Google’s John Mueller said on Mastodon a few tips on domain names, but one line was pretty strong. He said, “your domain name is never going to make or break your SEO.”
Here are the points he made on domains on the topic of dashes in domain names. He wrote, “In the domain name, is the use of dash ( – ) recommended or not?”
- It’s fine
- Pick a domain name for your brand for the long run, don’t just collect keywords (the common reason for dashes). Build out a domain.
- For SEO, dashes are very minimally better in URLs than underscores. Don’t change your URLs for them tho. Don’t use spaces, commas, colons, etc in URLs.
- Your domain name is never going to make or break your SEO.
So as you’d imagine, this caused a bit of back and forth on that social network.
Nick replied to John saying, “Domain will never make or break your SEO……however it will help if you get one which will match the main searches. No dash better than dash but dash with the right keywords is better than no dash without good keyword.”
John responded to that saying, “I don’t think either of those are the case. From a branding or marketing POV, *maybe* (eg, if you have the URL in an offline ad, it can be easier to remember). I would venture a guess that the SEO effect is less than the mention of the word on the page, and at that point, is that still worth focusing on? And yes, I know, I know, SEOs sometimes focus on the smallest things, but TBH that’s super-inefficient and gives a bad reputation.”
Another SEO said, “as long as keyword domains work, people will use them. Maybe Google can delete this bonus finally?”
John replied to that, “Do they really work though? I think it’s a lot of “keyword in the domain” plus “there’s a lot of other SEO things we do” — and I don’t think you can separate out the effect of a word in a domain. They can be cool for branding, they can be memorable, but I don’t think you get any measurable SEO bonus out of it. (It would be totally weird to do that, anyone can buy a domain name; it’s not a sign of relevance.)”
So go with or without dashes, but don’t do it for keywords.
Oh, Google has always downplayed the role of domains in ranking and SEO.
Forum discussion at Mastodon.