Are Dashed Domains Doomed?

Rumour has it that there’s another Google algorithm update coming up in February.

This time Google allegedly wants to filter out web sites which they perceive as having overused keywords in domain names. Keywords of course refers to what searchers are thought to be typing into the search engines.

Here are a couple of examples I found on MSN today:

A few years ago the search engines had difficulty understanding words unless they had spaces or hyphens (dashes). So webmasters registered domains with dashes between the words, knowing that the search engines would then rank their sites higher if the searched term was included in the domain as well as on the web pages.

Well progress marches quickly on and Google, MSN, Yahoo and the rest are now well able to understand words even when there are no spaces between them.

So what does all this mean to you, when registering your domain names?

Well, first of all, remember this is just a rumour. Colin McDougall of says he has close contacts with important people at Google, including Matt Cutts, who have apparantly been feeding him these ‘tips’.

But even if they are untrue, it will do no harm if we concentrate in future on registering domains without dashes.

And we might also do ourselves some good by ignoring keywords altogether for our domain names. Instead go for ‘brand’ domains.