February 20, 2022

One of the most common questions I get asked about SEO relates to the best types of domain names. It’s true that having a domain name like poker.com will give you a huge advantage over any competitors in your field, but you’ll pay a premium price for such a valuable piece of virtual real estate. You must also understand that domain names are just one part of the complex SEO equation. Having quality content, good site structure and quality backlinks means your domain name becomes less of an issue.

Keeping your domain name as short as possible is generally a very good piece of advice. For example, pokertips.com is more likely to rank better than thebesttipsforpoker.com. If your website is for a business with a known brand, you may need to consider whether it’s best to use the brand name rather than something relating to your generic products.

One of the most commonly debated aspects of domain names is whether the use of hyphens can put you at a disadvantage when it comes to search engine ranking.

How Do Search Engines Read Hyphens?

Given the choice, most people would rather buy a domain like cameratips.com than camera-tips.com, but there are times when you have to be prepared to compromise. Most SEO experts agree that hyphens are recognized as a separator by search engines. This means that they can actually help in some situations, and use of hyphens can help to clarify a site’s subject matter and content. For example, the domain profitsexchange.com could be read by a search engine as ‘profit sexchange.’ The owner may have a very different subject in mind! Adding a hyphen to make the domain profits-exchange.com would help the search engines read it correctly.

I also get asked if underscores are an alternative to hyphens when choosing domain names. My understanding is that Google reads an underscore as a character rather than a space, and so this isn’t recommended.

Can Hyphens Impact Search Engine Rankings?

There are some reasonable arguments against the use of hyphenated domains, but I’m not aware of any evidence that Google or other search engines penalize you for using them. There were some reports of sites using hyphenated domains suffering after Google’s EMD (exact match domain) changes, but I think that was just a coincidence. I’m sure some hyphenated domains benefited from these changes.

Use of more than one hyphen in a domain is a trick used by some people to keep costs down and include lots of keywords. Google is sophisticated enough to spot this type of thing, so I would advise against using more than one hyphen in a domain. You may find it harder to rank a site with two or three hyphens, so consider alternatives before you spend time and money on this type of domain. You might be able to pick up poker-tips-for-beginners.com at a bargain price, but I’d consider it a bad investment in the long run.

Do Hyphens Put Visitors Off?

Another argument against the use of hyphens is that potential visitors prefer simple domain names. Just as very long domain names can raise suspicion that a site may be ‘spammy,’ too many hyphens in a domain can result in some lost traffic. If you saw the domain best-digital-cameras-for-professionals.com, would you expect it to be a quality site?

If your business model means you attract visitors by word of mouth, use of hyphens can be an issue. Your website needs to have a catchy name that customers will remember easily. This is also the case if you can’t always publish the domain in your marketing. For example, if a shopping channel presenter says ‘go to our website Christmascrafts.com to see more of our products,’ customers wouldn’t expect to have to add hyphens. The domain name Christmas-crafts.com could lose a lot of traffic.

How Many Keywords Work In A Domain?

This is another hot topic of discussion in the SEO community. If you’re late to the party, it’s highly likely that the best domain names are already taken in your category. I personally believe it’s fine to have up to three keywords in a .com domain so long as they aren’t hyphenated. For example, I’d be happy to work with a URL like weddingphotographytips.com. Others may argue that wedding-photography-tips.com could rank just as well, but I’d avoid this for reasons explained earlier. For .net and .org domains, I don’t work with more than two keywords. I always check what’s available, and weddingphotography.net would be an attractive option for me.

On the question of domain extensions, I stick with .com and .net for my business sites. If I were developing a site related to education or charity, I’d for a .org or .edu extension. Some SEO gurus may tell you that .tv and .biz sites can be ranked well, but I never see them in search engine results.

How To Register Your Domain Name And Create A WordPress Site

Serious about becoming an affilaite marketer? Let's set up your website! It's not as hard as you might think! Just follow these simple step-by-step instructions, and for $2.95 per month, you'll have your own domain name on a WordPress website with discounted Bluehost web hosting. Ready to get started? Let's go!

