Why Remove Underscores?
Remove Underscores in URLs
For years, Google and other search engines have considered the underscore to be
part of a word. So, search terms like REMOTE_ADDR can be easily found in the
search results. Of course, the URL has also been a factor in determining search
engine results placement. Granted, it is not exactly a huge factor, but it can
carry some weight. This is precisely why we can Google search a domain name, and
the URL with the domain name ranks first in the search results. After the domain
name, the URL starts to display keywords with folders, file names, and
parameters. Consider a URL like www.example.com/articles/improve_my_website/.
From the URL, we can see that the web page is an article about how to improve my
website. While search engines agree that this is probably an article, they don't
all believe this is about how to improve my website. This URL contains
underscores in the last keyword phrase. My intention was to highlight the
keyword phrase "improve my website", but Google will only see it as "improve_my_website".
The probability of searchers separating words by underscores as opposed to
spaces is highly unlikely.
Use Hyphens in URLs Instead
You have probably seen many URLs that have keywords separated by hyphens and not
underscores. You might even notice that websites that are more popular use this
standard. Well, that is because search engines see the hyphens as being more
like a space. When you were first learning English, you were most likely annoyed
by the random exceptions and cases of the language. Separating words with
hyphens is no different. Without consulting a dictionary, an average person will
stumble on when and how to use a hyphen to separate a phrase. As always, the
grammar police try to offer a hyphen explanation to our odd language. Despite
the annoying grammar police, Google and other search engines appear to always
replace the hyphen with a space. Try googling for something like "good-looking
art" and compare the results against "good looking art". The results should be
exactly the same. So, if Google considers an underscore part of the word or
phrase and replaces the hyphen with a space, it makes sense to use hyphens to
separate our keywords or keyword phrase.
Conforming to URL Standards
These two URLs have a fairly similar level of readability. The underscores and
hyphens can both be interpreted by a user as a space separating words. However,
the best practice on the web is to use hyphens, which really gives a website no
solid reason not to use underscores instead of using hyphens in the URLs to
highlight the keywords or keyword phrase.
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Open Graph Protocol
What is DMOZ?
How to build Backlinks?
How to Use the Canonical Tag?
What is a Web Page Description?
What is a Doctype?
What is an Encoding Type?
What is the Alt Attribute of an Image?
What are Meta Keywords?
Why Improve a Website's Page Speed?
What is Profanity?
Social Sharing Options
Right Text Length for a Web Page
What is a Page Title?
Why Increase Website Traffic?
Why Rewrite Your URLs?
Why Remove Underscores?
What is the WWW Resolve?