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  1. #1
    Member undoIT's Avatar
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    I have a domain name that can be entered with or without hyphens. I decided to use the hyphenated version because I thought it would be better for SEO to have the keywords distinct. It is almost certain that people will be typing in the URL without hyphens also.

    What I did is added the non-hyphenated URL to my hosting as a parked domain and then created a 301 redirect to go to the hyphenated version. I am wondering if there are any caveats to doing this and if there is a better technique. I remember reading that Google doesn't like redirected domain names.

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    You should use the non-hyphenated version and have the hyphenated name have its own content, some of which would be links to the other name. Hyphens in a domain name actually hurt your SEO in many ways. Google gives the highest level of name precedence to the domain name that is a concatenation of a search query with no hyphens.

    For example:

    "Web Design Forums"

    #1 = webdesignforums .com
    #2 = webdesignforums .net
    #3 = webdesignforums .org

    The domain web-design-forums .com is way down the line. It is (correctly) presumed by Google that hyphens, numbers, etc., represent pack-followers.

  4. #3
    Member undoIT's Avatar
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    Why do hyphens hurt SEO? I thought they are just a way of signifying spaces.

    Also, with the domain name there is a margin for error. Example:

    couponsordeals.com

    could be interpreted as "coupons or deals" or "coupons ordeals".

    I felt it would be best to use the hyphens so that it is clear to search engines what the keywords are.

  5. #4
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Hyphens reduce your SEO in 2 ways:

    1 - they add to the overall length of your name
    2 - they use un-people-friendly characters, which SEs seem to dislike.

    In the case of "couponsordeals.com" you're not really optimizing for any particular search. No one searches for "coupons or deals". You have to research the popular searches first, then find a suitable domain name.

    Personally, in the case of "couponsordeals.com", I would go with something like www.supercoupondeals.com. Get rid of the extraneous "or" altogether and add a keyword that might actually be used. Now you're targeting "coupon" and "super deals" and you have a name that people will actually remember.

    PS - Just checked Godaddy and supercoupondeals.com is available. Go register it... I won't even charge you for my services!

  6. #5
    Member undoIT's Avatar
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    I did a lot of reading on this and the general consensus seems to be that hyphenated domains are better for SEO but not as user-friendly and not as good for branding. I expect most traffic to come from search engines, which is why I went with the hyphenated version.

    All modern browsers auto-fill the URL in the address bar after you have visited the site, so the user-friendly aspect isn't really an issue (icanhascheezburger.com would not be thought of as user-friendly but they get tons of traffic). Plus, Firefox 3 autosuggests URLs and other browsers will probably follow suit. Since I also own the non-hyphenated version, I can just tell people "coupons or deals dot com" without mentioning the hyphens and people will get there.

    I am targeting specifically the keywords "coupons" and "deals". There is no way to compete with "coupons.com" or "deals.com" and I don't know that the site will ever be number one in the SERPS for those single keywords. However, I do expect it to eventually be in the top 5 for both. Coupons-or-deals.com is about the most concise yet meaningful domain name that incorporates both keywords. It has only been online for about 3 weeks and is already doing better than expected in the SERPS.

    I always get post-launch jitters after taking a new site live but I think I made the right decision for the domain name especially considering how slim the pickings are for good ones

  7. #6
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    You should buy supercoupondeals.com anyway. It's a killer name. "Super" easy to remember! :-D (because supercoupon really flows off the tongue). Maybe you'll decide to use it a year down the road... you'll be sorry if you don't get it now and have to buy something similar from a front-runner for $500! :-D

  8. #7
    Member undoIT's Avatar
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    Well, I am a sucker for alliteration...

    and supercoupondeals.com does roll off the tongue nicely. But, it doesn't specifically get "coupons" in there. People search for "coupons" as a keyword and in keyword phrases much more frequently than "coupon".

    I would think that having coupons as the first word in the domain name would be good for scoring well with that keyword.

  9. #8
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Google is smart with pluralization. Search "web design forum" ;-)

  10. #9
    Member undoIT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smoseley
    Google is smart with pluralization. Search "web design forum" ;-)
    Only number 5!? aranoid:

    I do see you are number 1 for "web design forums"

    Congrats!

    So, best strategy is to target either plural or non-plural depending on which gets the most queries.

  11. #10
    Senior Member -chris-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by undoIT
    I did a lot of reading on this and the general consensus seems to be that hyphenated domains are better for SEO but not as user-friendly and not as good for branding.
    I'd like to know where you read that.
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