Exact Match Domains with Dashes (non dashed was already taken)
I have heard many different things about exact match domains and whether or not the fact they may have dashes in them would make any sort of difference whatsoever. Please keep this in mind when replying:
1. I have two websites
2. Both websites have Site Build It as a webhost
3. Those website names are pet-adoption-guide.com/ AND flower-guide.org/
4. The website flower-guide.org/ hasn't been indexed by the SE's yet due to the fact it is about a week old.
5. Each website has unique content. With the exception of most of the photos, though I am working on the adding my own photos part so bear with me.
6. MY GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION IS Hampton GA, USA
Okay back to where I was...
I decided to search the keyword pet adoption guide (no dashes, no quotes) to see what would happen. I searched in Google, Bing, Ask, and Yahoo. Here is what happened:
1. My website comes in 4th in Google's results: pet adoption guide - Google Search
2. My website comes in 1 in Yahoo's search results: pet adoption guide - Yahoo! Search Results
3. My website comes in 1 in Bing's Results: pet adoption guide - Bing
4. My website comes in 3 in Ask's Results: pet adoption guide - Ask.com Search
I've heard many different things about dashes in exact match domains. Some say that it doesn't matter. Others say that you should have the dashes because it makes it easier and better, while still others say to stay the hell away from dashes in the domain that it would even lower your SEO benefit. Through my research, It seems to show that whether or not you have dashes in your domain is irrelevant as to whether or not you would rank well for the exact match keywords. As you see in one of the search engines my site overranked the non dashed site for the exact same keyword. My other site flower-guide.org/
The term "flower guide" according to SEOBOOK.com's keyword suggestion tool, is searched over 320,000 times per day.
I was wondering if anyone would care to agree or disagree or offer advice etc. Keep in mind I use site build it so I have met my on page criteria. That being said I am working on my off page criteria in link building, but that will take time.
Whether dashes help or hurt, the fact is that they have little influence at best. I think I read a post by Matt Cutts (a google employee) who said that dashes neither hurt nor help your ranking. The exception might be if your domain name could be interepreted as different sets of words (waterspout.com = "waters-pout" or "water-spout"?), but google still figures those out pretty well.
The truth is that the ranking depends on a combination of lots of different factors. Your page rank (speaking about Google in particular) considers how many back links you have to your website and tends to be a strong factor. So I wouldn't worry so much about the dashes - concentrate on content and optimization instead. In any case, you seem to be ranking very well for those keywords as it is.
Google tends to ignore punctuation. As mentioned above, there are a lot of factors at play in rankings, and the domain name is really one of the least among them (some argue that it's totally irrelevant - on Google anyway).
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