Contact Us

Welcome to ineedhits Blog

Welcome to the ineedhits Search Engine Marketing blog, where we share the latest search engine and online marketing news, releases, industry trends and great DIY tips and advice.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Google’s Advice on Using Underscores or Dashes in Your URLs

Posted by @ 7:01 pm

When creating a new site, it’s important to consider how your URLs will be structured. Making the right decision before your site is created means you won’t have to go back and implement a bunch of redirects to repair any dodgy URLs on the site.

The first step is to ensure you’re using descriptive URLs that relate to the content on the page. For example, using the URL /flowers is going to work a lot better from an SEO point of view than using something like /productID=4469.

Once you’ve got that in mind, the next step is to figure out how you’ll separate URLs with multiple keywords. Should your URLs be /red_dress_shoes (using underscores) or /red-dress-shoes (using dashes)? Any potential customer would have no problems identifying that the page contains information about red dress shoes – but how will search engines handle this difference?

Well the answer is…. they are actually treated quite differently! Let’s take a look at a video that Google recently released on the topic:

In the video, Matt Cutts explains that when Google sees an underscore in a URL, it joins what’s before and after into one term. This is different to dashes, which Google treats as a separator.

It means that,

  • /red_dress_shoes becomes “reddressshoes”
  • /red-dress-shoes becomes “red dress shoes”

As far as Google is concerned, it looks like using dashes in your URLs is going to be more beneficial than using underscores.

If you’re setting up a new website, use dashes in your URLs. If you have an existing site that already has pages indexed, just stick with what you’ve got and focus on the other 200+ ranking factors.

Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

View Matthew Elshaw's profile

Discussion (3 - comments)

[...] View full post on ineedhits [...]

By Google’s Advice on Using Underscores or Dashes in Your URLs | Business Review - August 22, 2011

[...] full post on ineedhits « Top 6 SEO Myths – Believing Them Will Get You [...]

By Google’s Advice on Using Underscores or Dashes in Your URLs | 2010 World Top Template Forum - August 22, 2011

you ok nev if your still knoking around this is there web address
and some info ,give them a call , mention Howard put you on

By Howardhultine - June 4, 2012

Add Your Comments


Keep up to date with the latest from our blogs.

Subscribe to all blog posts

The Newsletter

  • New Posts
  • Popular
  • Comments


More in Tips & Advice (101 of 480 articles)

Social media is useful for almost every type of business. Cafes, retail stores, and even professional services can build their ...