Hyphen In Domain Names: Domain Value Vs Seo Pros Cons
Not many big-name websites have hyphens in their domain name anymore. This practice was a little bit more common when the web was new, and it might be tempting to think theres no reason to buy a hyphenated domain name.
Does the data support this assumption? There are good reasons to believe the answer is no.
While there are some disadvantages to having hyphens there are also several advantages. Im going to go over the pros/cons of domain names with hyphens, how they affect domain value, as well as SEO effects.
Lets get into it!
A Hyphen In A Domain Name
First of all, if we talk about domain names in terms of SEO, the good news is that Google gives the same value to both, names with dashes and without them. Search engines understand hyphens quite well and count them as spaces. Still, what is remarkable is that Google prefers name accuracy. And that means that domains without hyphens are more valid. However, if we think more from the user experience point of view, there are many cases in which hyphens can help avoid misunderstanding and misreading of some domain names.
The other point about using hyphens in domain names concerns the selection of the most successful and accessible names. You are probably aware that many of the good-sounding phrases are already taken. If you are in a situation like that, you can just add a dash to your domain name, and it will most likely be free.
Hosting A Domain Name With Compound Characters
In a previous article, we saw that it is perfectly possible to use compound characters in a domain name. Examples of this are réussir-en.fr, académie-française.fr, and many others. These names are handled like any other domain name and can be used, for instance, online in URLs or web addresses such as http://réforme-retraites.gouv.fr/. For the end user, they are just like other domain names and have no distinguishing features, unless the software is very old or contains bugs. However, for a technician configuring the software behind the hosting of these names, and the associated services, this is not always the case, and often they have to be handled differently.
This article is therefore intended for those technicians, for example, the system administrator of a HTTP server used to serve a website whose domain name contains these compound characters . It focuses on free software, like Apache or Nginx, since they are essentially the basis for Internet services infrastructure.
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Can We Have Underscores In Url
Underscores cant be used in domain names, as the underscore character isnt permitted. Googles web crawlers dont like complex URLs that are filled with unnecessary characters. If you arent careful to encode special characters, the content management system that youre using will encode your file names for you.
Can A Domain Name Start With A Number
Yes, domain names can start with a number. However, it is only recommended where it makes sense.
For example, 101dalmations.com would be more appropriate than onehundrenandonedalmations.com. On the other hand, oneandonly.com is likely a more desirable domain name than 1andonly.com, purely due to popular culture and branding.
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Unable To Rename Fqdns With Underscores
If you are unable to rename FQDNs that contain underscores, use one of these options to continue getting certificates for those domains.
Use wildcard certificates
If public trust is a must and the underscores are only present in the left-most subdomain , you may use a public wildcard certificate to secure the entire domain .
Use private certificates
If public trust is not required and the underscores are present in any other portion of the domain , you may use private certificates, issued by a Private CA, to secure these domains.
Note: Private certificates are not publicly trusted and will not work on the public internet or in devices that do not trust the private CA root certificate that issued them.
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Homoglyph Bundles And Eu Extensions
Homoglyph bundles are applicable to the following extensions:
Visually identical or confusingly similar characters across different scripts are bundled.
- Latin a versus Greek
There are exceptions to this rule. Below you can find a non-exhaustive list of characters that are bundled with one another, despite not being visually identical or confusingly similar:
- Latin ß and Latin ss
- Latin ss and Greek
- Greek and Greek and Greek and
- Greek i and Greek i i i i i i.
Should one or more domain names happen to be part of a bundle but were registered before 6th May 2015, they will continue to be registered. Should they be deleted, they will not be available for new registration and will become homoglyph blocked in the EURid web-based WHOIS.
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Can You Trademark A Domain Name
If one cannot duplicate a phone number or street address, then why should one have the power to duplicate a domain name? Domain names, similar to words and symbols, can be used to identify a sellers products and distinguish them from the products of another, and are thus viewed as trademarks. The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently ruled that a business must use its domain name to sell goods or services in order to protect the name even if a competitor starts to use the name after you registered the domain. In other words, merely reserving a domain name isnt enough. Thus, its important to register your domain name, because if your domain name has a trademark, the URL has protection under the USPTO.
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Should You Buy A Hyphenated Domain Name
Generally speaking, as a primary brandable domain name for your brand you should not buy a hyphenated domain name. Especially if there arent any inappropriate spelling issues when all the letters are mashed together.
If you are protecting a brand, or find a hyphenated version that has a non-spammy history and could pass link juice with a redirect, then it may very well be worth buying a hyphenated domain name.
