Underscores (_) and dashes (-) serve different purposes in URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) and have different implications for search engine optimization (SEO) and readability. Here’s a comparison of the underscore and dash (Hyphen):
- Dashes: Dashes are more readable and are generally recommended for use in URLs. They are more visually distinct and are easier for users to recognize as word separators.
- Underscores: Underscores can sometimes be less readable because they can be mistaken for spaces, especially when they are not underlined or formatted differently.
- Dashes: Search engines like Google treat dashes as word separators, so using them in URLs can help search engines understand the individual words in your URL. This can potentially improve your SEO because search engines may be able to match the keywords in your URL with user queries more effectively.
- Underscores: Search engines may not consistently treat underscores as word separators. In the past, Google used to consider underscores as word separators, but they have since stated a preference for dashes.
- Dashes: Dashes are universally supported in URLs and are compatible with all web browsers and web servers.
- Underscores: While most modern web browsers and servers support underscores in URLs, there have been cases where older or less common systems had issues with underscores, which could lead to compatibility problems.
- Best Practices:
- It is generally recommended to use dashes to separate words in URLs for better readability, SEO, and compatibility.
- If you’ve already been using underscores in your URLs, it’s not critical to change them, but if you’re starting a new website or updating existing URLs, consider using dashes.
- Good URL with dashes: https://www.example.com/my-blog-post
- Less ideal URL with underscores: https://www.example.com/my_blog_post
In summary, while both underscores and dashes can technically be used in URLs, dashes are the preferred choice for better readability, SEO, and overall compatibility with web systems and search engines.