For years search engine optimizers and affiliate marketers have been using this type of domain name quite heavily. The idea was that by including the primary keywords for your market in the actual domain name itself that this could and would influence your search engine ranking. This did seem to work for quite some time. It was an accepted practice.
There was a problem however. Search engines change. They change their algorithms and with these changes some websites can simply disappear from search engine results altogether. And change they did. March 2006 saw Google implement something called BigDaddy which immediately dumped 95%+ of hyphenated domains from their search index.
Why did they do this? Google hate people manipulating their search results because it makes them look bad. They run a business and like any business they want to stay in control of how their customers see them. Having search results filled with www.best-credit-card-options-online-guides.com doesn't look good. It makes their search results appear very unprofessional to say the least. Bearing in mind too that most of these extra long hyphenated domains were filled with keyword stuffed pages of rubbish that had no actual value to visitors and you can see why Google made this change.
Were all hyphenated domains dropped? Of course not. Some stayed in the search index especially those with just a single dash in the domain name itself. That being said the day will come when dashed domain names will probably be moved to Googles secondary or supplemental search index. This effectively means that your domain would be dead in terms of search engine traffic.
Does the title "Hyphenated Domains Are Dead!" seem a little harsh? It's not meant to be. It's there as a wakeup call for your business. For the newbies out there just starting in business online please don't fall into the trap of using dashed domain names. Anybody who advises you to purchase a domain name with more than a single dash doesn't know what they're talking about and should be avoided. Serious online marketers are dumping their dashed domains as quickly as possible and moving towards either:
1. Branding their websites with much shorter domains.
2. Just using non-dashed domain names instead.
From a business point of view it's actually a good thing. Using hyphenated domains was just a lazy way around being truly creative. There are plenty of great .com, .net, .org and .info domains left unregistered. There are as many great. coms for sale too - true you might pay a little more but at least you'll be getting a domain that you'll want to keep forever.
The days of the disposable dashed domain names are over. If you're running an online business now it's time to take it seriously with a proper domain name. You do want to take your business seriously don't you?