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Domain Names – Should You Hyphenate?

There are a variety of different ways that you can create your web address and one of the biggest things you get asked about in this is if it is wise to hyphenate that address. There isn’t really a single answer to this, unfortunately. There are, however many sorts of things that go back and forth and these are worth considering. The biggest reason I think that I have heard yet for NOT hyphenating a web address, is the fear that people may misspell the address, then unable to access what they wanted, give up on visiting the site altogether. And that is a valid concern, really, however, some claim that the implications of the hyphenated web address on search engine rank is worth it. So, you might be scratching your head at this point wondering which side of the argument is worth hearing. The truth is, neither one, or both- it really depends on your perspective.

The truth of the matter is, the choice to hyphenate a web address is by and large actually something you should consider based on a couple of factors. The above, those are not the factors. The factors that you want to consider are actually what your competition does, and exactly what it is your website’s overall purpose is. Consider, first, the name of your business. If you are creating a website with search engine optimization in mind, you’re thinking along the lines of the name of your business. So, if your business name is something to the effect of Alaska Dan’s Wild and Crazy Used Cars, you may want to avoid the hyphen, here. Unless of course, you’re going with a short version, such as Alaska Dan’s. If you’re going to do that, then you could feasibly call your site www.alaska-dans.com or something like that and lo, it would work out well. The next thing to consider here, is your demographic. If this car lot happens to be in a very large city where it’s less than well known, this may not be the way you want to go simply because your website name here does not say what Alaska Dan’s is, exactly. In a smaller area, most people probably would recognize the name.

Now, though, let’s consider the search engines. If you have a user who is searching for used cars, in that local area, they are more than likely not going to search out “Alaska Dan’s”. They’re going to search out “Used Cars”- we’ll give another example here, say there’s another car lot in the same area. This is Dan’s competition. Fast Eddy’s Used Cars. His website address is www.fasteddysusedcars.com. Now, to users like you and I, looking at that brings a squint, sure. But a search engine spider will see the keywords right there. It will not, however, be able to in www.alaska-dans.com because there is no keyword relevant to the actual product.