Underscores vs Dashes in Website URLs
Updated on: 15 August 2013
This video discusses the usage of underscores versus dashes in URLs. Matt Cutts points out that the usage of the two signs had been established during the first year of establishment of Google. Computer programmers uses technical terms that require a group of two or more words which have different meanings when taken individually but is meaningful for them when taken as a combination. For instance, they utilize the word TMP_MAX in their programs, which means something to them. When searching for these in the net, individually they yield no significance. Hence, they invented the underscore to join the two words, which stands for a single term with corresponding meaning. The same goes for the use of dash in URLs. They use it to separate two words to mean something.
This video highlights the following points:
- Underscores are use in URLs to join a group of words to form one term. For instance, “war_of_1812” refers to the war that happened in 1812. Individually war is very generic and 1812 simply refers to a specific year.
- Dashes are use in URLs to separate two words to form one term. For instance, “Red-widget”, which refers to a specific red widget while “red” and “widget”, could be referring to something else when taken individually.
- The usage of dashes and URLs has low impact on the amount of ranking.
- If you already have a site and URL; you are using underscore in it and it works, do not attempt to rewrite it. Just let it be. However if you have a new site, it would be better to use dashes in your URL.
To achieve better ranking you should:
- Use keywords in your domain or URL. Using keywords that pertain to the kind of business you are currently involved in would do you good when it comes to improving your page rank.
- If you are undertaking to build a new site, it is recommended to use dashes instead of underscores in your website URL. Using underscores might trigger usability issues since URLs are usually displayed with underlines. Hence, underscores might “disappear” in the process since it could be perceived as a space due to the underlining.
Points to note: www.impossible.sg also use dashes instead of underscores.