Oh I understand this completely, it just so happens that the domain name words work out to be keywords.
I agree completely about putting visitor experience and branding first, and to not just strive for SEO, but often this ends up being the case.
Like my niche market forum (ignore the current display, just did an upgrade that antiquated some plug-ins that didn’t reallocate the tables it occupied, so I am still working on it if it looks skewed) CusdtodialGrandparents.com, is a forum for grandparents with custody of their Grandchildren.
Now using this example if I HAD to use Custodial-Grandparents.com or worse Custodial-Grand-Parents.com, my question would relate to… not so much the single hyphenated one because the word “Grandparents” remains intact, but if it were the last case, wouldn’t my results likely be lost amongst serps showing custodial cleaning products, because the relationship between grand and parent are broken, and using “grandparent” as a keyword will show less relevance to the site name?
And then of course every site with lots back links and the word “grand” in it alone, such as Grand Pianos, Grand Cayman Island, and the such, would also be competing for position in those results?
I have tried such searches for site names broken with hyphens for this reason, but really not could assess anything solid not knowing how big a market is, because leaving out the hyphens brought many more on target results, although a few times it did in fact bring in results better on target, where as there weren’t a million of the same type of sites in the response, but just a few, before the subject criteria changed, as words often fall in to multiple categories of products or services, just as custodial, grand, and parents, does. Custodial cleaning products, grand Pianos and parents seems overly connected with babies.
Do you better understand what I am asking now?
I tried to keep the word count down in the first post because many people glaze over when they see a long winded post, regardless of the relevance of the many words NEEDED to properly communicate a thought or concept!
But after repeating those searches I did a few years ago, (just as I was typing this) it seems to make much less difference, since many sites are now displayed in the serps based on the “proper” keyword phrase being in the page title or description, despite the domain name, and also offered an alternate search in the manner of “[I]did you mean grandparents?”
[/I]So I guess you got me my answer pretty down pat, and this is no longer a concern to contend with when selecting domain names.
I also feel this dispels the common misconception that “meta tags” are no longer needed, or considered by search engines, because many results I just got, were from page title, and description, meta tags, despite the domain name being totally different and irrelevant from the search terms.
Thank you both for your input, it is really appreciated!