Google On If Hyphenated Domains Are Bad For SEO

The topic of using hyphens in domain names is one of the oldest SEO topics we have in this space. Heck, in 2004, SEOs said there was a specific Google ranking algorithm that filtered out domains with hyphens in them (Google did not by the way) – SEOs called it the hyphen filter.

More recently, John Mueller of Google said he was not a fan of keyword hyphenated domain names. But at the same time, he recently said hyphens in domain names are not a sign of low quality, so Google does not build that into its ranking algorithm.

Now, John Mueller said in a Reddit thread that nowadays with less domain names being available, maybe it is not such a bad perspective thing to have. He wrote, “It used to be that domain names with a lot of hyphens were considered (by users? or by SEOs assuming users would? it’s been a while) to be less serious – since they could imply that you weren’t able to get the domain name with fewer hyphens.” “Nowadays there are a lot of top-level-domains so it’s less of a thing,” he added.

He then goes on to say build something you are proud of. He wrote:

My main recommendation is to pick something for the long run (assuming that’s what you’re aiming for), and not to be overly keyword focused (because life is too short to box yourself into a corner – make good things, course-correct over time, don’t let a domain-name limit what you do online). The web is full of awkward, keyword-focused short-lived low-effort takes made for SEO — make something truely awesome that people will ask for by name. If that takes a hyphen in the name – go for it.

So maybe it is better to make up a really cool brand name that has not been taken yet and go with that, over using some really long hyphenated domain name. Sticking the keywords in your domain name probably won’t do much for you ranking-wise but I am sure that debate won’t end today…

Forum discussion at Reddit.

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