The internet has taken giant strides since its inception back in 1983. From dial-up networks, basic websites, and utterly slow internet speeds to a more hyper-connected world with lightning-fast speeds, we have come a long way. As the internet becomes an integral part of our lives, our appetite for convenience has also increased, bringing us to an ongoing debate in the internet world – the use of hyphens in domain names. Is it a good practice? Does it impact search engine optimisation (SEO)?

This blog answers these questions surrounding this topic and also shines the spotlight on the advantages and disadvantages of using hyphens in the domain name.

Let’s start by understanding the impact of using hyphens in domain names on SEO.


Does a Hyphen in the Domain Name Affect Overall SEO?

We aren’t beating around the bush here. The answer is no – a hyphen in the domain name does not have a negative or a positive impact on the overall SEO. That said, using a dash in the domain name makes it unnecessarily complicated and harder to remember.

For example, is much easier to remember and type compared to User experience and convenience have become of utmost priority for people today, and a domain with a hyphen is certainly counter-intuitive to that train of thought.


Ways to Choose Best Domain Names With Hyphens

Not to discourage you, but domain names with hyphens have lost their popularity today. It was a raging trend back in the day during the internet’s infancy. That said, as we mentioned before, apart from the impact on memorability, no rule or restriction should ideally stop you from using hyphens in a domain name.

Here are a few tips for choosing the best domain names with hyphens.

  • User-friendliness

Whether you decide to go for a domain with a hyphen or not, you must ensure that it is user-friendly. Ultimately, your visitors shouldn’t struggle to type your domain or look for alternatives.

  • Readability

Again, this point has some overlaps with the previous one. It boils down to how user-friendly your domain is. One way to ensure that your hyphenated domain is user-friendly is by improving its readability. Is your domain name easy to understand and recall? If yes, you have done a good job. If not, you should consider tweaking a few things to boost its readability.

  • Length of Domain Names with Hyphen

Regardless of whether you pick a hyphenated domain or not, your domain name mustn’t be too long. While this isn’t a thumb rule, domain names between 6-14 characters are easier to remember and type.


Advantages of Hyphen in Domain Name

Now, let’s get to the – of this discussion. Are there any benefits of using a hyphen in the domain name? Well, the answer may come as a shock to many, but yes, using a hyphenated domain name has a few advantages.

Let’s look at them.

  • You Have a Good Shot at Getting Your Preferred Domain Name

Let’s say that you are starting a new business that’s gardening-related and call it Nature Nurturers. Now, you proceed to create a website for your business only to find out that the domain name Nature Nurturers is already taken and unavailable. Adding a hyphen solves this problem. While may not be available, Nature-Nurturers may offer a perfect solution for your problem.

Adding a hyphen in a domain name not only increases your chances of securing a name that resonates with your business but also improves the likelihood of finding the name you want.

  • Protect Your Brand with Hyphenated Domain Names

There’s a subtle difference between creating a brand and building one. Building a brand comes with several considerations including brand protection, consistency, and reputation management. Let’s also acknowledge the fact that there is a strong possibility of someone starting a similar business as yours with a similar name. For example, if your business is called NatureNurturers, there may be another business out there that is called NatureandNurturers. You can add a hyphen and use it as a brand differentiator.

Additionally, if you own a domain name without hyphens, consider buying the hyphenated version of the same to protect your brand and ensure your web traffic is reaching you instead of a potential competitor.


Disadvantages of Hyphens in Domain Names

It is only fair to tell you both sides of the story. While there are a few advantages associated with using a hyphen in a website name, unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks too.

Let’s look at them closely.

  • Domain Appears Spammy

We are sceptical when we see something unusual right? For instance a WhatsApp message from an unknown number or perhaps a friend request from an unknown person. Similarly, using a hyphen in a domain name isn’t the conventional norm, resulting in people deeming it as unusual. We don’t want that to happen, do we?

It is also worth noting that using hyphenated domain names was a common practice back in the 2000s, resulting in a significant rise in the number of low-quality and spammy websites. While that trend has certainly faded away, domain names with hyphens are considered less favourable today.

  • Lower Resale Value

If you aren’t aware, domain names are sold for anything between a few hundred dollars to millions depending on their relevance, market demand, number of backlinks, and popularity. Unfortunately, domains with hyphens aren’t highly rated and therefore do not have a high resale value. If you plan to buy a domain and sell it later, it is best to avoid using a hyphen. Of course, there are exceptions, but this approach is not recommended.


Wrap Up

We hope this article has helped you tackle this common question – can I use a hyphen in domain names? While there is no concrete proof to support the claim that it hurts your site’s SEO, digital marketers do not recommend the practice. Opt for a domain with a hyphen only if it is necessary and aligns perfectly with your business name and branding.

The ball is now in your court and you’re the captain of your domain.

Frequently Answered Questions


Can a URL have two hyphens?

While a URL can have two hyphens technically, it is not recommended. Also, you cannot use two consecutive hyphens in a URL.

Which character is not valid after a hyphen in a domain name?

Special characters including #, $, and % are not valid after a hyphen.

Can the email domain have a hyphen?

Yes, an email domain can have a hyphen in it.

What symbols are allowed in a domain name?

A hyphen is the only symbol that is allowed in a domain name.