Hyphens (dashes) in Domain Name: Good or Bad?

Alex Sheplyakov Alex Sheplyakov 14/03/2024 4 min read


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.

A Hyphen in a Domain Name - Yes

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.

A Hyphen in a Domain Name - No

Now, let’s talk about the disadvantages of having a dash in your domain name. We have already touched on an aspect of SEO, and it is clear that search engines prefer no-hyphenated domains. Also, you have to understand that people often forget about the dash’s existence in the title. Hence, it is more challenging to create corresponding advertising for it.

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Anyway, another problem of domains with hyphens lies in traffic and how it will be distributed. If, for example, there is a domain with the same name as yours, but without a dash, chances are that many of your potential clients will automatically appear on your competitor’s page. And all of that is due to one forgotten hyphen. The solution is that you should buy both options in advance and save yourself from losing customers. Still, in case that your budget does not include such purchases, you already see the priority of the absence of hyphens in a domain name.

And, finally,  in addition, the domain name defines the credibility of your website. Previously, it was considered normal to hype on the double meaning of the name. You definitely saw that names like expertsexchange.com, and so on. This is the case when an absence of hyphen played a bad joke but also showed to the world your desire to attract clients through a cheap trick. It is not a good idea to compromise the reputation of the entire site, even to attract buyers.

Sub-Pages and Categorization, as a Specific Topic

Considering hyphens in domain names, good or bad, we can’t forget about the categorization methods and that all sub-pages automatically become part of it. So, do hyphens affect SEO when we create new pages? One more time - no.

Actually, it can be pretty tricky to think up a one-word-subcategory. Users rarely will look for a direct page, preferring just to find a domain name. Thus, hyphens can be seen as a positive phenomenon, especially when it comes to the development of your website.

For instance, your sub-page URL can look like this: https://wiserbrand.com/services/magento-development/, and it will be a great utilization of the dash.

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Final Verdict

To sum up, everything said and decide whether hyphens in URLs are good or bad, let’s have a last look at it. Basically, the domain names without dashes are more practical in terms like user experience, traffic, and the general length of the name.

Yet, there are situations in which using a hyphen can be acceptable and even required. Just pay attention to put no more than one dash. Therefore, creating a domain name gives priority to one-word-easy-to-remember phrases. After all, everybody has their own experience, and you can decide for yourself, does hyphen in a domain name is good or bad.

Remember that a bad-taken name can negatively affect your reputation and link your website with unwanted data.

Alex Sheplyakov
Alex Sheplyakov
Chief Technology Officer
As a seasoned developer, I have extensive experience in website development, including online hosting and domain registration. My expertise is rooted in understanding the technical nuances of domain structures, always aiming for the optimal user experience.
do hyphens affect seo