There has been so much written about choosing the right domain name – and that thought process has changed somewhat over time. Why? Two main reasons: 1) Many domains are already registered 2) Businesses, more increasingly, want to rank high in search engine results.
If you are working on building creditability on the web, then the domain name selection process becomes important. So, what is the value of a hyphenated name? For example a hyphenated version of GetFoundontheWeb.com might be Get-Found-on-the-Web.com.
Why are businesses registering these types of domains?
According to DomainTools there are currently over 100,000,000 registered domains plus .ca extensions (which isn’t in their calculation). Using hyphens is a way around “all the good names are already taken”. Often also known as the “left over” option.
It was believed (and in some cases still is) by some that hyphens between keywords help search engines identify these words. In other words, this type of domain name can help you get found in a search query. However, search engine technology has improved to the extent that individual words within a domain name can usually be identified.
But what about marketability?
While is it true that a long domain name is easier to read with hyphens (i.e. I-own-a-really-long-domain-name.com vs iownareallylongdomainname.com), it is not easy to communicate (read out loud or read in print). Nor are they easy for someone to remember (this is really important). And… it appears that web users have a difficult time keying special characters into a web address box (or forget to type in the hyphen). As a result, they may not find you – or find another company that has the non-hyphenated version (which could be a competitor).
And finally… there is a perception out there that URLs with lots of hyphens and keywords are spammy.
The golden rule for domain names is and has always been – keep it simple!