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When creating a new website, the first thing to consider is a suitable domain name. This decision is paramount, as it influences the ease with which potential clients discover your site and the volume of traffic it can attract.

Domain names serve as unique internet addresses for websites, comprising a top-level domain, a domain name or IP address, and potentially a subdomain. Domain names are procured from registrars and denote the specific location of a website. 

Clients frequently include hyphens in domain names; however, many express uncertainties regarding it. Another question that troubles organizations is whether domain names with hyphens adversely affect SEO!

“Should I select www.domain-name.com or www.domainname.com for better SEO?” 

The inclusion or exclusion of hyphens in domain names can significantly impact website performance, with various factors directly influenced by their presence or absence. 

Here is an overview that delves into the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating hyphens in domain names and how it impacts SEO!

Can I use a hyphen in a domain name? - Quora


Should You Opt for Domain Names with Hyphens or Not?

Let’s assume you are starting a new business that is related to education, and the name of your firm is Access Excellence in Academics. Now, when creating a website, which domain name sounds better?




On the other hand, there is another education business with the name Education Priority. Now, which domain sounds better?




Considering both cases:

  • The domain in example 1 should use hyphens because the domain name without hyphens is complicated, ambiguous, and deters readability.
  • The domain in example 2 should avoid using hyphens, as it unnecessarily complicates the name and may deteriorate the likelihood of finding the name. 

So, choosing a domain name with or without a hyphen is a personal choice and depends on the name of your business.

The second question that bothers many is, “Does a domain name with a hyphen unfavorably impact SEO?”

The answer to this question is a simple ‘NO’!

Now, let us learn more about this topic in detail!

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Domain Name

You must consider critical factors when selecting the right domain name:

1. Prioritize Memorability

Choose domain names with hyphens that enhance the ease with which URLs are remembered at a glance. It is always better to settle for a simple and memorable domain name with a simple pronunciation.

2. Check Domain Length

Longer domain names do not pose technical limitations. However, shorter names, typically between 6 and 14 characters, are easier to remember and type correctly. 

3. Ease of Readability and Communication

The inclusion of hyphens in domain names should not impact how customers find your site. It is essential to evaluate the ease of verbal expression for your domain name with a hyphen, as this can influence its accessibility. 

Additionally, incorporating hyphens ensures consistency and memorability, particularly in languages where word concatenation alters meanings. 

4. Domain Availability

If your ideal domain name is unavailable, adding a hyphen may offer an alternative solution. Additionally, registering domain names with hyphens can safeguard against typo-squatters, thus preserving brand integrity and protecting visitors from potential scams or data theft.

5. SEO Optimization

Before you pick a domain name, you must ensure that it reflects your brand, products, services, or business. It should contain relevant keywords that can be incorporated for better search engine visibility and ranking.

6. Geographical Location

It is recommended to use location-specific domain extensions that reflect your target region, such as “.ny” for New York. This helps improve local search engine visibility and enhance your online presence.

7. Brand-Specific Domain Names

Before selecting a domain name, verify a brand-specific name that is available and not trademarked. For instance, if your brand is “BreatheFresh,” ensure the domain “breathefresh.com” is available as a brand-specific domain name that generates a strong online presence.

8. Product/Service-Specific Domain Names

There are times when brand-specific domain names are unavailable. In such cases, it is better to choose product- or service-related domain names. Let us take the same example, wherein Breathe Fresh is the name of an organization that deals in mouth fresheners. So the domain name can be breathefresh-mouthfresheners.com. A product- /service-specific domain enhances brand identity and attracts relevant traffic.

9. Check Legal Requirements

It is important to check the legal requirements to avoid trademark-related legal issues. You need to make sure that your chosen domain doesn’t violate any regulations. Consult legal professionals if necessary to protect your brand’s reputation and prevent legal disputes.

10. Choose the Best Tool/Application to Generate Domain Names

Always opt for the best resources for generating effective domain names. One of the best tools for generating domain names is Crazy Domains. It allows you to use keywords related to your business and choose from a list of available domain name suggestions.

Pros and Cons of Using Domain Names with Hyphens

Let us look into the benefits and drawbacks of using domain names with hyphens:

Pros of Using Domain Names with Hyphens

When considering domain names from an SEO perspective, you must understand that Google assigns similar weight to both hyphenated and non-hyphenated names. Here are some advantages of using domain names with hyphens:

1. Enhances Readability

Hyphens can mitigate misunderstanding and misreading of certain domain names. Hyphenation enhances domain name readability, aiding in semantic flow and making it easier for the audience to read and remember, which is crucial for brand recognition.