This protects your brand and potentially pushes traffic from misspellings. Meanwhile having the main brand on a non-hyphenated domain name gets the full benefits of word-of-mouth while looking professional.
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Relevant Domain More Likely To Be Available
Since most people are looking for website names without hyphens, many great names are already taken. These might have existing sites or are being held as premium domain names costing thousands of dollars.
This can wreck a project budget. The same domain name with hyphens separating the words is often available. Many times at the base rate of $10-20 for a domain name.
This opens up the options for picking up a domain name or getting the domain name that matches the name of your business. There are more relevant, memorable options for domain names available when hyphens are in the mix.
Can A Domain Name Be Banned
So far as I know, the only way to ban a website from the Internet is if its domain name infringes on another companys brands or trademarks. If thats the case, the infringing site generally has to cede the domain name to the company that owns the trademark. Even in that case, the site can be moved to a new domain.
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What Are Some Successfulexamples Of Long Domain Names
Some good examples are onlinevideoconverter.com, internetdownloadmanager.com, leagueoflegends.com, teacherspayteachers.com . These sites get a lot of traffic and have a big success even if their domains are considered as long. The characters are more than the ideal number but still, there are not more than 3 words and the domains are easily memorable.
If you are interested to get a free domain and good hosting service read this post: Where and how to buy domain and hosting .
If you want to read how a domain affects your google rankings check here:
What Is The Alternative To Dash In Domain Name
What is the alternative to a dash or hyphen in your domain name? Is there an alternative to Dash in Domain Name? The ideal alternative, of course, if buying and using the domain name without the dash or hyphen in your domain name. Sometimes thats not possible, though, as someone may not be available for purchase. You could certainly approach the owner of the domain name without the dash and ask them if its for sale.
You could also check to see if a similar domain name, perhaps in a New gTLD, is available. So, rather than using Red-Widgets.com, maybe Red.Widgets is available. You can check the New TLDs list here and see if another ending is available. Then, check your favorite registrar to see if you can purchase that domain name.
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Do Hyphens In Domain Names Affect Seo
Everything you do in digital marketing should tie back to SEO and higher rankings of your site. Therefore, the foremost question that comes to mind is whether hyphens in domain names affect SEO or not.
The simple answer is no. The above image is a screenshot from Matt Cutts blog. He used to work for Google and this blog dates way back to 2005. If there had been any update on the use of a hyphen in domain names after 2005, the whole world would have known by now.
Plus, we wouldnt have come across hyphenated domain names like berkley-fishing.com. Just take the hyphen out from this domain name and it starts to look garbled berkleyfishing.com.
What Google warns us against is the use of underscores in URLs. Hyphens are preferred over underscores in URLs as its easier for the crawlers and users to decipher what your site contains.
Moreover, hyphens are the only character you can use to connote spacing in your domain name.
Availability Of The Desired Domain Name
Suppose you want to start a website on a broad topic like traveling. First off, you have to buy the domain name. You will discover that names like www.travel.com are already taken.
So how do you make your domain name unique and reflective of your niche so that you can get your desired domain name?
You either settle for a domain name with a hyphen or look for travel synonyms and LSI keywords for travel. Examples are globetrotting, wanderlust, wanderer, planet, nomads, and others.
When you choose a domain name, make sure to register for both the hyphenated and the non-hyphenated versions.
Whats the deal here?
This will ensure that even if someone types in the non-hyphenated version, they will still be redirected to the hyphenated or the main version of your site.
Your site wont lose out on traffic to other sites that sound and spell similar. Plus, freeloaders wont be able to take advantage of your domain versions.
A word of caution: remember not to buy a domain name whose hyphenated or non-hyphenated version is already taken.
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How Do I Create A Catchy Domain Name
To make the process easier, we have a simple 14 step framework that you can use to pick the best domain for your website. Stick with .com. Use keywords in your domain name search. Keep your domain name short. Make it easy to pronounce and spell. Keep it unique and brandable. Avoid hyphens in domain name. Avoid doubled letters. What is the best type of domain name for a new business to use? Obviously, .com is the most popular choice for a domain extension-unless you’re working or starting a business in the tech world. It’s usually the most popular choice for a business domain name because it’s the most recognized and accessible brand.
Avoid Hyphens If Possible
If your domain name is two words , you may want to separate the words with a hyphen for readability: www.example-site.com. But, keep in mind that use of hyphens also strongly correlates with spammy behavior and decreases domain name readability and memorability. For that reason, generally, no more than one hyphen should be used .
