Hi Jill,

I have 2 quick questions that I can't seem to get a good answer to:

1. When registering a new domain name, should I shy away from having a hyphen in the name, like www.word1-word2.com? I rarely see any domains with dashes in the top 10-20 results in the SERPs -- in Google or Yahoo. Has that been just my imagination? Would having dashes in the name hurt my "rankability"?

2. Here's one that I think is just a myth, particularly since I heard it from a customer service rep at a hosting company. Does it help my Google ranking to register my domain name for years in advance? The guy at the hosting company insisted it's true, but a car salesman will also say you need the anti-rust coating for only an extra $1,000. The rep said I should register it for 10 years. Have you ever heard this before? So what's the real scoop?

Looking forward to reading your newsletters.



Jill's Response

Hi Ron,

1. Hyphenated domains make no difference to search engines in terms of rankings, as domain names are not really an SEO factor these days. However, real people tend to forget about hyphens when attempting to remember a domain they previously visited. So if you want people to remember your domain and not visit your competitor instead, you'll probably want to use a domain that is not hyphenated. You could also purchase both versions to be on the safe side. Just remember that domain names really have nothing to do with where you rank so don't worry about it for that purpose. Your domain is one of the most important ways to brand your company, which is the most crucial thing to consider when choosing one.

2. Regarding whether registering a domain for 10 years would make a difference to your search engine rankings, it would really be impossible to know for sure. Certainly, if you know you're going to be in business for a long time and you can get a good deal on a 10-year registration, then it's cheap enough to just do it. But whether it would make a difference to rankings is unknown, and chances are that there would be no noticeable effect. Remember, there are hundreds of factors that come into play for rankings, so something like that would be extremely negligible if it had any effect whatsoever. The reason people even bring it up is that in one of Google's patent applications, they did mention something about the length of registration. Hosting companies, of course, love to see stuff like that, because they can use it as a selling point -- whether it's true or not.

Hope this helps!


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February 15, 2006

CEO and founder of High Rankings®, Jill Whalen has been performing search engine optimization since 1995 and is the host of the free High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter, author of "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" and founder/administrator of the popular High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum. In 2006, Jill co-founded SEMNE, a local search engine marketing networking organization for people and companies in New England.

High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm located in Framingham, MA specializing in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, in-house training, site audit reports, search marketing seminars and workshops. High Rankings has a 100% success rate for substantially improving client rankings and targeted traffic.

Jill speaks at national and international conferences and has been writing about SEO and search marketing since 2000. She's been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. Her articles have appeared in numerous print magazines and online websites including CIO Magazine, CMS Focus, The Internet Marketing Report, ClickZ, WorkZ, Inc.com, Entrepreneur, Lycos Small Business, WebProNews, SiteProNews and others. Jill has also appeared on many online and offline radio programs such as Entrepreneur Magazine's E-Biz Radio Show, SearchEngineRadio and the eMarketing Talkshow.

Search Engine Guide > Jill Whalen > Hyphenated Domains and Long Registration Periods