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SEO: hyphens or underscores?

Posted on 2004-09-06
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Last Modified: 2013-12-24
Hey everyone!

I am on a quest to optimize my coldfusion site. I already have my dynamic pages '?'s and '='s converted to '/'s and thats working great.  What I was wondering was if anyone had any thoughts as to whether seperating keywords in URLs should be done with hyphens or underscores....?    i.e.:

http://www.domain.com/apple-sauce-is-delicious/

OR

http://www.domain.com/cheese_and_crackers/

Is one more effective than the other?   And also, should I be sure to have my pages end in directories like my little example or is   http://www.domain.com/apple-sauce-is-delicious.cfm    just as good?

Thank you!    SmileMagician
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Question by:SmileMagician
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6 Comments
 
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:pinaldave
ID: 11990976
well...
I will suggest to you to use _(underscore) instead of -(minus/dash).
The reason is that sometime, I need to pass the number in the url param meters and - may confuse them if you are using them as param... it will become negative number... so you will have to take care of so many issues at that time... I will rather prefer to use _ as theyare easy to read and may not create confusion.

Otherwise, I do not see much of the problem with them with search engine or any other navigation issues...
Regards,
---Pinal
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Plucka
ID: 11993548
Hi SmileMagician,

We use

http://www.domain.com/cheese_and_crackers/

instead of this

http://www.domain.com/cheese-and-crackers/

Purely because it's much easier to read and as pinaldave said - is more often used, not just in numbers but addresses etc, etc. Also think that _ is sometimes used in email addresses and the like. ie: bill_gates@microsoft.com

Regards
Plucka
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:Jerry_Pang
ID: 11993686
Comment - i think i would prefer - rather than _
the reason is that

when user seach for "apple sauce delicious"
apple-sauce-is-delicious can be found simple because its not a 1 word. apple-souce-delicous will be higligthed.

compared to apple_sauce_is_delicious, "apple sauce delicious" cannot be found, i think(95%)
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:SmileMagician
ID: 11993765
Oh my,  those are all good thoughts.  I am not sure which to do now...   =)  

SM
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LVL 9

Accepted Solution

by:
Jerry_Pang earned 1000 total points
ID: 11994470
its readability vs searchability.

you could try this
google search for
cheese_and_crackers - google found only 5 results. sometimes this is good, you dont have that many competitors for this keyword.

compared to
cheese-and-crackers - google found hundreds of results.
includes cheese-and-crackers, cheese and crackers, cheese, crackers, etc..
you have a lot of competitors. its your call if you wish to compete with these keywords.

some company, lets say a company that sells "cheese and crackers", also uses longer keywords,
like "cheese and crackers recipie", "cheese and crackers delivery", "cheese cracker wholesale".
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:SmileMagician
ID: 11994751
Ahhh, there we go.   Thats what I was unsure about.  Thank you all very much!

SmileMagician  :)
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