I’ve seen a lot of SEO Experts and many SEO tools recommend that you should be using hyphens in URLs rather than underscores, one example was Ann Smarty over at SearchEngineJournal. For the disadvantages of the underscore in URLs she says:
Traditionally it isn’t seen by search engines as a word separator (this is slowly changing now)
Slowly changing? It was reported in 2007 that Google and other search engines treat underscores like hyphens. To say it’s slowly changing is like saying Facebook is finally catching on. Three years on the web is an eternity. She also says that there are no disadvantages to hyphens. Though I’m not so sure about that. . .
Think about multiple ways that hyphens are used. Hyphens are added in-between words and in people’s names. For example, Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jaugars has a name with a hyphen. Let me give you an example of a potential sentence that includes his name:
Now if we use underscores it would look like this:
Slightly different meaning in both of those URLs, wouldn’t you agree? It is also much easier to read with underscores. Therefore the BEST option is underscores because people rarely use them when it comes to typing names or phrases. There is no way they will get in the way.
I know what your saying, I’m preaching to use underscores when this blog uses hyphens. Wordpress uses them by default (though I’m not sure why and I never changed it) Though I have used underscores on other projects…. Check out Jones-Drew’s page at FantasySP.com.
I don’t mean to single out Ann because she certainly knows her SEO, but this issue just keeps popping up every now and then and it truly annoys me. It needs to be squashed once in for all.
UPDATE: In the comments below, Kieron Hughes provides a link to Matt Cutts suggesting to use hyphens. I guess I stand corrected.
Do you guys agree with me or am I being too nit picky?