Step 1: Visit Bluehost.com

Bluehost Web Hosting Best Web Host If you use this link you'll get discounted pricing for just $2.95/mo. So click here to visit Bluehost.com. Bluehost is the #1 recommended web hosting by WordPress.org. It also happens to be my top recommendation. Every account features 1-click WordPress installation. It is one of the most well known, mos popular, and affordable web hosting options. Bluehost is especially great for beginners due to their user friendly features and one-click WordPress installation.

Bluehost Homepage

Click the "get started now" button and let’s get started! (see above). Select a hosting plan that fits your needs. (Normally, if you are just starting out I recommend the basic plan but, if you are really serious about this and want more resources & power go with their Prime or Pro plan). Keep in mind, you can always upgrade your plan as you grow.

Bluehost Plans

Step 2: Pick Your Domain Name

Bluehost Domain

Search for a domain with the domain name search tool below. Don’t spend a ton of time on this step, you can always change the domain name later. If you already have a domain name, type it in the "I have a domain name" box. Bluehost is generous enough to throw in a FREE domain name with every new hosting account created.

The next step is to fill out your account and billing information.

Personal Details

Review the package information below and decide what term/add-ons are desired. The biggest bang for your buck is on the 60 month term, but you can choose 36 months, 24 months or 12 months. Please note that Bluehost will charge you upfront for the entire term.

Bluehost Package Info

Insert payment information and accept the terms.

And Terms

Congrats, your hosting account has been created! Bluehost will send you a welcome email.

Bluehost Welcome 

Create your password. Make sure to review the requirements for creating the password. If you need help you can always click the “Suggest Password” option. Regardless, I recommend notating it just to be safe. You’ll end up needing it later on.

Bluehost Terms of Service

Go ahead and login to start getting familiar with your new Bluehost account.

Bluehost Log In

Step 3: Install Your WordPress Website

Thanks to Bluehost, after your hosting account has been created WordPress will automatically install. Start off by picking a theme, these are all free themes from WordPress.org. You can always update or customize your theme later.

Bluehost Pick Theme

Now that you’ve picked your theme, let’s jump into WordPress and get you even closer to constructing that first blog post.

Bluehost WP Login

Decide whether this site will be for business or personal use.

Bluehost WP Dashboard

On this step, you’ll see an overview of Bluehost+WordPress integration. You can manage WordPress plugins and blog posts or pages here.

Bluehost Launch Site

Here’s a revamped dashboard of the Bluehost control panel.

Bluehost cpanel

Now you can make your site look how you want! Since you are using WordPress the sky's the limit! If you're looking for a great tutorial on how to build a great looking WordPress site, check out this video.

Start Publishing!

You now have a fully functional WordPress website with a great hosting company! That wasn't so hard, was it!? From this point on, your main task is to publish as much content as possible. This site has tons of tutorials and articles on how to grow your affilaite marketing business, but in order for you to fully understand how to publish content and make money with your affiliate marketing blog, check out this article. Best of luck to you as you grow your business! :) Want even more help? Check out this incredible affiliate marketer training program and community of people growing an affiliate business just like you!

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has clarified the position with regards to hyphenated domains based on my own experience. Future updates to Google may have an impact, but broadly speaking the way hyphens are treated by search engines isn’t likely to change.

If you’re planning to build a brand or a large authority site, it’s worth buying some variations of your domain. For example, Blueshoresurf.com and blue-shore-surf.com. In theory you could deal with issues around competitors attempting to steal your brand value by legal means, but buying a few more domains is far cheaper. It’s also worth covering some of the other domain extensions if you can pick them up for a few dollars.

Smart use of SEO techniques means that building a site on a hyphenated domain won’t necessarily put you at a disadvantage to competitors, so don’t rule them out. If you can get your site digital-camera-lenses.com on page one of Google it doesn’t matter that someone else owns digitalcameralenses.com. That said, remember that some people are suspicious of longer domains and those using hyphens, so your click-through rate may be slightly lower.

Related Posts

Page [tcb_pagination_current_page] of [tcb_pagination_total_pages]