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Matt Cutts On Dashes and Underscores In HTML Filenames

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One of the questions from people who are conducting optimization tasks on their web site is the proper way to name their HTML files. Should they feature dashes? Underscores? None of the above?

When facing a dilemma like this, it’s nice to get definitive information directly from the horse’s mouth. That way, it lessens the chance that the message will get garbled in its delivery. Keeping with this thought, famed Google engineer, Matt Cutts addresses the very issue of dashes versus underscores when it comes to naming HTML files.

In his post, Matt tackles this subject head-on in hopes that the confusion surrounding this topic will finally be cleared up. According to Matt’s post, when you are naming HTML files and you have to use some sort of separator, use the dash (-) instead of the underscore (_). Doing so helps your site when it comes to appearing in search results. Not that filenames with underscores won’t rank, it’s just the search has to be exact.

Matt explains a little more clearly:

Lots of computer programming languages have stuff like _MAXINT, which may be different than MAXINT. So if you have a url like word1_word2, Google will only return that page if the user searches for word1_word2 (which almost never happens). If you have a url like word1-word2, that page can be returned for the searches word1, word2, and even “word1 word2″.

Matt goes on to say Google will not penalize HTML files that have dashes in them, unless of course it looks something like this:

www.buy-cheap-viagra-online-while-consolidating-your-debt-so-you-can-play-texas-holdem-while-watching-porn.com…

That would be considered a no-no to any engine worth its salt.

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.

Matt Cutts On Dashes and Underscores In HTML Filenames
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