 2 relevant search topics - silk ties for sale, ties for sale. I am trying to learn as much as I can regarding keywords,meta tags, URLs, page content, etc.... and linking, and getting links. If using dashes makes it easier for google to crawl, then I would make the time investment, as I still have to think of good URL names for some of my pages.

blog comments powered by Disqus