Sub-Domains & Google Rank

15 replies
In order to save a little money, I decided to go with sub-domains. I bought a generic sounding domain and use it for niche blogs. I plan on having a lot of niche blogs.

My question is whether sub-domains rank as well on google? My thinking was the niche name is also a high ranking keyword. So each blog address is: www(dot)keywordblogname(dot)domainname(dot)com. The other part of this is that I can have a keywordblogname that I could not have as a domain name since they are rarely available.

Any input is appreciated.
#domain names #google #google rank #keyword #rank #sub-domains #subdomains
  • Profile picture of the author Scott Million
    Better to use subfolders if you can.


    So,

    www.productreviews.com/energyreviews
    www.productreviews.com/weightlossreviews

    vs.

    energyreviews.productreviews.com
    weightlossreviews.productreviews.com

    I've asked this question before...I forgot why, lol, but I remember it was a good reason (SEO benefit was one)
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  • Profile picture of the author RobinSkeen
    Scott,

    The way you have it makes sense because your domain is a keyword. My domain is generic though it does have the word blogging in it. Hmmm.
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    • Profile picture of the author dmderoeck
      Sub-domains are quick, easy and cheap. That may be one of the reasons SE's weigh them less, that's a theory anyway. Another negative is your putting all your eggs in one basket. If G decides to de-index you, there goes your entire domain.

      I agree with Scott, sub-directories are probably more SE-friendly.

      I like your reasoning behind using sub-domains, I use them myself for "testing the waters". If they show signs of profitability, I get a domain and promote it to the tilt.
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      • Profile picture of the author RobinSkeen
        Originally Posted by dmderoeck View Post

        If G decides to de-index you, there goes your entire domain.

        Yikes. That is definitely something that had not occurred to me. More to think about. Thanks.
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        • Profile picture of the author Bob Monie
          Originally Posted by RobinSkeen View Post

          Yikes. That is definitely something that had not occurred to me. More to think about. Thanks.
          Your main domain will never get penalized if you never link down.
          Linking down means linking from the main domain to the sub domains. Only ever link up (from sub domains to main domain).

          People have tested this and its proven, if the main domain has no association to the sub domains it will not be penalized for subdomains that get banned for blackhat.

          E.g. wordpress.com doesnt get penalized when the blog on the subdomain blackhat.wordpress.com gets banned from the serps.

          Usually subdomains are sharing the same IP address in your hosting. So if one blog gets banned the rest usually will aswell.

          If you follow the rules you shouldnt have a problem anyways.

          I use subdomains but never more than 10 per domain.
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  • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
    Subdomains, with a few exceptions, are treated as entirely different domains by Google. They don't inherit PR or authority from the top level domain. About the only time they would all get penalized together would be if there was an obvious linking scheme being used (something that used to be popular with blackhatters). The subdomains are also considered separate in how they rank for keywords.

    Subdirectories are treated as part of the same domain. PR trickles down as does authority for domain age and other factors.

    The primary difference is in how Google establishes authority for a keyword both in terms of search placement and Adsense relevance. Basically, if your product mix is related, you would do better with subdirectories but if your product mix is diverse then subdomains are a better choice.
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    • Profile picture of the author Simon_Sezs
      Originally Posted by bgmacaw View Post

      Subdomains, with a few exceptions, are treated as entirely different domains by Google. They don't inherit PR or authority from the top level domain. About the only time they would all get penalized together would be if there was an obvious linking scheme being used (something that used to be popular with blackhatters). The subdomains are also considered separate in how they rank for keywords.

      Subdirectories are treated as part of the same domain. PR trickles down as does authority for domain age and other factors.

      The primary difference is in how Google establishes authority for a keyword both in terms of search placement and Adsense relevance. Basically, if your product mix is related, you would do better with subdirectories but if your product mix is diverse then subdomains are a better choice.
      Spot on. I do subdomains alot when I am setting up a silo structure. In the end, it really depends on your preference. I have found that there is a cap in how many subdomains you can use before google starts to penalize you though.
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      • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
        Originally Posted by Simon_Sezs View Post

        I have found that there is a cap in how many subdomains you can use before google starts to penalize you though.
        Unless your domain name is something like Blogger, Wikipedia, About, Yahoo, WordPress, etc.
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      • Profile picture of the author pink sapphire
        Originally Posted by Simon_Sezs View Post

        I have found that there is a cap in how many subdomains you can use before google starts to penalize you though.
        Do you know how many that is (roughly)?
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        • Profile picture of the author psresearch
          Originally Posted by pink sapphire View Post

          Do you know how many that is (roughly)?
          I think that would depend on the why the subdomain is being used - for example if you're translating into 38 different languages and had a different subdomain for that I would be surprised if Google complained.

          Matt Cutts has a good discussion here:
          Subfolders or Subdomains

          One of the sites I'm a partner in has over 10,000 subdomains (its actually a double-subdomain system) and Google is fine with it because it's obvious that there's a good reason for the site being set up that way.

          I think the person who brought up the fact that you could lose your whole site is dead-on. So I would factor that into your decision of how many subdomains to use.

          Personally, I try to stick to five on smaller sites for that very reason.
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          • Profile picture of the author RobinSkeen
            Originally Posted by markquinn View Post

            Personally, I try to stick to five on smaller sites for that very reason.

            I'm still a little unclear Mark. I already have about 20 subdomains on this particular site. The site is pretty generic with the name. The subdomains are the keyword.domain.com. These are all niche blogs. Do you think I can still get in trouble with this?

            I have another top level domain that's generic that I plan on using as niche stores or sales pages with no thought on limiting the number. They will all be different.

            Still new at the subdomain thing and I don't want to have to come back and do it all over again if I mess it up! Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author RobinSkeen
    My blogs are very diverse although there are some related niches. Should I NOT link from one blog to another in related niches? I have done that in a couple of places, but don't want penalized for it.
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    • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
      Originally Posted by RobinSkeen View Post

      My blogs are very diverse although there are some related niches. Should I NOT link from one blog to another in related niches? I have done that in a couple of places, but don't want penalized for it.
      To use Google-speak, would the reason for having the link be clear to a reasonable person or would this link exist if there was not a SEO benefit?

      I would suggest keeping the links to a minimum as in no more than one link back to the top level domain per subdomain and only a small number of very relevant links between subdomains.

      Now, if you're using subdirectories, you can have as many links as you want for the most part because they're all considered to be internal links, not external links.
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  • Profile picture of the author pink sapphire
    Thanks Mark - good points.
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  • Profile picture of the author RobinSkeen
    Thanks for explaining Bob. Makes sense.
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