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I am a search marketing geek. Work as APM for one of the leading companies in UK. Interested in socializing and helping others.

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January 19, 2009

Hyphen or an Underscore!

When it comes to search engine optimization, we all are aware that what to choose, as keywords and what not to choose.

There is a common belief that if you have to name the internal pages of your website, then you should take keywords for the same (business specific), by considering the following things,
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  • Check the theme of the page and select the keyword reflecting the webpage,
  • The keyword selected should be the popular keyword and
  • By creating the category(ies) in the form of top navigation, left or right navigation along with the footer links, as important business related keywords.

The point to be noted here is, that keywords should be inserted but the important thing to be taken into consideration is that it should not make the webpage spammy.

What to choose, "a Hyphen or an Underscore" while naming the internal webpages for the site?

This is the very basic and important question which should be answered before naming the webpages for the website. The point as discussed above is to keep the keywords, as the internal webpage URL, in order to circulate the keyword.

Now comes the three situations and to choose which is the best as far as the SEO point of view is concerned,

  • Two Keywords (or 3 Keywords) - joining them without a space, or
  • Two Keywords (or 3 Keywords) - seperating them with an underscore, or
  • Two Keywords (or 3 Keywords) - seperating them with a hyphen

There is the following drawback if we consider the first point, I.e., joining two words without space, underscore or hyphen.

Before discussing the above point we should remember one thing in mind, that "as a user will I be typing that word without space? or will I be interested in such long search term query". Based on this the explanation to the joined keywords is, that 1 user in 100's or 1000's will come and try to put that type of search term, so unless and until the keyword chosen is extremely popular its not worth to use it.

Now we should see the Underscore and the Hyphen stuff. Both Undersocre and the Hyphen are an appropriate way to name your webpages using keywords. Both are used to segregate one word into meaningful words.

But we have one basic thing associated with underscores, and that an underscore may just merge with the line, whereas a hyphen can't. In laymen language a hyphen looks and makes the webpage more readable and easy for navigation to the visitors as compared to the underscore.

The bottom line is you can use hyphen for the inner webpages and also the underscores, but my preference goes with the hyphen, as I did Google search for some keyword by using a hyphen and an underscore. And I got two different search results,

  1. with Hyphen it was cool, in the sense that those two words were treated as different when I placed hyphen, and
  2. with Underscore it was different, and I got a message as to saying that am I looking for a different keyword.

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marketing boca said...

It is really interesting how minute details like this (i.e. hyphen or underscore, dl) can affect your success on Google search results rankings. I prefer using a hyphen over underscore.