How Subdomains Affect SEO

A business’ subdomain can either be a source of revenue or frustration depending on how it is utilized by the owner. When implemented correctly for SEO, the company can benefit monetarily due to traffic, leads, and sales. But, if SEO is not done correctly for the subdomain, time and energy can be wasted on creating content that provides no benefit to the user or company.

There are misconceptions of the impact of subdomains on SEO, mostly due to a combination of both old information still circulating and Google’s cryptic attitude about algorithm changes. A subdomain doesn’t necessarily hurt SEO for your main domain, but it also doesn’t help it. That is, unless, the subdomain is used correctly, which depends on how it is structured.

In this blog post, we are discussing what subdomains are and how to implement them correctly to positively influence your website’s SEO.

Understanding the Purpose of Subdomains

Subdomains can be a great source of domain authority. They can be built with specific content in mind, as well as for more visibility due to targeting niche topics that a main domain might be unsuitable for.

Additionally, subdomains keep your main domain clean of too much clutter. This is done by focusing it under another related domain. Often, a related domain has a similar domain name as the parent domain, but it specifically describes the focus of the content within the website.

For example, Disney has a variety of subdomains that cater to different audiences, but the company’s main website is www.disney.com. The “www” before disney.com is the protocol of the URL. In fact, the www isn’t even necessary to complete a URL any longer. Those characters can be replaced with any word – or combination of characters – to create a subdomain of the domain.

Let’s use https://www.blog.codeauthority.com for example:

  • https://www is the URL’s protocol
  • .blog. is the subdomain
  • codeauthority is the domain name
  • .com - is the top-level domain

Furthermore, one of the subdomains of disney.com is princess.disney.com. Users can tell from the subdomain that this Disney website revolves around Disney princesses. So, you wouldn’t find information about other movies, such as Cars or The Incredibles, on the Disney princesses' subdomain because the characters in those Disney movies are not princesses.

Many enterprise-level businesses choose to use subdomains to keep from “confusing visitors with a completely different root domain,” as well as to “separate portions of [the] site that are extensive enough to warrant their own dedicated hierarchy."

Ultimately, the purpose of a subdomain is to provide audiences with content that is different from the rest of the website, yet is still important to relay to users. It helps audiences get to the content they are searching for without navigating through content that is not relevant to them.

How to Correctly Implement a Subdomain for SEO

Search engines do not view subdomains as a branch of your website. Thankfully, crawl bots see subdomains as individual websites unrelated to your predominant website – your domain. So, you have a competitive advantage if you understand how to correctly implement the subdomain for SEO.

Keyword research is a must for SEO. Just as with your domain, keyword implementation is important for your subdomains. Here at Code Authority, our SEO Analyst John spends a lot of time researching keywords that will optimize our clients’ websites. Some popular sites he uses for SEO keyword research include Google AdWords: Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and Ubersuggest.

Internal linking is an additional task you cannot skip if you have subdomains.

Digital marketing agency professionals advise that you embed links from your main site to your subdomains to establish hierarchy for the sites. According to FourFront, if your main website is ranking well, the result will be that “the subdomain will be indexed quickly and benefit from the main domain’s good standing.”

So, to structure your website appropriately for SEO functionality, you need to correctly establish applicable keyword placement within the HTML code for your business inside of the title tag, header tags, and meta description, as well as internally link your subdomains.

Concept Visualization

Here at Code Authority, web developers and clients alike ask us about how subdomains help SEO.

At Code Authority, we offer different services: custom software, digital marketing, mobile app development, etc. We have each service on different internal pages instead of subdomains.

In the case of Disney, their parent site is already massive in terms of content and data: they have TV, movies, videos, books, travel, shop, parks, etc. It makes sense for them to add a subdomain for princesses to reduce the amount of information on their parent site.

To put it simply: subdomains offer distinct content that is related to your main domain and implementing proper and relevant SEO keywords can help you set your subdomain apart from the competition.

Conclusion

Subdomains can positively impact the backlink of the parent domain that it receives from the subdomain if you set it up correctly. Keyword implementation is critical for getting your subdomain to rank high on search engine listings, which can improve your website’s traffic and, ultimately, you company’s revenue.

As a web development company, we are equipped to handle your digital needs. Code Authority can help your business with services including PPC management and other digital marketing tactics.

Plus, our SEO analyst, John, is an expert regarding all things SEO. To get in contact with John, or to schedule a free web development and digital marketing consultation, contact us today!