You may notice your URL changing when you navigate the internet. Sometimes, you will see a simple URL such as www.mysite.com. You might also see words like www.shop.mysite.com.
In this instance, the word “shop” is a subdomain. It's used to distinguish the websites.
This guide will explain what subdomains are and how to use them. It also discusses whether they have an impact on SEO.
What is a subdomain?
A subdomain is an additional URL string that separates and organizes content on a website.
A subdomain lets you separate areas of your site (e.g. a blog or store) from the main area of your website.
There are three parts to a URL.
1. Top-Level Domain, or TLD: This extension is at the end. Examples of TLDs are.com,.org, and.io.
2. Second-Level Domain (or SLD): This is the creative part of the domain. Neilpatel.com would be the second level domain.
3. Subdomain: In this case, any domain that is not “neilpatel” would be the subdomain. For example, you could go to app.neilpatel.com and the “app” part of the URL will take you to Ubersuggest, which is a keyword research tool. This would mean that “app” is the subdomain. It helps to separate the tool and the rest of the website.
This is used by many sites to create sections that are organized and easy to use.
You can see that Wikipedia uses subdomains to distinguish the languages on their site in the image above. Although subdomains serve many purposes, they are all intended to make the user's experience more enjoyable and quicker.
You now know the answer to the question “What is a Subdomain?” Let's find out how to create one.
How to Make a Subdomain
It is easy to learn how to create subdomains. This can be done through your web hosting provider.
Let's take HostGator for an example.
Step 1 – Login to your Account
First log in to your backend. Scroll down until you see the section for domains.
Step 2 – Create a subdomain
Enter the subdomain name and the domain to which you wish to attach it. As an example, I used a tennis website.
Step 3 – Update your DNS records
After you have created the subdomain you will need to add a domain name system record (or DNS) to your site. The changes will take between one hour and 24 hours to be updated on your site. Don't expect to get back in immediately.
Subdomain Vs. Subdirectory
It is important to understand the differences between subdomains and subdirectories. Here's an example of a Subdomain:
Here's an example of a subdirectory.
If you have a subdirectory, your URL will still be part of the main domain. It is a subdirectory of the main website and does not tell Google it is anything else.
Subdomains on the other hand want to be independent and ask Google to treat them like a distinct site.
Subdirectories always follow subdomains.
The main question in the subdomain vs.subdirectory debate is which one is better for SEO.
It is important to know that Google views a subdomain like a separate entity. This means that everything you do is not associated with the main website. Your primary domain's overall domain rating does not include links or content.
This can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on what your goal is.
It could be a good idea to do something totally different on your subdomain. This could damage the reputation of the parent site. It could be dangerous if your subdomain is closely related to the parent domain.
Subdomains are desirable because customer experience is one of the most important driving forces for businesses in this year. However, Mr. Google has made it clear:
While we do need to know how to crawl subdomains separately, it's a minor detail for the first few days.
John Mueller, Google
The difference between them is usually very minimal so it's better to focus on other things like mobile optimization and content audits.
What is the best time to use a subdomain on your website?
You now know the differences between subdomains, and subdirectories. Here's how to choose which one.
Disconnect from Your Main Website
Sometimes you may need to add content to your site or perform some other task, but not on the main page.
This is an excellent example.
We can see that the Nascar.com subdomain is used in the above image. If you consider the purpose of Nascar.com compared to a Nascar related e-commerce store, this makes sense.
Nascar.com aims to rank for timely news about drivers and races, while the shop targets people who are looking to purchase Nascar gear.
Although they may look similar, each URL serves a different purpose and should be treated as such for SEO purposes.
Google and consumers agree that the on-page experience is crucial. People will leave if your website isn't well-organized and difficult to navigate.
Subdomains allow you to organize your website by restricting the information it contains. It's not a good idea to have to go through hundreds of pages in order to find the answer you are looking for. Your customers deserve a great user experience. Subdomains and subdirectories are a great way to do that.
To Create Separate Websites by Language
You may need a subdomain if you have multiple companies operating in different countries.
The Wikipedia example I provided was just one of many. Many international brands also use this technique to improve their site organization and allow Google to concentrate on the correct language for their audience.
What are the reasons to not use a subdomain?
Subdomains should be avoided if you are using SEO to generate traffic to your website. Your brand should be cohesive, and this includes your website.
Keyword-rich content should be included on product and sales pages. Google won't take the link juice and keyword richness from your blog and pass it to your store if you treat your store as an independent site.
Google will not penalize you for these actions, but it will not benefit you.
