This has always been a topic of discussion in relation to SEO and building websites. I have always thought it was important, but not critical to use hypens instead of underscores in a URL.
However, since it is so easy to solve I have always recommended using hypens and not underscores as seperators. If you use WordPress it automatically uses hypens as it’s main separator so you can let it build your “slug” for you.
Here is the latest video I could find of Matt Cutts explaining it again. And I think he does a great job of not only explaining how it works, but why it works.
It is a niche I really did not plan on, but it is probably the best description of what I do on a daily basis. Thanks to the SoloBizCoach for pointing that out during one of our chats.
Using the term mechanic invariably brings to mind a car mechanic, and a website mechanic is very similar. If you want your car to look better you take it to a body shop, but if you want it to run better, tune it up, or fix something you take it to a mechanic. And that is the same situation here. If you want graphics or a slick looking website, I should not be your first choice to help you. However, if something is not working right, or you want to tune it up, I can usually help you.
In just the last week I have converted a couple of static sites to WordPress, repaired a slow loading blog, fixed a site that was not loading properly and several other small “mechanic” tasks for others. I also do a lot of custom stuff. Here is a good post from WayneJohn explaining some Twitter API work we were both involved in.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with needing help. A lot of the people who call on me are excellent bloggers and designers, but we each have our skill set and we need to know our limitations. Trust me, if I want some hot graphics I am going to call on someone else to help me out.
A key to success is being able to know when you need help and utilize other peoples skills to advance your work.
Thinking about all the instant stuff we have on the net I thought it would interesting to watch incoming traffic generated from search engines. I setup a script on a couple test sites that email me the Domain, Search Term, Search Engine and Landing Page whenever a visitor comes from a search engine.
With over 80 sites generating traffic there is no way I could do this on all my sites, but it is interesting and helpful to run on sites where I am trying to get a better feel for the incoming search traffic on a real time basis. I also dump the results to a file to review later, which would be easy to adapt for other things utilizing a database.
One thing I have noticed is that you can not have Google Instant turned on and set your default setting to display more than 10 search results at one time. I have had mine set to 100 search results for as long as I can remember. The settings page will let you select 100, but when you turn on Instant, the page will only show 10.
Google Instant does not really impact most of my searches since I typically do not load the Google home page to search. I do most of my” googling” from the address bar within Chrome. And it will be interesting to see if they change this functionality.
It will also be interesting to see how it changes the search terms that people use. There are already a lot of conversations about Google Instant killing SEO. I certainly think it has the capability of changing SEO dramatically, but, as long as there are search engines, there will be ways to optimize for them.