SEO Quicktip: Underscore or Hyphen in URLs

October 16th, 2007 by Jerome Dahdah

Update 2007-10-19: as our readers Aaron and Kai have kindly pointed out to me, this is no longer an issue. Hyphens & underscores are now treated equally by Google.

Well, here’s something I wasn’t aware of until moments ago. When using SEO-friendly and user-friendly URLs, always go for hyphens instead of underscores.

Good:
/seo-quicktip-underscore-or-hyphen-in-urls

Bad:
/seo_quicktip_underscore_or_hyphen_in_urls

Why? Because according to this post, Google doesn’t recognize the underscore as a divider. Basically, that means you would have to include the underscore in your search term to bring up the URL. I don’t think anybody actually does that. Clearly a point for Team Hyphen. I’m just glad WordPress does “good” URLs out of the box.

5 Responses to “SEO Quicktip: Underscore or Hyphen in URLs”

  1. Kayzah says:

    Hymen in URL! LAAAAAAAAAWL ^^

  2. Aaron Bassett says:

    Matt Cutts talked about this a while ago: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/dashes-vs-underscores/

    But I remember reading something else more recent by him where he states that google is now able to tell the difference between an underscore as a divider and one that is actually part of the word.

    His advance though was that if you are building a new site, you should probably still look to use hyphens. But if you have an older site that uses underscores don’t worry about it :)

  3. Kai says:

    Tatsächlich ist es so, dass beides ok ist. Sicherer bzw. zeitgemäßer sind die Bindestriche. Früher hat Google die Underlines empfohlen…

  4. Rob says:

    Wow, that is brutal penalization.

    On a similar note I was talking to a friend saying that google is now penalizing sites that both buy and sell text links. I guess it works out well for google since they have adsense.

    Can you say monopoly?

  5. Jerry says:

    Thank you, Aaron and Kai, for your feedback. I’ll update my article shortly to reflect the changes.


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