Avoiding Underscores in URLs

Underscores in URLs can create issues for both users and search, so they are best avoided.

Here are some key reasons why:

Readability – URLs with can be harder to read and interpret than URLs using hyphens or no separators. The underscores visually break up the words and make the URL look messy. This harms the user experience, as readers may struggle to understand what a URL represents at a glance.

Search engines – Search engines treat underscores, hyphens and spaces as word separators when interpreting URLs. But underscores may be handled inconsistently across search. For example, Google typically ignores, whileing treats each word separated by underscores as a separate term. This can lead issues with duplicate content penalties if Google combines the words while Bing indexes them separately.

Analytics – Adding or removing underscores from URLs would be seen as different URLs in analytics programs like Google Analytics. This can dilute pageview metrics and make reporting less accurate. Keeping URLs consistent without underscores provides better analytics data.

Accessibility – Screen readers used by visually impaired users may pause each making it more difficult to interpret the URL. Hys are more reliably interpreted. So URLs without underscores are more accessible.

Overall, while underscores in URLs will still work, they can create unnecessary issues compared to using hyphens, spaces or nothing to separate words in a URL. Keep URLs underscore-free improves readability, consistency and results across search engines, linking strategies, analytics and accessibility for a better user.

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