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Dashes vs. Underscores in Google  (View post)

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
10 years ago4,575 views

I think its better this way

Benjamin Jancewicz [PersonRank 1]

10 years ago #

What really needs to happen is for browsers and search engines alike need to learn what "%20" means...

Andrew [PersonRank 0]

10 years ago #

As long as this doesn't apply to anything other than URLs, I'm all for it.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Benjamin but "%20" doesn't look good in the browser address bar, and if you replace it with a blank when showing the URL, then when people copy & paste it into a comment field somewhere it can't correctly auto-link...

alek [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

So how many times will we read in various forums/blogs that it's now a good idea to use an underscore in a *domain name*?
alek

P.S. Per the RFC's, an underscore is not a legit character for a domainname (certainly OK for the pathname component) ... yet, I've seen this issue pop up for years ... ;-)

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

I just come back from different SEO forum, and they took example on Wikipedia URLs. Be careful, what there is in URL is also in title and in H1 tag, without underscore. Just as Blogs. So, on that, there will be no major change I think.

Veky [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

> Benjamin but "%20" doesn't look good in the browser address bar, and if you replace it with a blank when showing the URL, then when people copy & paste it into a comment field somewhere it can't correctly auto-link...

I think that's not an excuse. Look at IDNs for example. It can show as space, and copy to clipboard as %20 or something else, without creating much confusion.

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Finally, after years of blood, sweat and tears...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

> I think that's not an excuse. Look at IDNs for example. It
> can show as space, and copy to clipboard as %20 or
> something else, without creating much confusion.

True, but then it still ends up looking bad whereever it's pasted, like a discussion forum, not something you'd want to risk as webmaster...
(Unless of course all discussion forums in the world convert the %20 to a blank when auto-linking URLs, but that doesn't seem likely to happen fast...)

IMO a very "neat"/ important URL shouldn't have parameters, script extensions (like "PHP5", even though I don't think it's a big deal, and I do it sometimes), "[put at-character here]" characters (like some Flickr URLs), commas, or even underscores (because depending on the rendering client, a link underline can mean the underscore won't be seen, so that might cause confusion e.g. when it's read and prononunced over phone). And you might even argue a very neat URL shouldn't have dozens of dashes & keywords either because it looks so much like SEO spam these days if that happens...

Teodor Filimon [PersonRank 3]

10 years ago #

This is finally happening. Wikipedia and sites made with MS Publisher can rest easy :-)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

I wonder if this change will also influence backlinks which are auto-linked? E.g. will bla_123 be now two words to the Googlebot on HTML pages?

Steve [PersonRank 0]

10 years ago #

What about dots? "music.news.alt"

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Steve, AFAIK dots have always been word separators as far as Google is concerned.

J. McNair [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Well, such is the state of things when one has to work with what the web IS while trying to steer it to what it SHOULD BE. Google is one of the few companies in the unique position to do both, but it still isn't easy.

I'm surprised they didn't compromise on this ages ago. And, much as I hate it, %20 and other escaped forms of word separators in other languages should also be recognized in URLs where they come up. Wondering if there could be a small pagerank penalty for it, though. A fraction of a point would do, just to discourage this practice.

Philipp is right, URLS need to be readable, but IDN-Punycode form URLS aren't readable anyway, and this might actually benefit them as an earlier poster said.

Still, 99% of all forum software needs "special magic" to automatically know to turn a space in a URL into "%20". This would not be worthwhile for such a small feature, but escaping "native language" to punycode and back is extremely useful. I know I heard of some software that already does this as long as you post the URL using the dedicated "link" button. arg. can't remember.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Update: Matt Cutts says "If you read Stephan Spencer’s write-up, he says that underscores are the same as dashes to Google now, and I didn’t quite say that in the talk. I said that we had someone looking at that now. So I wouldn’t consider it a completely done deal at this point."
mattcutts.com/blog/whitehat-se ...

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

W-H-A-T'S T-H-E F-U-C-K ?

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