Can Multiple Hyphens in the Domain Name Raise a Red Flag with Search Engines?

Nov 28, 2007 • 7:44 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization
 

A DigitalPoint Forums thread asks, can multiple hyphens in a domain name raise a red flag with a search engine?

For example, if you have a domain name that is something like www.buy-shoes-now-online-for-cheap.com, would that type of domain raise a red flag with a search engine and warrant a manual review?

In fact, we discussed specific examples of sites with this issue back April 2005 and also wrote about a mystical Hyphen Filter in May 2004, which are both dated articles.

If you want evidence that Google does index domains with multiple hyphens, click here. The first result has six, I repeat, six hyphens in the domain.

Six Dashes in Domain Name

So I would say there is no automated penalty for having many hyphens in the domain name but I would still be careful.

(1) It is not user friendly (2) It just looks weird (3) It may raise a red flag (who knows)

Forum discussion at DigitalPoint Forums.

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Comments:

Chris Beasley

11/28/2007 01:30 pm

I use a lot of hyphen domains and they do fine (no more than 2 hyphens though, and usually just 2) but, I think the largest problem with them is that USERs see them as spam and so may be less likely to click them in the SERPs.

Marios Alexandrou

11/28/2007 02:01 pm

I recently came across a site using double-dashes in between keywords. The single-dash and no dash versions were already taken. Clearly an effort to rank highly (and it did for the primary keyword) with no consideration for type in traffic and additional evidence that dashes alone won't keep a site out of the SERPs.

Brent

11/28/2007 02:40 pm

I also have a client that has a www.keyword1--keword2--keyword3.com domain and it ranks for the keyphrase and draws traffic.

No Name

11/29/2007 12:22 am

the chance is taking it as spam., i think. i too have bad experience

Adam Fairbanks

11/29/2007 06:59 am

Using hyphens can help with search engine optimization, because it helps search engines acurately discern the keywords from the domain name. (E.g., A search engine would have a difficult time separating condominiumssantaana.com into the keywords condominiums-santa-ana.com.) To get the benefits of both direct navigation and search engine optimization, I often recommend buying both the hyphen and non-hyphen versions of a domain name, and have both domains point to the same site.

Terry Van Horne

11/29/2007 07:59 pm

Give me a break, why is www.a1computersoftwarediscountmicrosoft.com any friendlier than with the hyphen? IMO, in that case the - is friendlier, looks no less weird and just as much of a spam flag! Sorry IMO, people jump on the hyphen with no research whatsoever to backup what they say. I have done research for years and can tell you it doesn't affect anything!

Barry Schwartz

11/29/2007 08:36 pm

Terry, both are horrible, imo. ;-)

No Name

12/07/2007 06:15 am

I too had a bad experience ... Any way mnow a days, i avoid the underscores, even a signel one.

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