The results are in from my SMUG survey in Blogging 304, in which I asked readers to search for two terms and see where SMUG shows up in the rankings to test whether Google treats hyphenated domain names as “spam” domains, as a previous commenter had alleged
Of the five comments so far, it seems that on a search for blue shirt nation this blog typically shows up #4 in the rankings (#8 was the lowest) and for best buy blue shirt nation it’s typically #3.
So the fact that this blog has a URL of social-media-university-global.org instead of socialmediauniversityglobal.org doesn’t seem to be causing problems with my posts showing up in Google.
In fact, I think it’s likely the opposite, as this blog shows up at the top in searches for social media university, and even is on the first page for university social media. It appears to me I even do fairly well on global social media and social media global.
Again, some of this might be that Google knows I’m doing the searching and is serving my blog preferentially in the results, so if you’d want to search for some of the italicized terms above and let me know in the comments below how SMUG shows up, I’d appreciate knowing.
This led me to test a post on my son’s new blog (where he’s excited that he’s #1 in Google when you search for his name.) I’ve done an optimized post on his blog to see how long and whether that moves to #1 in the John Aase search. We’ll see what happens, and I’ll update later with the reslts.
Meanwhile, I got thinking some more about how failure to hyphenate, either in a domain name or in post, could make it more difficult for the Google robots to determine what a site or a post is about.
This post, for example, could mean at least one of two things, depending on how the bots parsed the URL.
islamicyearwaxeddonetimedeclared could mean that a major national news magazine had reached the judgment that Muslim ascendancy had ended: Islamic year waxed done, Time declared. Or, in a nonsensical nod to one of the Cartoon Network shows we try to not let John watch (see graphic above), it could be “I slam icy ear wax,” Edd one time declared.
The application for you is that you should hyphenate your URLs and make it easier for Google to understand what your post is about. In this case, particularly with the tags, it might get the picture that this post is about SEO.
This is another good reason to choose WordPress or WordPress.com as your blogging platform, because the default URL for your post comes from its title and because you can edit your URL before posting.