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GoogleGuy Confirms that Underscores are not Word Separators


Author Message
GoogleGuy Says

PostPosted: April 22, 2004 9:54 PM 

Importance: High

Many people believe that you can use an underscore to separate_words_in_an_url, and that Google will recognize the words and count them for ranking purposes. I have read many debates about this: some people believe that Google indeed counts underscores as word separators, while other webmasters claim that you must use a hyphen or other character for Google to recognize the words as distinct. GoogleGuy has hinted in the past that hyphens are preferred. Recently, this debate reheated when Google made a change to it's "search word highlighting" feature in the search results: suddenly, keywords separated by underscores were being displayed in bold. The question then became whether the change was part of the ranking algorithm, or just the display mechanism.

Today, GoogleGuy finally confirmed this without any shadow of a doubt: "If you use an underscore '_' character, then Google will combine the two words on either side into one word. So bla.com/kw1_kw2.html wouldn't show up by itself for kw1 or kw2. You'd have to search for kw1_kw2 as a query term to bring up that page." [Link to Quote] I think we can put that debate to bed finally, at least for now.


Posts: 1

Reply: 1

PostPosted: April 23, 2004 9:36 AM 

Ok so does that confirm that if you use hyphens google will read it as 2 separate words?

rob adams

Posts: 1

Reply: 2

PostPosted: April 24, 2004 10:37 AM 

Of course they are word_seps. Look back to the original typsetters of yesteryear, and you'll see even crazier stuff, crazier spellings, in daily newspapers of all things.

Language evolves; Let it.
Don't be a language-fundamentalist.

.rob adams

J. King

Posts: 1

Reply: 3

PostPosted: April 25, 2004 4:05 AM 

The issue isn't whether the underscore is a word separator or not, Rob; it's whether Google's software thinks it is or not. Typesetting, newspapers, and language in general have little to do with it.

Mark Carey

Posts: 34

Reply: 4

PostPosted: April 25, 2004 8:39 AM 

JDC, to answer your question the answer is yes. Later in the same thread GG says "Yes, hyphens do separate words".

Scott Blanchard

Posts: 1

Reply: 5

PostPosted: April 26, 2004 12:27 PM 

So hyphens are preferable to underscores. What about periods?

For example,



Gerald Steffens

Posts: 1

Reply: 6

PostPosted: April 28, 2004 5:30 PM 

just search for would.be.nice in google and make our mind. and if you search for would_be_nice resp. would-be-nice you should see the differences and similarities.
it's quite simple.

Posts: no

Reply: 7

PostPosted: April 29, 2004 12:45 AM 


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