Exact match domain; Local -vs- National? ... And do Subdomains work for SEO?

by Toby A
4 replies
  • SEO
  • |
Hi folks,
I am currently buying domain names for some website ideas. My initial idea was to rank in a niche in my local [cityname], using exact match domains.

However, when looking at the domains, I find that domains that include [cityname] are much longer and start to look a bit weird (or perhaps too old school).

I know that if I focus on my local city only, I have a better chance of ranking in [cityname]. Though I keep thinking about the potential of ranking nationally (without city name), as I don't want to undermine my ability to expand the site to other cities (going national) if it takes off.

Q1: When trying to rank No.1 for each city, is it best to use an exact match domain including city name, or exclude city name and just use a web page for each city?

Example:
rent-a-chainsaw-cityname.com
rent-a-chainsaw.com/cityname

Q2: In ranking / SEO terms, how effective are Subdomains compared with the two example above?

cityname.rent-a-chainsaw.com

Apologies if I am missing something basic in modern SEO-lore, the bulk of my SEO knowledge is pre-Penguin (pre-April 2012).

Thanks for reading
#domain #exact #local #match #national #seo #subdomains #work
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  • Profile picture of the author Elijah G
    To my knowledge exact match domains have less weight than they used to. but it may still be worth having.

    But to me having each city as a sub directory sounds better because you can get more links and domain authority and stuff to your main domain. Vs Each city being its own domain they will all have low authority.

    And you still have partial exact match domain anyway.

    But hopefully someone else can be more helpful lol I'm not exactly a guru.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    These days, the words in a domain name have zero direct influence on your ranking in Google. You may pick up a slight benefit when people use that domain name as anchor text in backlinks you might earn.

    All other things being equal, cat.com has the same chance of ranking for dog-related stuff as dog.com on Google.

    As far as the second part of your question goes, subdomains are treated as separate websites, so any authority you get from the main domain IS NOT going to pass through to the subdomains (boston.mywebsite.com). That authority WOULD pass through to a subdirectory (mywebsite.com/boston).
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    • Profile picture of the author Toby A
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      These days, the words in a domain name have zero direct influence on your ranking in Google. You may pick up a slight benefit when people use that domain name as anchor text in backlinks you might earn.

      All other things being equal, cat.com has the same chance of ranking for dog-related stuff as dog.com on Google.

      As far as the second part of your question goes, subdomains are treated as separate websites, so any authority you get from the main domain IS NOT going to pass through to the subdomains (boston.mywebsite.com). That authority WOULD pass through to a subdirectory (mywebsite.com/boston).
      Hey, thanks guys, especially for reminding me about the authority added to a domain for using directories instead of subdomains.

      I am now thinking that I may decide to do both, as I wish to use mini-sites to promote local businesses, in which I would use a subdomain cityname.rentachainsaw.com along with some other micro-sites using normal domains.

      And... I could use the same domain used in the subdomain rentachainsaw.com as a main website for the whole nation, and have a web page for the cityname with similar info (and same contact details) used on the subdomain.

      Do you think this use of both systems could cause some kind of problem?

      Thanks for reading
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  • Profile picture of the author smkghosh
    I think it is better to create subpages for each cities you want to rank to improve in local SEO.It should refelct information about the specific facilities/services available in the city.
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