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When creating URLs for my website I need to use a space, for example http://mydomain.com/start home

I've seen some sites using + or -, what are the advantages of using space, + and - (dashes) in SEO?

What is better to use for URL formatting? Should I use http://mydomain.com/start-home or http://mydomain.com/start+home?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes don't use + symbols in your URL's it's much better to use - as - tells google these are separate words. And - are most common form of SEO friendly URL's

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I am curios if there's literature to back this claim ? When it comes to URL encoding +, - and space are different characters. So why would google care more for minus than + ? Shouldn't it favor %20 (which is space) and is intended for that purpose? – Roman Mik Oct 15 '14 at 22:53

Spaces in URLs are bad for two reasons: 1) when you copy the URL, it may have an ugly %20 in it to represent the space; 2) on older browsers, copying the URL may leave a space in the URL, so when pasting the link into another webpage like a forum post, the URL will become broken like this:

example.com/my cool page

The only part that will get hyperlinked is:


That will cause a 404 error on your site, and not give you the SEO link juice.

Dashes are best:

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Firefox 40 also replaces the %20s with spaces. This causes the copy pasting problem. – topher Aug 16 '15 at 20:55

A space when you do a link is converted to '%20' being http://mydomain.com/start%20home its dirty...

Using - instead of + or _ or ' '(space) is for google:

start_home for google is "start_home"
start+home for google is "start+home"
start-home for google is "start","home", "home start", "start home"
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It is debatable whether Google treats the underscore as a word seperator these days. Historically no. But in 2007, Matt Cutts said this was changing and that Google would now be treating underscores like hyphens in terms of word separation. However, this might have taken some time to be implemented, but this recent article suggests that underscores are actually better than hyphens! – w3dk Aug 1 '12 at 16:58

In the path part of the URL...

space - An unencoded space is simply not allowed in a URL. It must be percent encoded as %20. You should really do this yourself (explicitly) server-side if required. However, modern browsers implicitly do this for you. Whilst this shouldn't directly affect SEO (after all the word separating space is clearly in the URL), it is not good for useability as @Josh2012 states. So this could affect SEO indirectly. (If it's bad for the user; it's bad for SEO.)

+ - The plus is treated as a literal character in the path part of the URL. (However, it is an encoded space in the querystring part of the URL - which can lead to some confusion.) I have seen no evidence to suggest whether it is treated as a word separating character or not when used in the URL path. I can't see any logic in Google not treating it as a word separator, but it is not so clearly seen as a space by the user. I would not try to use the + (plus) as a word separating character in the path part of the URL. It is often seen encoded as %2B.

- - The hyphen is commonly used as a word separating character in the URL. Search engines see it as such and it is clear to users. You only have to look at the Stack Exchange network. (This is not the same as a dash.)

Use the hyphen:

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protected by John Conde Jun 4 at 12:37

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