SEO: Underscore vs Hyphen: How Google Webmaster Advices Hurt Quality Writers 📺

By Xah Lee. Date:

Google's Matt Cutts just put out a new Google Webmaster Video:

“Underscores vs dashes in URLs”

this really sucks, and is a prime example how google giving SEO advice really hurts real content creators who are not familiar with SEO.

because google is doing this, as shown in this video, it gives companies and spammers who have lots of money and time to fine tune their websites for ranking higher, while vast majority of real writers, for example, professors who blogs occasionally, won't know nor care about these things. So, their high quality writing goes down in search result.

this annoys me personally too by the logic of the choice. I write for the web since 1996, and have a domain since 2000. I am a programer. When writing for website, i choose underscore _ as space separators for file names, not dash. Because, when forced between these 2 choices, underscore is a better choice to stand for space because dash has significance in english words. For example, look at these file names:

you can see that hyphen has distinct meanings. Info would be lost if you replace them all with hyphen, or just underscore.

but mostly i'm just concerned that Google giving SEO advices is really a major force shaping all these little formating, wording, title placements, link placement, etc, most of which has really nothing to do with quality of content. And because Google gives these SEO advices and encourages people to follow their guide, it worsens the SEO/spammer war. Those original, quality, writers who are not web2.0 hipsters just fall by the wayside.

See also: Why Does Google Give SEO Advice? .