2. Easy Availability of Preferred Domain Name

Generic term-based and popular phrase-based domain names with hyphens are more readily available, especially for .com, .au, and .com domains. By incorporating hyphens, it becomes possible to create variations of the desired domain name that are more likely to be available for registration.

3. SEO Benefits

While some believe there are SEO advantages, search engines are proficient in recognizing separate words within hyphenated domain names. Hyphens can enhance keyword clarity and improve the readability of domain names, potentially contributing to better search engine rankings.

4. Brand Protection with Hyphenated Domain Names

Protecting your brand involves considerations of brand differentiation, consistency, and reputation management. Utilizing hyphens can differentiate your brand from potential competitors with similar names and safeguard your brand’s integrity.

Let us look at this example, where the brand name is Shoes Exchange Corner. A domain name like www.shoesexchangecorner.com can be inappropriate for the brand. Rather, a domain name like www.shoes-exchange-corner.com protects the brand well.

5. Acts as a Separator for Search Engines

Google acknowledges hyphens as word separators, ensuring accurate interpretation of compound terms within domain names and preventing search engine misinterpretations.

Instead of using www.nextgenerationshoes.com, a domain name like www.next-generation-shoes.com sounds better.

6. Localization of Domain Names

Hyphens enable the localization of domain and brand names, facilitating expansion into new geographical areas by creating localized domains tailored to specific regions or cities.

For example, adding a hyphenated domain name with the country domain, like www.child-care-institutions-india.com or www.modern-shoes-ny.com

Cons of Using Domain Names with Hyphens

Tips On How To Choose The Right Domain Name - FasterCapitalsource

While there are advantages to incorporating hyphens in website names, it’s crucial to acknowledge the associated drawbacks:

1. Reduced Resale Value

Hyphenated domain names generally have a lower resale value compared to their non-hyphenated counterparts. This limitation can impact the potential profitability of domain name investments. 

2. Credibility Concerns

Including hyphens in domain names can undermine credibility, as they are often associated with spammy or less trustworthy websites. Google’s measures against spammy sites with multi-hyphenated domains highlight the credibility challenges associated with hyphenated URLs.

3. Complexity and User Errors

Hyphenated domain names can increase the complexity of typing, leading to more user errors and potential decreases in direct traffic. Users may overlook or forget to include hyphens, which can eventually redirect them to competitor websites.

4. Memorization Challenges

Users are generally used to non-hyphenated URLs, which means hyphenated domain names may lead to memorability or recall issues. The human mind tends to struggle with processing compound word punctuations like hyphens, leading to forgetfulness and potential redirection to competitors.

How Does a Domain Name with Hyphen Impact SEO?

Contrary to common misconceptions, the presence of hyphens in domain names does not inherently affect SEO negatively. Search engines, including Google, comprehend hyphens and interpret them as spaces, as confirmed by Google’s Matt Cutts. 

Consequently, from an SEO standpoint, hyphens hold no direct influence on a website’s ranking. This means that both – “www.seotargetedkeywords.com” and “www.seo-targeted-keywords.com” are perceived similarly by search engine algorithms.

However, certain aspects should be considered:

  • It’s important to prioritize Exact Match Domains (EMD) for SEO purposes despite their declining significance. 
  • Google’s algorithm does not prioritize keywords in domain names. Conversely, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes suggests that hyphens, as compared to underscores, facilitate a better delineation between terms in URLs.
  • According to Google Search Central’s guidance, hyphens can be used for word separation in URLs to enhance algorithmic understanding of content. 

Prioritizing memorability, branding, and user convenience over hyphenated domains is advisable despite their SEO neutrality.

Do Hyphens Affect Domain Names?


Conclusion and Key Takeaways

  • While hyphens can be used as spacing characters in domain names, their impact on SEO is null and void.
  • Domain names without hyphens are generally preferred by users, influencing perceptions of professionalism and trustworthiness.
  • If your desired domain name is unavailable, exploring domain names with hyphens may be necessary to secure a relevant web address.
  • Verbal communication may be hindered by domain names with hyphens; however, user preferences may vary. They can clarify keywords.

Ultimately, the decision to use hyphens in domain names should consider factors such as user experience, traffic, and brand reputation. It’s crucial to prioritize domain names that are easy to remember and associate positively with your brand, considering the potential impact on reputation and user engagement.

So, if you want assistance in domain optimization, with or without the hyphen, you can contact our customer support team at Crazy Domains. We offer expert domain-related services, so you can connect with the team to know more.