Subdomain SEO: Understanding it and How it affects your SEO?
If you are confused about Subdomain SEO, then don’t worry. You have landed on the right page. When navigating the internet, you may notice that sometimes the URL changes as your click from site to site. Moreover, in some cases, you may see a simple URL like www.mysite.com. Or you may see words before the site like www.shop.mysite.com. The word ‘shop’ in this case is the Subdomain and you can use it to differentiate two websites from each other. Keep on reading.
Understanding Subdomain SEO
A subdomain is an addition you can make to a URL string to separate and organize content on your website.
Moreover, by using a subdomain, you can have a partitioned area of the likes like a blog or store, from the main areas of your website.
Every time you see a URL, there are three main parts.
Parts of URL
Parts of a URL are:
Top-Level Domain or TLD This is the extension at the end.
Examples can be, .com, .org. or .io.
Second-Level Domain or SLD This is the creative portion of your domain.
For example, in markfiniti-com, Markfinit will be the second-level domain.
Subdomain The subdomain in such a situation will be anything that comes before the word “markfiniti”.
For instance, if you want to get blog pages, the part of the URL is what will lead you to the blog page.
In such a case the word ‘blog’ would be the subdomain and it helps you to create the tool from the rest of the site.
Moreover, it is important to note that a number of sites use this to create different sections for organization and user experience purposes.
Consider another example.
If you look at the above example from Wikipedia, you can see that they use one to differentiate the languages across their site.
There are different uses of subdomains, however, they are all used to make the user experience easier and faster for the user.
Difference between Subdomains and Subdirectories
Let’s take a look at the technical difference between subdomains and subdirectories:
- Subdomain: blog.yourdomain.com
- Subdirectory: yourdomain.com/blog/
It is important to note that a subdomain is like a child of a parent domain and you can use them for:
Blogs, e-commerce stores, when you have a larger site, internalization, when different websites target different markets, separate mobile sites, and quote forms.
You can notice here that in the subdirectory or a subfolder, for example, the word ‘blog’ sits within the main domain.
Moreover, it is the part of the main yourdomain.com website in the same way that any part will be.
For all intents and purposes, this will be another page on this website.
However, a subdomain sits outside of the main domain, it sits within its own partition of the domain.
In the above example, it is being used to host a blog.
Furthermore, a subdomain will always sit before the root domain when looking at a URL, while a subdirectory will always sit after.
Understanding the Difference
In case you are not sure how many subdomains your site is using, or if it is using any at all.
You can use Semrush Site Audit Tool to view the structure of your site, including subdomains.
Just make sure when setting up the tool that you add the option ‘including all subdomains’ for the crawl scope.
The big question of the subdomain vs. subdirectory is, why is better for SEO?
The most important thing to understand is that Google treats a subdomain as a separate entity.
This means that everything you will do is not associated with the main site.
Moreover, all links and content are not factored into the overall domain rating of your primary domain.
However, it can both be good and bad, depending on your end goal.
In case you are doing something completely different on the subdomain, it can hurt the reputation of the parent domain.
Then it can be a good thing.
But if your subdomain is related to the parent domain and you are getting all your links and content on that area of the site, then it can be a bad thing.
Creating Subdomain SEO
If you are wondering that creating a subdomain could be a difficult process, then worry not.
Learning how to create a subdomain is very simple and something you can do through your web hosting provider.
In this section, let’s use HostGator as an example.
Let’s learn about the steps of creating a subdomain using HostGator:
Step#1: Log-in to your Account You will first need to log-in to your backend and scroll down a little until you can find the section for domains.
Step#2: Create a Subdomain In this section, you will enter the name of your subdomain and the domain you want to attach it to.
For instance, let’s consider a tennis site as an example.
You will write “shop” in the category “subdomain” and “tenniscaptaons.com” in the category “domain”.
Step#3: Update DNS Record After you have created a subdomain, you will need to add a new domain name system recorded or DNS.
It can take about an hour to 24 hours for the changes to update.
Furthermore, it can take this time for implementation on your site, so do not expect to jump back in the right way.
When should Subdomain SEO be a part of your Website?
After understanding the difference between the subdomains and subdirectories, let’s learn when subdomain SEO can be a part of your website:
Detach from the Main Site In some cases, you may want to create or do something on your site, however, you do not want it to associate with the main page.
Therefore, adding a store to your site is a great example of this.
If you look at the above example, you can see that Nascar uses a subdomain SEO for the store.
This makes sense if you think about the actual purpose of Nascar.com while you compare it to a Nascar-related e-commerce store.
Moreover, here, Nascar.com is trying to rank itself for time-sensitive news about races and drivers.
