Should Doctors Use Domain Names With Hyphens For SEO?

When it comes to establishing an online presence, the domain name you choose for your website plays a crucial role. For physicians looking to create or enhance their websites, selecting the right domain name is even more pivotal. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about credibility, ease of access, and future-proofing your online identity.

Understanding the Impact of Hyphenated Domains

Recently, Google’s John Mueller addressed concerns about hyphenated domain names. Historically, domains with hyphens were often associated with SEO strategies when search engines heavily favored keywords in URLs. However, these types of domains have fallen out of favor for several reasons.

Hyphenated domains can appear less trustworthy to potential patients. In the medical profession, where trust is paramount, this perception can negatively impact patient engagement.

Furthermore, such domains are often harder to verbalize without confusion, potentially leading to lost traffic when patients fail to remember or correctly type your web address.

The Shift from Keywords to Brands

In the early days of SEO, it was common to choose domain names packed with keywords to boost search rankings. Today, however, the focus has shifted towards creating brandable and memorable domain names. For physicians, a domain name that reflects your specialty or personal brand can foster recognition and trust more effectively than a keyword-heavy, hyphenated name.

Mueller emphasizes the importance of selecting a domain that is sustainable over the long term and not overly restrictive. As your practice grows and evolves, your domain should be flexible enough to encompass an expanding range of services or specialties without being tied down to specific keywords.

Tips for Choosing Your Domain Name

  1. Keep It Simple and Memorable: Choose a domain name that is easy to spell and pronounce. Avoid hyphens and excessive length to ensure your domain is patient-friendly.
  2. Establish Your Brand: Use your name, specialty, or a unique combination of both. Here are a few examples:,, or Ensure it aligns with your identity and the services you offer.
  3. Consider Your Long-Term Goals: Your domain should be adaptable to future changes in your practice. I’ve worked with physicians who have not only changes groups, but changed cities. Fortunately, we had flexible domains established. Avoid overly specific keywords that might limit your ability to expand.
  4. Promote Trust: Opt for a domain name that sounds professional and credible. This is particularly important in the medical field, where establishing trust is crucial to attracting and retaining patients.
  5. Check Availability: Before settling on a name, make sure it’s available as a domain and does not infringe on existing trademarks or brands.


The right domain name is a foundational element of your professional online presence as a doctor. It not only affects how easily patients can find and refer you, but it also plays a role in shaping their first impressions.

Opting for a simple, non-hyphenated, and brandable domain name can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your medical practice’s online strategy.

Remember, your domain name is an integral part of your digital identity—it should be chosen with care and an eye towards the future.

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