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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Subdomains and SEO
    I am curious about subdomains. I recently set up a subdomain for the first time and I wonder how search engines view them.

    This weekend I downloaded phpSiteMap to create a Google sitemap. I have never worked with this tool before so I don't know much about it. It created a sitemap for the main domain without any problems (pages are dynamically created with a template and database). However for the subdomain it didn't dynamically create the pages from the database.


    Anyone know if subdomains show up in the search engines the same way as the main domain?


    Thanks,
    Bettylou

  2. #2
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    To answer your question. From my experience, a subdomain ranks just as well, all other things being equal.

    Rather than a subdomain, just register a new domain name ($8/yr at godaddy w coupon) and add the domain into a subfolder if your hosting allows add-on domains. This way it is a much easier type-in and takes on more of its own identity. It will redirect as if it were not an add-on domain and your search rankings will be just as good as if it were hosted by itself. I recently took an existing domain and added to another hosting account as an "add on domain" hosted in a subfolder. My rankings were not affected one bit. (Actually they improved - I am guessing because I had to make some changes in many of my pages).
    This World is Not My Home
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador newestuser's Avatar
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    all those blog sites use subdomains,and I seem to get those results on a lot of searches. My guess is that it'd work as good as the original. It'd be cool if you had a domain like stuff.com, and you could have clothes.stuff.com, tickets.stuff.com and so on.

  4. #4
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    Search engines generally view subdomains as separate sites. However, Google's Matt Cutts recently announced that they are going to start treating them as part of the main domain, just like they do subdirectories.

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/subdom...ubdirectories/
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  5. #5
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Evangelist
    Search engines generally view subdomains as separate sites. However, Google's Matt Cutts recently announced that they are going to start treating them as part of the main domain, just like they do subdirectories.

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/subdom...ubdirectories/
    So will "Add On Domains", such as those added to a shared account like Host Gator suffer in rankings? For example, I have addonsite.com sitting in a subdirectory of mainsite.com so an addonsite.mainsite.com AND addonsite.com both go to the same home page of my addonsite.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  6. #6
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesehead
    So will "Add On Domains", such as those added to a shared account like Host Gator suffer in rankings? For example, I have addonsite.com sitting in a subdirectory of mainsite.com so an addonsite.mainsite.com AND addonsite.com both go to the same home page of my addonsite.
    I don't think that is the case. How would Google know the difference between an add on domain and a main domain? (It isn't like you are promoting addonsite.mainsite.com are you?) If Google did that, then ALL domains on a shared server would be treated as one site and that just doesn't seem very logical.

  7. #7
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostdeviant
    I don't think that is the case. How would Google know the difference between an add on domain and a main domain? (It isn't like you are promoting addonsite.mainsite.com are you?) If Google did that, then ALL domains on a shared server would be treated as one site and that just doesn't seem very logical.
    Thanks. What you say makes sense. From the blog post, it almost sounds like this has been in effect for a few months.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  8. #8
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    You can run into real problems with the search engines if they index the same site under two different URLs, That's called a mirror site and the major search engines penalize those sites. This is a common problem. Usually the search engines will pick one and penalize the others, but they don't always pick the right one. You really add to the confusion if you are promoting both versions.

    The same site should never show up under both addonsite.mainsite.com AND addonsite.com.

    Read the search engine guidelines for each of the major search engines. The links can be found here:

    Search Engine Guidelines

    Google: Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

    Yahoo: Unwanted -- multiple sites or pages offering substantially the same content
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  9. #9
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    I just checked. My host has a redirect set up so addonsite.mainsite.com redirects to addonsite.com and furthermore addonsite.mainsite.com is not showing up when doing a search. I have also set up a redirect in my .htaccess file to redirect all http://domain requests to http://www.domain - many feel this is an issue related to your point as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Evangelist
    You can run into real problems with the search engines if they index the same site under two different URLs, That's called a mirror site and the major search engines penalize those sites. This is a common problem. Usually the search engines will pick one and penalize the others, but they don't always pick the right one. You really add to the confusion if you are promoting both versions.

    The same site should never show up under both addonsite.mainsite.com AND addonsite.com.

    Read the search engine guidelines for each of the major search engines. The links can be found here:

    Search Engine Guidelines

    Google: Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

    Yahoo: Unwanted -- multiple sites or pages offering substantially the same content
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  10. #10
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    That's the way it should be done. Just make sure that both are generating 301 status codes when they do the redirection.

    A 301 status code tells search engine spiders that a change is permanent, which prevents double indexing of the site.

    You can check the status code by pasting a URL that is being redirected to another URL in the box on this page.

    http://web-sniffer.net/

    You are on the right track.
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  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    I apologize. I meant to refer to it as an add-on domain. That is how I have it set up. This is my first time doing this rather than buying a new hosting account. I am concerned since it set it up as a folder on my main site. I didn't know if it would be indexed as a subdirectory.

  12. #12
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Tech Evangelist, thanks for the link checker. The subdomain format redirected with a 301 code and also the redirect I set up did so as well.

    bettylou, I had the same concern you did. But the add-on domain will not be a problem if you are using HostGator. I would imagine another hosting service would not be a problem either. To verify, use the tool Tech Evangelist posted a link for.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

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