Subdomain Used For Keywords in Domain Name?

13 replies
Hey Warriors,

Would google combine a subdomain name and domain name for keywords in a search or would it treat them completely separate? For example, If my keywords were "coca" "cola" and cocacola.com was not available but I instead bought cola.com and used coca as a subdomain so it was coca.cola.com. Would google give that more value than cola.com/coca? Would you be better off just finding a domain name that worked like mycocacola.com? Just adding a word to your domain to make sure you get both words in the main domain name?

Hopefully that makes sense. I have a feeling getting both keywords in the main domain will be given much more value than one as the subdomain but just curious to what everyone thinks.

Ps. I'm not actually trying to rank for the keywords coca cola. Just happen to be sipping from one as I wrote this :p
#domain #keywords #subdomain
  • Profile picture of the author BrianFL
    You know I've always been curious about this. I always assumed not from something I vaguely remember Matt Cutts saying about subdomains and how they were treated. He said a subdomain and subpage had no real difference to Google. Also, subdomains can be de-indexed while full domains are untouched to protect sites from user generated content.

    I just know that keyword rich URLs can outrank exact match domains, so it cautions a guess that by the same extension good optimization and a subdomain could do the same if Google treats them similarly.

    Here's something from Matt Cutts on Subdomains vs Subdirectories, although it's not quite what I remember. I think what I'm remembering is from a video. Subdomains and subdirectories

    Like I said, by extension and experience if subdirectories and subdomains are treated similarly and subdirectories can outrank EMDs, subdomain keywords may help.
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by BrianFL View Post

      He said a subdomain and subpage had no real difference to Google.
      Internally, search engines find it convenient to translate
      subdomain.domain.extension/folder/subfolder
      into
      extension/domain/subdomain/folder/subfolder
      because it improves query performance.

      Which means there is no internal difference between
      subdomain.domain.extension/folder/subfolder
      and
      domain.extension/subdomain/folder/subfolder
      at all.
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      "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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  • Profile picture of the author John K Glenn
    cola.com/coca Would be Given More Preference than coca.cola.com
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  • Profile picture of the author loi77
    IMHO, sub-domain does not have very significant value in terms of SEO.

    If an exact match domain is not available, use suffixes instead of sub-domains. Then at least you have all the keywords in your domain.

    Suffix is better then prefix because you have your keywords at the front for SEO purpose.
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  • Why not? Blogger blogs for instance are all on subdomains and can rank well anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianFL
    Well if Google didn't own Blogger I'd say that was a prime example. Wordpress blogs do as well however. I've never tried subdomains on my own sites but it's worth a test.
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  • Profile picture of the author JerrickYeoh
    sub folder keyword do not weight as much as the primary domain name keywords.
    And it mostly will interpreted separately which cola.com /cola.
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  • Profile picture of the author SiegerVinnare
    Thanks for all the great feedback guys. Definitely gives me some info to work off of. I guess maybe if its a big authority site then a subdomain will have a better chance at ranking well? Seems like as far as affiliate sites go, subdomains aren't very beneficial for seo purposes. Don't seem like they would be negative at all either though.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stevemartin619
    If you use keywords for sub directories then would be useful for SEO
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  • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
    I've used keyword subdomains in the past (less so these days) and they certainly can work, but it's rather difficult to ascertain what's best for SEO.

    I suppose it depends what you're looking at doing. And on the relevance of your actual root domain to your keyword, too. Clearly something like "about.com" has no intrinsic relevance to certain carbonated beverages, but couple "cola.com" with a "coca" subdomain and you've got something that's pretty targeted for "The Real Thing", albeit a bit clumsy.

    However, what you have to remember is that, in the end, the advantages of keyword domains is fairly minuscule anyway, whether you're using subdomains or separate domains, so I wouldn't get too caught up in trying to "super-target" everything. What really matters is your content and off-site SEO, your backlinks. Without a solid grounding in that respect, you'll not get far to begin with and almost unquestionably won't be sticking around for too long.

    For me, the major attraction of using separate domains is that each site becomes a self-contained asset capable of being sold individually at a later point in time, as and when the need or desire arises. And their separation might afford you some level of additional security in case of SEO penalties or algorithm shake-ups or what not. So depending on what you're looking at doing, I'd perhaps advise against building what's essentially a network of self-standing sites with subdomains under a single umbrella domain, just on that basis.

    (And yeah... avoid using trademarks in domains.)

    There's no clear-cut answer to most of these sorts of questions. And things change so quickly and abruptly on the SEO landscape that even hardcore SEO veterans struggle to give a definitive response. "Everything works" (sort of), and the merits or disadvantages of various technicalities can and will be debated until the end of time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    I almost exclusively use sub domains now. They are the win for me! Especially after the most recent updates, all my sites have risen even further in rankings.

    Also its good to note that a sub domain is treated like a completely separate site from the TLD.
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    • Profile picture of the author carlda
      So which of the following would be would be more useful; Please rank in terms of SEO

      newyork.massagecompany.com
      newyorkmassage.massagecompany.com
      newyork.massagecompany.com/newyorkmassage
      newyorkmassage.massagecompany.com/newyorkmassage
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  • Profile picture of the author Kukzee
    all of them will more useful carlda. It took me some time to digest what DireStraits has said but definitely, that is all into it.
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