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    Subdomain SEO questions


    Hi,

    So I know a little about SEO and have been doing research lately. Perhaps if I tell you my situation and what I am trying to do, it might help you give better answers.


    Lets say I have a website that sells products. I have divided each different product type into their own subdomain. For example: tires.mydomain.com, appliances.mydomain.com etc.

    The site is setup as an OSCommerce site with lots of modification to it. As a lot of the pages are the same(about us, how this works, etc etc) from sub-domain to sub-domain, each subdomain is set to point to the main directory. So there is only 1 page for about-us.php and tires.mydomain.com/about-us/ and appliances.mydomain.com/about-us/ just point to the same file. The different gallery pages are defined by a category ID and config file and that customizes the experience and products to what you need to see based on the subdomain.

    Now, that being said, I am trying to create some landing pages that are very SEO complaint to rank high for certain key phrases. I had the option of adding them as a normal page or as a sub-domain. I thought that adding as a sub-domain might make it more clear.

    As such lets say I choose a keyword phrase "Red"(as an example) for appliances.
    I setup subdomain "red-appliances.mydomain.com" which is only meant to give information about our "red appliances" and then link over to our "appliances.mydomain.com" gallery page.


    So with that base set, I have a few questions.

    1. Do links that move from one of your sub-domains to the other hurt SEO?
    - As an example, if all of the links on my red-appliances subdomain pointed to appliances.mydomain.com pages(like about-us, contact us etc) does that hurt SEO? This as a subdomain is really just meant to be a stand-alone content page geared towards a keyword.

    2. Would this be better done as a sub-page instead of a sub-domain? I figured as a sub-domain homepage this would be easier to index and list as a separate site in webmaster tools, plus having your keyword phrase in the URL seemed like it would be good also.

    3. Does it hurt SEO if your subdomain home page is the only page on that subdomain? I am only using the sub-domain for having a keyword in the URL and getting indexed faster.


    I have already done some research, read articles and such on SEO and landing pages but any other advice you can give would be great. Thanks!
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  3. Dinosaur
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    Its only my personal belief but I would say you have just wasted a whole load of time.
    The site should be structured using folders not sub-domains. That way any power any category gains is spread around the rest of the site. What you have done is basically created lots of separate sites which now each will require effort to rank each and not really gain any benefit from the main site.

    Its true page rank can pass along links to the main money site but the sites authority will be severely hampered.

    The other issue is it looks really spammy as the only conclusion you can come up with why is it was done this way is to try and manipulate SERPS. I honestly cant think of any positives coming from this structure for a standard ecommerce site.

    Comments on this post

    • Will-O-The-Wisp agrees
    • Test-ok agrees : Exactly
    • KnowOneSpecial agrees : Sory ol' man all outta rep to give you
    • Prof.stan agrees : excellent response :)
    Owner of Page Explorer the page onsite SEO checker
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    Thanks Chedders for the info.

    We might restructure some of that later on, however as it is, I am trying to drive users using landing pages that rank well with certain keywords. In terms of landing pages, does having links away from your subdomain hurt SEO?
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  7. Dinosaur
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    I am trying to give you a clear example here but its not easy to explain.

    You need to understand how page rank works, Each page has a value, that value is determined by the incoming links,
    So if a page on your sub domain you have 10 links going to other pages then (a small % is lost but lets forget that for now) each link pass's the pages page rank divided by the number of links so if your page has a PR of 6 and you have 10 links then the sum is 6 / 10 = 0.6 which is passed to the receiving pages. This enable you to spread the page rank around your site.

    In your case with the sub domain route you will pass 0.6 to the main domain with 1 link which then can pass that around domain but assuming the other 9 links are within the sub domain then that is kept there.

    On the domain folder option, assuming all 10 links are internal then its all passed around the same domain making the whole domain stronger and stronger for each incoming link.

    This is why pages like the home page often rank the highest as most sites on all pages they have a link to the home page, this adds to the home page page rank giving it the most power.
    With links even if you add no follow that still uses up page rank so keeping links to a minimum can be key to how pages rank.

    Google claim page rank sculpting does not work, just as they dont use page rank any more. Of course that is total bull and you can influence what pages you rank for by careful thinking of your sites structure. I have reduced links on a site internally and seen increases in SERPS many times.

    This is not black hat its just being thoughtful about what links to what and which you want to be the most prominent on your site.

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    • Will-O-The-Wisp agrees
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    Thank you once again!! That all very helpful.

    So, in my case if I have a separate subdomain that I am trying to rank for a keyword phrase, I should keep my overall links FROM that page to other pages to a minimum, and increase links TO that page for visibility and increased page ranking. Obviously the formula is incredibly complicated and can't be summed up in a few paragraphs, but I apprecaite you trying to help me structure this in a more positive way.
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  11. Dinosaur
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    Yes try and keep most of the links within the subdomain itself with only a few back to the main domain. The same would apply for the main domain, keep most of the links there and only a few to the sub domains.

    I will say though its not the normal way of building a ecommerce site, personally I can see you struggling with rankings unless your going to do a ton of work on each subdomain.
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    Fantastic thread, thanks Chedders! I think I'll move it to our Search Engine Optimization section for more visibility.
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    Actually, there is a Matt Cutts video out there that contradicts some of this. His statement, just before he left his post as linkspam guru, was that Google doesn't care if you want to use subdomains or subdirectories.
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  17. Dinosaur
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    Yes I know the video and have watched it a few times, He is bending the truth in that one. He is also often miss quoted from that video in what he actually said.
    https://youtu.be/_MswMYk05tk

    He does not talk about how page rank is effected via the 2 options.
    But even in this video he does talk about the reasons for doing sub domains in the past was to get more results in search which they have now stopped so they are grouped by the main domain. So even if you had 1000 subdomains you would still only get 1 or 2 results showing for any given search.
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    Originally Posted by Chedders
    He does not talk about how page rank is effected via the 2 options.
    Yes, it certainly confused me as to how page rank was handled in sub domains..

    I often do use a single sub-domain with my clients. And since I am dominating the search market for my two largest clients, both in highly competitive fields, I can at least say I don't think it is harming them.

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