Subdomains and SEO

If you’re struggling to achieve a high ranking with your domain, it could be because of the structure of your subdomains. By moving content from a subdomain to the main domain, it becomes possible to see dramatic improvements on keywords where there is a lot of competition. Every site has a subdomain, so it is important to make sure that it is being effectively used.

It is also important to realize that a subdomain is not the same as a subdirectory. Sometimes referred to as a folder, these are simply extensions of the main domain. You can often tell the difference of a subdomain or a subdirectory just by looking at the address.

Subdomain: http://subdomain.yoursite.com
Subdirectory: http://yoursite.com/subdomain

When considering the subdomain, here are some of the best practices to use to make sure you’re getting the most out of your presence on the internet today.

1. Stay Away From Duplication

The advantage of using subdomains is that every one of them is considered to be a different website. This means you can have a unique PageRank for each subdomain you have. It also means that if you are using the same keywords on each site, you’ll be competing with not only competitive domain owners, but with yourself. Stay away from duplication and put a focus on creating value on separate keywords instead.

Too much duplication may cause a search engine to consider a subdomain to be duplicate content. If this happens, your subdomain and main domain will be subject to the rules of canonization. The search engine will choose the listing it prefers and suppress the other. This means your main domain could disappear from the search results altogether.

2. Emphasize Local SEO

It is pretty easy to emphasize the local SEO bonuses a subdomain can receive. As long as the subdomain itself has the city location in it, every page on that subdomain will automatically be associated with local searches. This can help content writers stay away from the [keyword +/- city location] problems that make for awkward reading and potential value penalties.

3. Automatic Promotion

Every subdomain helps to promote the main domain automatically. This happens because visitors see the subdomain address, get curious about the main domain, and decide to visit it. This allows a company to put specific information about products or services into a subdomain that can rank on its own and then feed visitors through a funnel into the main domain so that prospects can become customers. In other words, it widens the scope of organic results because there is more organic content that is searchable.

4. It Gives Credibility To Every Site

Google claims that it can recognize subdomains and associate them to a main domain, but search results tend to discredit this. When you have a solid domain with several subdomains that are fully optimized and contain valuable content, then you’ll find that there can be several subdomains of one overall domain that dominate the first page of the search. It can be so dominant, in fact, that the entire first page of results may be from just one primary domain.

This means search engine optimization on every subdomain can affect every other subdomain as well. By optimizing one subdomain, you’re really optimizing them all.

5. Find Forgiveness

Google has also highly emphasized quality content above everything else. If you have a good user experience on your subdomains and the content has consistent value, then some of the small mistakes that many domain owners might make, like not including a keyword within the name of an uploaded picture, are almost completely ignored. Great content provides the chance for forgiveness for minor mistakes, but don’t expect great content to wipe away a penalty if you receive one.

6. They Are Unlimited

Although subdomains may have an added cost to them, depending on your hosting account, there is generally no limit placed on the amount that your main domain may have. This means you can create niche content that is locally specific for every customer segment you have and funnel results back to your main site. This will allow a national company to show up in local searches, even if they may not have a local office in the region of that particular user.

Subdomains may not be as important as they once were, but they still play a role in your SEO. Use these best practices to make sure you’re able to dominate your keywords effectively and consistently every day.

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