While the store is targeting people who want to buy Nascar gear and apparel.
They are the same, each URL will have its own purpose and should be treated separately for SEO purposes.
Moreover, if your website is not well organized and is difficult to navigate, users will leave.
It is as simple as that.
Subdomains help you to organize your site by limiting the amount of information on it.
No one will want to sift through a number of pages to find one simple answer they are looking for.
Therefore, it is up to you to provide your customers with a high-quality user experience and both subdomains and subdirectories can help you do this.
Separate Sites by Language In case you are operating multiple companies in different companies around the world, you may want to use a subdomain for each language.
We considered Wikipedia in the above section.
However, there are a number of international brands that use this to improve site organization.
While also allowing Google to focus on the right language for your audience at the given time.
Advantages and More
While there are situations where Subdomain SEO can be beneficial for your website, there are situations where it can even hurt your website.
Let’s discuss when should you not use a subdomain SEO and its advantages in this section.
Keep on reading.
When should you Not use a Subdomain SEO?
If you are using SEO as a primary way of generating traffic for your site, you may want to avoid subdomains.
You will also want to create cohesiveness across your brand and that includes all aspects of your website.
However, there is no reason you should not put keyword-rich content on sales and product pages as well.
By treating your store as a separate site from the blog, Google is not taking that link juice and keyword richness and passing it off to the main site.
Thus keep in mind that Google will not penalize you for doing such things.
However, it will have no benefit to you either.
Make sure that your focus should be on crafting high-quality and relevant content as your main goal for the site for an SEO boost.
You can still organize your site in such a way that it works well for everyone without having to use subdomains.
Advantages of Subdomains SEO
Let’s talk about the advantages of subdomain SEO:
Improve the On-Site Experience According to a UX study by Amazon Web Services, about 88% of online shoppers will not return to a site if they have a bad experience.
It’s no surprise at all. There are a number of options to buy and read anything you want.
Remember this. Your job is to create the in-store experience, however, do so online.
If you walk around a store for two hours and are unable to find what you are looking for and no one helps you, would you go back to that store?
The same rules apply online.
Boost the Domain Authority Domain authority is a rating that states how well you are trusted to provide what searchers are looking for.
Moreover, the better and older your site is, the higher the rating will be.
When you create a site first, it automatically scores a 1.
If you are publishing high-quality content, generating traffic, and keeping people on your site for a while, the score will go up.
However, if you are using black hat SEO techniques, your score will go down.
One great way is to use subdomains SEO to increase the domain authority by linking between the two domains.
According to Brain Dean, only 2.2% of content gets links from multiple websites, so every step you take will help.
Other Advantages of Subdomain SEO
Other advantages are:
Organize your Content It is important to note that user experience and content organization matter.
However, it is also important to understand why it matters.
When you organize your content, it is not just easy for people to find.
But it also makes it easier for Google to crawl your site.
Furthermore, this also helps Google to find the keywords you are trying to rank for faster.
And if Google can easily navigate through your sites, so can the uses.
Include Relevant Keywords in the URL As of 2018, John Muller said that keywords in URLs have very little to do with ranking or user experience.
However, they can very easily have a negative effect.
But it is much more difficult for them to have a positive impact.
With that being said, including keywords as an overarching subdomain can help to organize content that can positively affect your SEO.
Again, it makes the site easier to crawl, however, it also tells Google right away what that section of your site is about.
Disadvantages of Subdomain SEO
The following are some of the disadvantages of Subdomain SEO:
Subdomains can dilute your SEO Having unnecessary subdomains can spread your SEO efforts across two sites instead of focusing on one.
This means that it can take double the links and content to get the same results if you simply focus on one domain.
The results can be even worse if you have a blog or subdomain.
Companies with blogs get 97% more inbound links, so instead of those links benefiting your main site, they will only benefit your blog subdomain.
And it will leave your primary URL out to dry.
Internal Linking Links to subdomains are external links.
Anyone on the SEO can tell that internal linking is one of the most important ranking factors.
Thus, if you are linking from a subdomain to the main page, it does not count as an internal link and can force Google to see your site as weak or ‘thin’.
Difficult for Google to Crawl As subdomains are separate sites, you will need to verify them and track everything in Search Console and Analytics separately.
All of the above factors can make it more challenging for Google to Crawl the site in the beginning.
Now that you understand what Subdomain SEO is, you can plan it now. While they have their time and place, experts recommend that your tread them carefully and only use them if absolutely have to.
In terms of overall SEO ranking factors, this is pretty close to the bottom. Instead, you can focus on organizing the content you have on the site, fill it with a content calendar and work towards improving your on-site SEO.