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  1. #1
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    Subdomains vs Subdirectories

    For blogs - best thing to do is have the blog hosted on your domain (not a subdomain like blog.domain.com). Be the authoritative voice for your industry/niche. Like Joshua said - if you're using web 2.0 properties the links should be nofollowed since you're the curator of the content.
    My rarely updated website (I should fix that) - https://www.ericrohrback.com
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  3. #2
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    Re: Blogs, links, and Keywords - Do they matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Rohrback View Post
    For blogs - best thing to do is have the blog hosted on your domain (not a subdomain like blog.domain.com). Be the authoritative voice for your industry/niche. Like Joshua said - if you're using web 2.0 properties the links should be nofollowed since you're the curator of the content.
    Why do you conclude that? I've never hear anything over the past 20 years to suggest that using a sub domain rather than a subdirectory makes any difference whatsoever to ranking. Indeed, it is common practice in many large organizations and over the years Matt Cutts has confirmed repeatedly that it's a matter of personal preference and branding; Google doesn't care.


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  4. #3
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    Re: Blogs, links, and Keywords - Do they matter?

    Subdomain would be treated as a new domain, while a subdirectory would be treated as an extension of the main domain.

    The Moz guide for Domains
    A thread on the Moz blog discussing a similar topic

    So it looks like there's a handful of different opinions out there on the subject. I think if you have a game plan in mind on how to use it one way or another, you'll be ok with whatever route you go with. My preference is to keep any content that could help the site rank on a subdirectory over a subdomain. If you're careful and know what you're doing, a subdomain can work (which is usually the case with bigger companies with more well versed tech teams). Small operations with limited focus on website strategy though... I would stick with the sub-directory.
    My rarely updated website (I should fix that) - https://www.ericrohrback.com
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    Blogs, links, and Keywords - Do they matter?

    I started with sub domains and it worked well for me. This forum started as a subdomain and ranked well quite quickly.

    A subdomain is not really treated as a separate domain. It inherits authority, page rank, branding, etc., from the main domain, just like a subdirectory. Indeed, on the actual server a subdomain physically is a subdirectory off the main domain.


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    Re: Blogs, links, and Keywords - Do they matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by djbaxter View Post
    A subdomain is not really treated as a separate domain. It inherits authority, page rank, branding, etc., from the main domain, just like a subdirectory. Indeed, on the actual server a subdomain physically is a subdirectory off the main domain.
    I'll prerequisite this with the fact that I have not personally done this in quite some time. In speaking to several people in recent years who were more familiar with it then I was, I've heard the same as Eric, sub-domains are treated as separate sites, therefore, requiring separate SEO initiatives for each sub-domain. Sub-directories/folders are much easier to pass along link juice and require 1 SEO effort. I was always told that sub-domains are okay, as long as you have the resources to manage multiple SEO initiatives or if you have a separate part of the business that has little relation to the business of the main domain.

    Djbaxter, have you read sometime recently that sub-domains are treated as you say or have you worked with a sub-domain recently? Perhaps this has changed and sub-domains are not treated individually anymore. I'd be interested in hearing more about your experience with this, as long as you don't mind sharing.

    This is a discussion from Feb 2014 on Moz where Rand himself chimes in Moz's official stance on Subdomain vs Subfolder - does it need updating? | Moz Q&A

    I only have a little to add to the quality comments already made. I always say, Google or Bing is not buying your service or product, humans are. Make your content speak to your audience. Make them easy to read. Blogs are one of the easiest ways to add fresh, unique content to a website. Earning links is a lot more difficult then it sounds. You should internally link to other pages on your site only when necessary and not only for the sake of it. It's said that linking early on, in the 1st paragraph is usually best.

    Social media sites such as FB, Google+, etc. should give your content legs. Use your blog as your hub and to get your content in front of your readers, prospects, etc. Don't forget, content is not limited to articles. Images, video's and infographics are also great forms of content to attract visitors and keep them engaged on your site.

  7. #6
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    Blogs, links, and Keywords - Do they matter?

    Most recently, the best example I can think of is this forum, which started as a sub domain of Linda's main Catalyst domain and shot to page 1 in a very short period of time. What that tells me is that it inherited some of its ranking and authority from the main domain since it ascended much more quickly than you would expect from a brand new domain.

    The notion that subdomains are treated differently is not new. It's actually from the 90s when for a while what you say about subdomains was actually true. By the late 1990s or early 2000s, the way subdomains and sub folders were treated became basically equivalent and it became simply a matter of personal preference. As I said, none of this is new. If I had some free research time at my desktop I could dig up old evidence documenting the change as a ranking factor but at the moment I'm on a lowly iPad without my archives.


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    Re: Blogs, links, and Keywords - Do they matter?

    The MOZ Position is at Moz's official stance on Subdomain vs Subfolder - does it need updating? | Moz Q&A - I think that's incorrect, to be blunt.

    Alternate views:

    Subdomains and SEO - Pros and Cons of Subdomains vs Subdirectories - Ameravant Web Design Studio - Santa Barbara

    As of the summer of 2011, Google considers all linking between subdomain websites, to the main domain or other subdomains an internal link.
    When to Use Subdomains vs. Subfolders - A 2013 Update - Search Marketing Standard Magazine | Covering Search Engines

    in late October, 2012, Matt Cutts of Google’s Webspam team clarified the subdomain/subdirectory situation insofar as Google was concerned. He said:

    “The historical reasons why you might’ve wanted to go for a subdomain don’t really apply as much, and that leaves you with, okay both are on the same domain, overall, and so it’s really a question of which one is easier for you.”

    This implies strongly that any previous linking advantage you might have gained from using a subdomain is no longer a factor (see the video at the link for the technical talk).
    http://www.brafton.com/news/subdomai...omains-anymore

    In a recent Webmaster Help video, Google’s Matt Cutts reported that adjustments to Google’s search algorithms have removed many of the advantages given to sites organizing content using subdomains rather than a subdirectory...

    Cutts said webmasters frequently abused this feature by creating a number of subdomains for the same types of content aimed solely at generating more links to their sites (and dominating SERPs). Adjusting algorithms to treat subdomains and subdirectories prevented webmasters from abusing the practice. As such, Cutts advises webmasters and marketers concerned with URL structure for both SEO and optimum user experience to structure links in whichever format is most convenient for them.
    See also this discussion at WebMasterWorld: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4663754.htm

  9. #8
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    Re: Subdomains vs Subdirectories

    I have a whole big post I've been meaning to write.

    There is a hidden, unknown benefit to using subdomains for local. Running into a meeting with Google so no time to explain and it will really take a full post with examples to explain it.

    So when I get around to it will try to remember to come back and add link to this post.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  10. #9
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    Re: Subdomains vs Subdirectories

    Looking forward to reading that, Linda.


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  11. #10
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    Re: Subdomains vs Subdirectories

    Thanks for all the links and counter points David.

    And so true about this forum which was on a subdomain until last month.

    With the new tip I'm going to give it only relates to one specific part of local so I'll just share that bene, but I'm not in anyway saying, go use subdomains. It's mainly a potential option in certain types of cases. I'd still encourage you to weigh out the holistic benefits and all the other ramifications before making a decision.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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