Hyphens in URL's have always been good. They are also a good alternative for keyword rich domains that are taken. Sometimes the domain with the hyphen is available.
Agreed. We have run some A-B tests and have found that hypens are much better indexed by Google.
I didn't personally run the test, but basically it was starting with two similar domain names on new sites with almost identical content. One was using test-domain-name.com the other was test_domain_name.com. The hyphened url was indexed faster and got more hits right away than the other one. I will talk to the tech who ran the test to see if there is better information that I can give.
Not only is time-to-index not of critical import to the matter at hand, it is not the case that such would be in any way affected by the particular character string(s) employed in static URLs.
The 2011 seoMoz Search Engine Ranking Factors report is out, and contains some interesting data re. the subject here being discussed.
Page Level Keyword Agnostic Features — Correlated Data shows the following:
- Underscore in URL - 0.02
- Hyphen in URL - negative 0.04
This means that, while the presence of an underscore in a URL gave it a small upward boost in the SERPs, the presence of a hyphen gave it doubly large downward push!
While these correlation coefficients are admittedly small, they certainly stand to counter the claims that hyphens are superior to underscores, and the underscores are in some way problematic.
There are and will continue to be countless hyphenated DNs that rank quite well.
Did you bother reading this thread? Did you perform the quick & easy test presented at post #19 which demonstrates that Google parses hyphens and underscores identically and with ease.
Have you researched any of the similar tests run by various parties over the years that demonstrate the same?