Search Engine Optimisation - Tips and TricksOne of the many questions that is asked frequently concerns hyphens in domain names. So, for instance would the search engines view your site more favourably if you use www.checkoutmycoolwebsite.com or www.check-out-my-cool-website.com?

The search engines have become fairly canny about recognising keywords in domain names now after all, it is by judging whether a site is relevant that they gain reputation points and make money, and domain names are included in the search engines’ algorithms. So, in a way the question bears far less importance now than it did a few years ago. However, the reality is that domain names are now so cheap that it is difficult not to justify buying several to cover all bases.

Firstly, it prevents anyone else buying them and your potential customers landing on the wrong website. And secondly, you never know when the search engines are going to change how they operate!

A more important question than asking yourself whether the search engines think a domain name with hyphens in is a good idea is to ask yourself whether your potential website visitors will? Imagine trying to tell someone your website address over the phone will the addition of hyphens make it more difficult to capture your address correctly than if it is just simple words?

Another point to make is that it is always worth buying domain names which reflect certain areas of your business or your product set. For instance, your ecommerce shop may have different categories e.g. domestic appliances, garden equipment etc so why not buy yourbrandgardenmachines.co.uk as well as yourbranddomesticappliances.co.uk? You can then point these at the category within your shop of the product set your potential customer is most likely to be interested in. This means that domain then acts as a targeted landing zone and can be tied in to PPC campaigns or specific search engine marketing strategies, giving you easily measurable statistics for those activities.

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology