What are Subdomains, and How Do They Affect SEO

Establishing a foothold with your online business can be hard. You need to know every tip-and-trick in the book to help get a better SERP ranking. One of the ways in which you can improve your SEO score is by using a subdomain with your website.

A one-word answer will be “yes” – subdomains do benefit your SEO score. But not always! So when should you use a subdomain? And how does it benefit your search engine ranking?

Well, here we will be going through these questions in detail. But first:

What are Subdomains?

A subdomain is essentially a child domain name functioning as a part of a larger parent domain name.

For example, blog.xyz.com is a subdomain of the website xyz.com.

A subdomain basically comes under the domain name system hierarchy with respect to its parent domain. It is mostly used to create a separate yet memorable web address which deals with unique content, relevant to the parent website.

In our example, the main web684site xyz.com might be a service based website. The main site concerns about creating awareness about the product. Whereas, through the blog.xyz.com domain, the company keeps customers in the loop on all the latest information regarding their service.

When To Use Subdomains?

As stated earlier, subdomains are “used to create a separate yet memorable web address which addresses unique content relevant to the parent website.”

Here are a few examples which will help you understand when you should use a subdomain.

  • Providing Complimentary Services

As you might have heard, with the internet, content is king. Blogs featuring a lot of relevant content and pull in massive traffic. However, your main business might not be concerned with publishing content.

Therefore, you can keep your business and blog separate by using a subdomain. Furthermore, since blogs have a distinct UI, having a separate domain means there will be no clash between your site’s overall aesthetic and that of your blog.

Similarly, businesses can use a subdomain for their support page or forums. Here you need to leverage some different software, or maybe a different platform altogether. And so using a subdomain seems like a logical choice.

  • Creating Region/Location Specific Content

There is no need to get your UK customers confused about products/services you are only allowed to sell to US residents. So if you run a multi-national business then it makes sense to separate locations/regions using subdomains.

One awesome example would be Craigslist and how they separate regions with their own distinct subdomains.

  • Showcasing Different Product/Services

Having different products and services bundled up on a single website can make it confusing for your users. It might also hamper conversion rates.

Using different domain names allows you to niche out and put more focus on each product/service. This will also give the user a more relevant and distraction free browsing experience.

Benefits of Subdomain

Here are some of the ways in which subdomains help better your SEO game.

  • Entering Keywords into URLs.

The debate still goes on whether entering keywords into your URL can increase your SEO score. And although the answers are filled with “but”s, “if”s, and “maybe”s, it doesn’t cost to try.

However, forcing in keywords into certain URLs don’t always make perfect sense. And so we have subdomains to the rescue.

  • Improve User Experience

Google monitors the user experience while calculating your SEO score. Therefore it is always important to keep your customers happy.

Now, having a massive website with a lot of content can complicate the user experience. But, by using subdomains, you can easily break up the content into relevant factions to provide users with a more focused experience.

  • Establish Niche Authority

As discussed earlier, subdomains help you to niche out, and we all know it is simpler to gain authority is a smaller market compared to a larger one.

So by using multiple subdomains, you can start establishing authority in smaller markets which can compound to give you the organic traffic you worked for.

Drawbacks of Subdomain

Despite all these benefits, there can be some drawbacks to using subdomains for your website.

  • Slow Progress

A single domain gets more weight as all your content is accumulated in a single address. When you are dividing them into the main domain and a sub-domain, it will affect the rate of growth of your website(more specifically your brand).

Therefore you will need to populate both domains with more content which can take a lot of investment, either in the form of time or as money.

  • Not Useful If Not Done Right

As we mentioned, subdomains should be used for specific conditions like providing related but different services, catering to different geolocation demographics, and so on.

You will find in Google’s SEO report card that the search engine suggests using a single-site folder structure if you don’t have enough data that warrants a separate website.

  • The URL Might Become Long

Depending on the names of your domain and sub-domain, there might be cases when the URL of your subdomain gets extremely long. This will not cause issues with web crawlers or search engines, but normal users tend to associate long URLs with fishy websites. This can negatively impact your PR.

  • Diluted Branding

If you are selling or talking about unconnected products or services on your subdomain compared to your main domain, then it will result in diluted branding and won’t build a cohesive business structure.

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