A function on my site is replacing all spaces in my friendly URL's to "+".

So an article named: "best cars 2014", becomes "www.example.com/best+cars+2014".

Is this negative for SEO? E.g. would this be better: "www.example.com/best-cars-2014"

I'm not talking about readability, but am wondering if Google sees/treats URL's with a "+" separator as something different than with a "-" separator?

ps. I can change the working of the function ofcourse, but it has been doing this for a long time, so I would have to start doing a lot of 301 redirects, which I'd rather not.

  • 1
    Bit of an aside, but... The fact that your function is converting spaces in the path part of the URL to + looks like a bit of a mistake/oversight. In some parts of the URL (ie. the query string) the + can indeed be used to encode a space. However, in the path part of the URL a + is a literal + (plus). So, whilst not strictly incorrect, it just looks wrong from a developer's standpoint.
    – MrWhite
    Dec 22, 2014 at 1:31

1 Answer 1


Google cares not one whit. Really. All non-alphanumeric characters are essentially ignored. From a programmers point of view, the URI is parsed and indexed using word boundaries and anything that is not a word, is ignored. It is that simple.

If you asked which one I personally prefer using, I would say - over +. I think it is more human friendly and the shift key is not required to type the URL/URI. That is a huge factor really. Try typing a bunch of URLs with + verses - and you will see what I mean.

Also, please do not over-think SEO. It is not a complex labyrinth to navigate through. Honest. Would I lie to you? Do web stuff like a normal webbernaut and it will all work out. Google does not make the rules. They try and rewrite the rules to their ideals and benefit, but that always fails. Follow the rules, not Google's, but the communities, and you will be fine. Trust me. Again; would I lie to you?

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