As your main means of boosting your website's SEO, I believe the emphasis should be placed on creating high-quality and relevant content. Without subdomains, you can still arrange your site so that it works for everyone.
What are the SEO benefits of using a subdomain?
We've already discussed why subdomains shouldn’t be a main focus of SEO. But let's now discuss why they might be beneficial.
Enhance the On-Site Experience
Amazon Web Services conducted a massive UX study and found that 88% of online shoppers wouldn't return to a site if they had an unpleasant experience.
It's not surprising. You have so many choices to purchase and read any information you desire, why would anyone bother returning to a site they don't like?
This is our job, but we can also recreate the experience in-store online. What if you spent two hours in a store and couldn't find the product you wanted, and no one helped? Would you return to that store again?
Online, the same rules apply.
Boost Your Domain Authority
Domain authority is simply a rating that indicates how trustworthy you are to deliver the results searchers want. Higher ratings are awarded for sites that are older and more reliable.
Sites are automatically assigned a score when they're first created.
Your score will rise if you publish high-quality content and generate traffic to your site. Your score could drop if you use black-hat SEO techniques.
Linking between subdomains is a great way to increase domain authority.
You can, for example, create content on your blog with links to products in your store. As long as you don’t do it too often, this type of back-and-forth linking is good for SEO.
Brian Dean estimates that only 2.2% of content links to multiple websites. Therefore, every step counts.
Better Organization of Your Content
Although I have spoken a lot about content organization and user experience, it is important to understand why.
It's easier for people to find your content if it's organized. Google can also crawl it much faster if it is well-organized. This will help Google rank keywords faster and users will be able to navigate the site easily too.
You can include relevant keywords in your URL
John Mueller stated that keywords in URLs had very little to do ranking or user experience.
They can have a very negative effect, but it's more difficult to have a positive one.
However, keywords can be used to organize content and could improve your SEO. It not only makes your site easier to navigate, but also tells Google immediately what section of your website it is.
What are the SEO drawbacks of using a subdomain?
These are just a few of the negative effects subdomains can have on your site.
Subdomains can dilute your SEO
Here's an excellent analogy.
Two buckets are filled with water. When one bucket is full you can drink from the other. You can only drink from one bucket until the other is full.
Is it better to fill all buckets equally or concentrate on one bucket if you are dying from dehydration?
An unnecessary subdomain can spread your SEO efforts over two sites rather than focusing on one. It could take twice as many links and content to achieve the same results as if you only focused on one domain.
If you have a blog located on a subdomain, the consequences can be worse. Blogs are 97 percent more likely to get inbound links than companies without them. This means that instead of your main website benefiting, those links will only benefit your blog subdomain, leaving your primary URL unaffected.
External links are those that link to subdomains. SEO professionals will tell you that the most important ranking factor is internal linking.
Linking from a subdomain on a main page is not considered an internal link. Google could consider your site weak or thin if it does.
Google's Crawl Is a Little More Tougher
Jon Mueller stated that the algorithm must learn to crawl subdomains independently. However, this is not something that will last forever. Subdomains are an independent site so you will need to verify and track them in Search Console and Analytics.
Google may find it more difficult to crawl a site at the beginning, but they will hopefully be able to provide a better experience backend.
Commonly Asked Questions about the Impact of Subdomains On SEO
What are the SEO benefits of subdomains?
When used correctly, subdomains can enhance the user experience, increase domain authority if linking between them, and help you organize your content better.
How do I set up a subdomain.
Log in to your cPanel to find subdomains and create a name. Attach it to the primary domain to update your DNS. You can expect to wait for the changes to take effect for up to 24 hours.
What's the difference between subdomains & subfolders?
Subdomains are placed before the URL, while subfolders follow. Subdomains can be considered a totally different site than the primary URL, while subfolders can simply be new pages on the main website.
What are the disadvantages of subdomains?
One of the main problems is that you have to spread your SEO efforts across multiple websites. This makes internal linking more difficult. If you don't properly organize your content, it can make your site harder to crawl.
Conclusion: What is a subdomain?
You now know what a Subdomain is. What do you do? Are subdomains the right choice?
They have their place and time, but I recommend being cautious and only using them when absolutely necessary. This is a good ranking factor for SEO overall.
Instead, you should focus on organizing your website's content, creating a content calendar, and working towards improving your SEO.
What's your opinion about subdomains? Are they good or bad for SEO?
By: Neil Patel
Title: What is a Subdomain and How Does it Affect Your Site’s SEO?
Sourced From: neilpatel.com/blog/subdomain-seo/
Published Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2022 14:39:39 +0000