Do Hyphenated Domain Names provide SEO or Branding Advantages?
 by Kristi Hagen

Do Hyphenated Domain Names provide SEO or Branding Advantages?

  • In the interest of branding, we've picked up some related domains. Our principle one is (Ourbrandname).com but we also own (OurbrandnameProductcategory).com. We may be able to pick up (Ourbrandname-Productcategory).com. Does this offer any advantages over the unhyphenated version in terms of being found on the SEs?

Answer:

Ranking-wise, there's no advantage. And, although technically speaking there isn't any reason to avoid dashes in the domain name, from a practical standpoint dashes are cumbersome to verbalize. To some people dashes represent a kind of second class stature to unhyphenated domain names which are more likely to be seen as first class domains in the eye of the consuming public.

Bear in mind this perspective can be viewed as opinion and therefore debatable. However, as anecdotal as the evidence is, we firmly belive that unhyphenated domains are typically superior to the hyphenated version of the same domain name. Incidentally, prices on the domain name sales market tend to anecdotally support this belief based on the premium that people are willing to pay for the unhyphenated domain name versions in comparison.

In regards to branding; acquiring variations of your domain name can be a good strategy for protecting your brand. After all, if you own the variations, then someone else can't — thus preemptively avoiding possible brand-confusion and future legal entanglements.

But, re-branding is something to avoid unless absolutely necessary — like if the name of your weight loss product sounds like a new-found disease. You'd gain nothing while jeopardizing your entire backlink profile which you'd then be forced to carefully monitor and manage using 301 redirects.

And if you're strategy is to keyword-enrich your domain name, then it should be noted that exact match domains no longer get the significant ranking boost they've enjoyed in times past.

However, if your strategy is to use these additional domains to test and track your marketing initiatives, redirecting then to your main domain, then awesome – that's ...

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