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


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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