Q and A: SEO for main domains vs sub-domains

Question

Hi Kalena,

Hope you are doing great. I have a question regarding the importance of domain and subdomain in SEO. Should there be any difference in SEO approach while doing SEO of a sub domain and a main domain. If yes, what’s that? Also, I have noticed that the probability of a sub domain to get ranked over top SERP on competitive keywords is quite low. I have not seen many sub domains in top 10 search results. So my second question is, if I have a website with main domain and other is with sub domain and I put same efforts on both websites. Will they rank same or main domain will have additional advantage?

Regards, Manish

Hi Manish,

As you are probably aware, in recent years it has become more difficult to dominate SERPs with a single domain.  In the “good old days” it was possible to have multiple listings on page 1 (sometimes even 10), but these days this is (more or less) restricted to a maximum of 2 listings for the one domain.  It is widely accepted that this restriction also applies to subdomains – i.e. you can only have 2 listings for the same root domain – whether or not they include subdomains – However, I have seen plenty of cases where this is not the case (see example below).

I agree that subdomains don’t seem to show up as often in SERPs – but I believe that this is largely because they aren’t as widely used, and (more importantly) aren’t as widely linked to or as well optimised.

If a main domain and a subdomain have the same quality content, use the same optimisation strategies and have a similar backlink profile, I would expect them to achieve similar rankings.

And here is some evidence which I believe supports this – Try this Google query for the phrase “all aces gold coast” and you will hopefully (in these days of personalized SERPs) get results that show four separate page one listings the same  domain.

I rest my case…

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

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Q and A: Does a longer domain registration period affect ranking?

QuestionHi Kalena

I was just wondering, does a longer URL registration period have a positive effect on a site’s search engine ranking?

Thanks,

Louisa

Hi Louisa

Google has confirmed in the past that both domain age and ownership history may impact the way a site is handled by the algorithm, albeit slightly. But what you’re asking is whether registering a domain for a longer period of time makes a difference to the site’s ranking?

I haven’t researched this for other search engines, but I recall that a couple of people have asked this question in the Google Webmaster forum in the past.

Google staff member John Mu responded that the length of a domain’s registration period does NOT impact how Google ranks the site. As he states, many registrars don’t publish expiration details and so if Google can’t adequately determine when a site expires, they can’t compare it to other sites so they don’t include that as a ranking factor. Besides which, a registration period for a domain doesn’t reveal much about a site.

The content on the domain is much more important from a search engine perspective than how many years it has been registered for.

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Q and A: Is one version of a domain going to rank better than a slightly different version?

QuestionHi Kalena

Is thefreerelaxationcd.com going to come up as often in the search rankings as freerelaxationcd.com?

Kvaud

Hi Kvaud

Why would the addition of the word “the” into your domain make any difference to rankings? What makes the difference for one site ranking against another in the SERPs is the content on the site, how well it’s optimized for the search query, the number of incoming links it has, the age of the domain and many, many other factors.

The addition or subtraction of a keyword from the domain has very little, if any, impact on the site’s ultimate ranking. You might want to review my other posts about domains and SEO to clarify things.

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Q and A: Where can I find domain name registration information?

QuestionDear Kalena

I am looking for a listing of all registered domain names. I have on and off searched Google but to no avail. I know it does exist. May be you can help and send me a link to that directory? In fact, I did run into it about a year back but at the time I did not put it in my favorites. I guess I should have? Thank you in advance for your help.

Thank you,
Eskay

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Hi Eskay

I’m guessing what you’re looking for is a site that automatically locates the registration details and/or availability of a particular domain name and returns all available data in a viewable format? That’s commonly known as a WhoIs Lookup.

There are scores of these that you can use. My personal favs are: Mark Monitor’s Allwhois and Dotster’s WhoIs Lookup.

cheers
Kalena

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Q and A: How do I swap the content of two different websites?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I have a question which I am asking all people. I have people here who are trying to manage 2 websites – one is a dot com (.com) and the other a dot info (.info).

For some reason they decided that they like .info site better, so, they want to switch the websites. Simply to say, they want to move whole .info site to .com domain… and .com site move to .info. I am trying to explain them that they can kill all SEO efforts on both websites by doing this.

Am I right?

Sergey

Dear Sergey

As a general rule, dot com (.com) names tend to have a little more trust than dot info (.info) domain names, so the short-answer would be – “Yes, this would have an impact on their SEO efforts and if anything, they should stick with the .com as their main site”.

If you were simply moving to a fresh new domain name, you could use 301 redirects to ensure you pass all the previous PageRank and link value to the new site and all would be good, but as you want to swap sites, this makes things a little trickier.

You can get around some of these issues by using different page naming conventions between the two sites. For example, if the “About Us” page on the .info site is called /about-us.htm then try naming the page /about_us.htm (or about.htm or AboutUs.htm) on the .com site.

This way, if a visitor tries to go to the page named /about_us.htm on the .info site, you’ll know they should really be accessing the .com site and a 301 redirect can be used to achieve this.

However there would still be some issues transferring the rank for each of the homepages.

The ideal situation would be to consolidate the two websites. Use the .com as the main one and then redirect the .info to .com. That way you get all the link value from the .info name PLUS the existing value already held by the .com.

If there needs to be two websites, then stick with the .com as the main one and keep the .info as is.

Hope this helps.

Peter Newsome
SiteMost

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