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  1. #1
    Member pokerturkey's Avatar
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    Default Changing all my file names - bad idea?
    Currently all the files in our website are separated by "_" instead of "-".

    So I have files like:

    Code:
    www.fakesite.com/seo_articles/search_engine_optimization.php
    A nice SEO guy on another forum told me I should switch the underscore to hyphens, because hyphens are treated as spaces while underscores actually connect the words.

    Right now, all 220 pages of our website is indexed by Google. We don't have any spectacular SERPs in our competitive keywords. Should we go ahead and change all our file names from "file_name" to "file-name"?

    Will the Google bot penalize us for suddenly changing all our file names? On one hand we want to optimize our site. On the other hand, we are getting daily indexed by Google and MSN and we are not sure we want to mess with a good thing.

    Also, our file names are currently automatically generated. Whatever the article is, the file name will be. For example, if someone wrote an article for us called "The Greatest Way to Win A Free Trip to Asia", the file name becomes:

    Code:
    www.fakesite.com/seo_articles/the_greatest_way_to_win_a_free_trip_to_asia.php
    Is having long names bad? Does that hurt us in the SEO game? Thanks for any thoughts you may have!

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador DesignerWiz's Avatar
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    Our page names use underscores and we rank #1 for MANY targeted keyword page names using them. I really don't think renaming them is going to produce any weighable differences in ranking. Maybe someone else may be able to provide documentation proving otherwise .. but I honestly don't think so. I just know underscores work perfectly for our needs.

    The usage of hyphens may also be best used according to how/what you are targeting.

    I think that you should try some SEO on "keyword density weight frequency" using both types .... then see if they rank differently.

    Best-o-luck!
    Ray Thomas
    Webmaster Resources: http://DesignerWiz.com
    ABW Board Category: Programming / Coding
    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=190

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador DesignerWiz's Avatar
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    PS: You can test your "keyword density weight frequency" by going to google http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...ight+frequency
    Ray Thomas
    Webmaster Resources: http://DesignerWiz.com
    ABW Board Category: Programming / Coding
    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=190

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    Yes I too have underscores and Rank well for most of my search terms.
    I think your nice SEO person is pulling your leg..

    I think the underscores are treated as spaces and the hyphens connect the words.
    that is why you can use hyphens in actual domain names and not underscores..

    Just my opinion..

    WHAT a great LINK and EXAMPLE all rolled into one there DesignerWiz!

    Look at those underscores...

  5. #5
    Member pokerturkey's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, you make me feel much better now.

    Nice resource bw. I bookmarked the designerwiz's page for future reference. It helps a lot, thanks!

  6. #6
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    At one time using keywords in files names and paths was believed to give a site a boost. I've never seen any evidence of that. I think the rumor was started when Google began highlighting keywords on the SERPs.

    It has been proven that G sees phrases with hyphens different than with underscores. Phrases with hyphens are treated as separate words, while phrases using underscores as seperators are treated as a single word. That probably added to the belief that keywords separators in filenames made a difference.

    Although I've never seen a difference, I tend to use file names with the keyword theme for the page separated by hyphens. It's just a personal choice.

  7. #7
    Member pokerturkey's Avatar
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    Thanks Tech Evangelist. Cool avatar btw.

  8. #8
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    Glad to help. What avatar? That's what I look like.

  9. #9
    Member pokerturkey's Avatar
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    Really?



    *lol*

  10. #10
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    If you want to test out the premise, you may want to try out one of your highest ranking pages, make a copy of it at the alternate name, and make *1* link within your site to that page, point to that new althernate name, and see (a) whether google indexes the alternative named page, and (b) whether that page scores higher than the standard named page.

  11. #11
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    That may not be the best advice. Google is really good at issuing duplicate content penalties. I would never advise someone to duplicate a page either within a site or on another site. Duplicate content is a problem than plagues many affiliates who use datafeeds.

    Google: "Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content." http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html
    There's good, fast and cheap. Pick any two.
    [url=http://www.topranksolutions.com]Phoenix SEO[/url] :: [url=http://www.tech-evangelist.com/category/affiliate-marketing/]Affiliate Marketing Tutorials[/url]

  12. #12
    Member pokerturkey's Avatar
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    That makes sense from Google's POV, Tech Evangelist. Thanks.

    Promosoft, I might try that experiment with another non-profit site I'm involved with.

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