Many webmasters have been questioning the importance of domain names when it comes to straight SEO. Do you need a keyword stuffed domain name? What about case sensitivity? Does it matter if you use hyphens or underscores?
A domain name can be the actual registered domain name that you purchased, such as domain.com, or it can refer to www.domain.com. Your url could be any page on your website, including the common index page http://www.domain.com/index.html. The goal with your domain name is ease of recognition. You really want people to first be able to identify with the domain name as providing what they are looking for, and second to be able to remember it for future reference.
Most systems are not case sensitive, so you can use capitalization to make it easier to read what your domain name is, such as ThisIsADomain rather than thisisadomain. Of course, your url will show all lowercase., so this is really only good for linking or other cases when you are trying to make your name easier to read and remember.
If you want your domain name to show separation between the words permanently, you can use hyphens or underscores, but keep in mind that this is harder for people typing in your address to remember and unless you own all three versions ( hyphenated, underscored and just plain run together), someone could possibly hijack your traffic.
However, for short two to four word urls, hyphenation or underscoring may be the only way to avoid embarrassing bloopers. There have been several examples of perfectly respectable companies having humiliating moments because their url could be misinterpreted with different breaks in between letters to form completely different words than intended.
A prime examples of domain name confusion regards a programmers’ website called Experts Exchange, whose domain originally read expertsexchange.com. One wonders just how many gender reassignment inquiries they received about before adding a hyphen to their domain name to read experts-exchange.com!For short domain names, however, and IF you can manage to secure all the variants, using a hyphenated or underscored version and redirecting the others may be the easiest way to promote recognition. This is particularly true if you have a double letter in the middle of your url that might be mistyped; pets_styles.com might be easier to read than petsstyles.com.Bottom line? Keep it short and sweet. Don’t depend on misspellings to keep you up and running, and beware of trademark infringement on name brands. Use hyphens or underscores with a firm intent of reducing confusion, not creating it. Be inventive, but not so inventive as to become obscure!
You need a domain name that will grab attention, convey your message and draw the consumer in while still looking good in a url – and you need it in less than six words – two or three is best!
Ideally, you will figure out and purchase a domain name and its corresponding variants without a hitch, park most of them, and redirect traffic to the best of the lot, securing a corner of the market and guaranteeing exclusivity.