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Impact Of Hyphens In Domain Names In Terms Of Convenience Andreadability
So, considering the user experience factor, you should prefer non-hyphenated domains over hyphenated domains .
However, in some situations, a hyphenateddomain could make more sense. I call this the readability criteria.
I included this criterion on my list after reading about the case of expertsexchange.com. They were forced to change their domain name to experts-exchange.com, because of the way most people were reading it: Expert Sex Change instead of Experts Exchange.
Another example is my Bulgarian client www.chicshop.com. Because the Bulgarian language uses Cyrillic letters, many users were confused about how exactly to read and spell the word chic . Even after they included the Cyrillic translation on their website slogan, the fact that the domain name had the letters C and S next to each other seemed to confuse the users.
Therefore, in some cases, hyphenateddomains may have a negative impact on readability.
Impact Of Hyphens In Domain Names In Terms Of Seo
Theres nonegative impact on domain names that use dashes. In fact, search engines are able to understand hyphensand perceive them as spaces .
Therefore, in terms of SEO, hyphens dont have a direct impact. In the eyes of a search engine, the domain name www.mytargetedkeyword.com should have the same value as www.my-targeted-keyword.com
However, dont forget that Exact Match Domains should always be prioritized . If we take the example from above, the best domain name for SEO would be www.targetedkeyword.com .
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Example Of Idna Encoding
IDNA encoding may be illustrated using the example domain Bücher.example. This domain name has two labels, Bücher and example. The second label is pure ASCII, and is left unchanged. The first label is processed by Nameprep to give bücher, and then converted to Punycode to result in bcher-kva. It is then prefixed with xn-- to produce xn--bcher-kva. The resulting name suitable for use in DNS records and queries is therefore xn--bcher-kva.example.
Should You Use Hyphenated Domain Names
Hyphenated domain names was an old school tactic that fell out of favor many years ago because there wasnt a ranking benefit from that and the perception that hyphens made a site look spammy.
But sometimes one must never overestimate how site visitors feel about something. Sometimes what people are OK with can be surprising.
Is there an advantage to hyphenated domain names? When was the last time you saw a hyphenated domain name rank?
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Own Variations Of Your Brand Name
Building a brand is important and part of that process is protecting your brand. This includes the hyphenated version of the brand name. This prevents others from buying it and imitating you or funneling traffic away, and it can capture traffic that takes place because of misspellings.
For example, it would make sense for me to own The-website-flip.com. If you owned NewProductY.com then you would also want New-Product-Y.com to protect that brand.
This can get a little bit more traffic coming in, and that domain name with hyphens can direct straight to the regular site. Its a good way to protect your brand.
This is the same logic thats used when someone not only buys the .com of their name but also other TLDs of the same name like the .co, .io, .ai, .net, etc.
Hyphens And Domain Names Length
Another fact to consider is the number of words and prepositionsyour domain will include. In case you want to have more than 2 keywords with1-2 prepositions, using dashes wont be a good idea, because youll findyourself with too many dashes in the domain.
For example, the domain www.keywordandkeyword.com is shorter and less spammy looking than www.keyword-and-keyword.com
Even though some people would argue that domains with dashes between words are easier to read, they are often associated with spammy websites, domain keywords staffing, and companies attempting to trick search engines with shady practices.
My personal advice is to use no more than one hyphen. Otherwise, the domain will appear less authoritative and spammy to searchers.
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Hyphens In Domain Name: Good Or Bad
When you create an entirely new website, one of the first things you should pay particular attention to is a domain name. Of course, it will define how fast and easy your potential clients find your site and which amount of traffic it can bring to it. You will, probably, say: Ok, but does something like a dash in a domain name be really important?. The answer is yes. You have to know that some factors can directly affect your performance, and all of them are linked with the presence or absence of hyphens. So, below we will discuss and state a few of our thoughts about it.
Valid Domain Name Characters
Domain names can be divided into two parts Label and TLD. In the case of amazon.com, the label would be amazon, while the TLD is .com. Top-level domains or extensions are the strings of text that go after the label.
A domain name can be a combination of letters and numbers with up to 63 characters excluding the 4 characters that are used to identify the domain extension for example, .com, .net, .org and others.
The hyphen is the only symbol that can be included in a valid domain name characters, although it cannot start or end with this symbol nor have consecutive hyphens. Other common symbols such as underscores , exclamation points and asterisks are not allowed.
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