Website Usability: Using Hyphenated Domain Names

This post was written by Internet Marketing John on April 6, 2011
Posted Under: Website Usability

professional-article-marketing1When you are making a decision on whether you should using hyphenated domain names for your website URLs, consider these pros and cons.

First of all, why do people use hyphenated domain names for their website addresses?

We know that hyphenated domain names are inconvenient for many visitors to type into a search engine.

We also know that most people are generally unaccustomed to using hyphenated domain names.

And, when they do type a hyphenated domain name into a search engine, there’s the distinct possibility that the hyphen will be omitted and erroneous search results or perhaps no search will result for the query.

The primary reason why hyphenated domain names are chosen for website URLs, is because the keyword phrase for the website has already been registered by another user.

If you have a website named “Mosquito Lagoon Redfish”, the best possible choice for your domain name would be

Since “Mosquito Lagoon Redfish” is a popular search term and the domain is probably already taken; the second best choice for your domain name could be “” or “”.

Keyword rich, search engine optimized, hyphenated domain names, have a greater chance of getting a decent search engine ranking than a non hyphenated domain name that is not search engine optimized.

The disadvantage of using hyphenated domain names is outweighed by the higher search engine ranking you obtain by using proper SEO techniques.

Another reason for this is that a hyphenated domain with a high ranking, will not need to be typed into the search bar by the web searcher.

The high ranking of the hyphenated domain, allows users to simply click on the search engine results listing to access the site.

When you perform a Google search for “Mosquito Lagoon Redfish” and your search engine optimized domain is ranked highly on the Search Engine Results Page; it doesn’t really matter wether your domain names are hyphenated or not.

If the visitors are interested in what the website has to offer, they will bookmark the site for future access. In this scenario, the high ranking of the hyphenated domain outweighs the disadvantages of using a hyphen in the domain name.

Another good reason to use hyphenated domain names, is to enhance user readability.

In many instances, when a long domain name us typed out, it is difficult to read and understand.

In cases like these, a hyphen breaking the words apart, will make the domain name more easily understandable.

In many cases, hyphenated domain names are also better for search engine optimization purposes.

If you believe that the domain name you are after will bring in a lot of web traffic and is already registered; try using hyphens to get the domain name you want.

Otherwise, try to create unique non-hyphenated domain names by including a reference to your name or product.

As an example, you could use the domain “” if the domains “staindedglasssuncatchers”, “stained-glass-suncatchers” or “stainedglass-suncatchers” are already spoken for.

The keyword “stained glass suncatchers by karen” will also be easier to optimize and rank higher in the search engine results than “stained glass suncatchers”.

For the most part using hyphenated domain names will not penalize your rankings in Google’s ┬ásearch engine results and will improve the readability of your domain particularly when using long tail keyword phrases.

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