I got this question recently about whether it is better for SEO to use a domain name with hyphens (my-domain.com) or without hyphens (mydomain.com) when doing SEO.
Let’s say that we are optimizing for the phrase “Internet Hero”.
I know that Google recognizes both internethero.com and internet-hero.com to contain the keyword phrase “internet hero” so you don’t need the hyphens to get ranked.
On the other hand hyphens and especially more than one hyphen looks spammy and most people will remember “internet hero” and type in internethero.com regardless if your domain actually is internethero.cominternet-hero.com or internethero.net
That’s why I recommend going for a dot com without hyphens. It’s easy to remember, it looks professional and it works as well for SEO as one with hyphens.
But lets say that you’re only goal is to optimize the site for a particular keyword and internethero.com is already taken. Can you use internet-hero.com instead? Will it be as good for SEO?
Apart from the fact that you will lose traffic to internethero.com and they might sue you for trademark infringement if you’re in the same business here how it works for SEO:
This is an article by Olivier Duffez where he tested the difference between hyphens and underscores.
As you’ll see from the article, you can use hyphens but NOT underscores to build keyphrases in URLs and domain names.
In this article at Guru of Search the author debunks the myth about hyphens being bad for SEO. Do we believe him?
Here’s one quote from a comment by Aron Wall on his SEO Book blog:
“The domain name boost does not count for my-spammy-name.biz, but if you have no hyphens it counts. You get a lot of algorithmic reward for exact match one word, decent reward for two, and a bit less for three.”
If Aron is right it means internethero.com will get an algorithmic boost by Google for the keyword phrease “internet hero” while internet-hero.com will not get the boost.
I think I’ll just trust Aaron with this one and make sure I register domain names without hyphen when using keywords in the domain name.