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Putting half your site in a subdomain. Is it cool?

Website uses subdomains for content management and considers implications



11:05 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We have a very large site with about 25,000 images. We currently rank very well for competitive terms, which means we are transferring alot of data to serve up the thousands of images in our catalog. Our infrastructure costs our becoming somewhat high, but we have found a host that would allow us to transfer image data at a very cheap price (the host looks reliable too.

If we setup a subdomain on a server located at the other host (so it will be on a different IP) and just use that to deliver the images, while keeping our main site directory in place on our existing infrastructure, will this affect our ranking. Things I am considering:

* 2 different IP's for content within the same site
* subdomains, and which exist on different servers
* many of our images are already indexed in Google's image search, so we would need to do a redirect.. Is a 302 cool for images or is a 301 required in this scenario too..

At a product level, we'll save hundreds each month, but obviously we need to consider the business implications if our ranking were to take a hit because of this move. THoughts? Thanks...


12:17 am on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I can see zero advantages in this move - and all the disadvantages you mention.

Don't even think about it.


4:12 am on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah i know it sounds risky... the "things to consider" list, is a list of potentially negative things that concern me.


4:43 am on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Why even consider it?

They are not potential risks, but very real ones (and there's more).

I see NO benefits at all. What inspired you to consider this sophisticated SEO suicide? :)


2:16 pm on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Dont do it!

One of the sites we operate is a very big authority data site. We have 9 sub domains on it that specialise in sectors. Those subs have high Page Rank and rank ok for their specific subdomain keyword and about 4 of them rank very well.

However, Its taken a long time to get to this position and now the subs are established its not something we want to reverse but following googles introduction of word association since BD we notice that if one of the subs contains a keyword from the main site google prefers to list that page over the dedicated page thats on the main site the net result being that the page doest rank well due to better optimised sites listing above it.

If we had our time over we wouldnt have set up specialist sub domains we would rather have kept them as part of the main site. I also think the search engines over all are hitting subs due to the abuse problems by spammers that set up zillions of them and use keyword-keyword-keyword-sub domain etc, so life span from here of a sub could be limited? The quaility ones set up as specialist sectors could get chucked out in the bathwater with the junk?.

Currently ive seen one large uk site set up a website that is just area sub domains. Zillions of them and many rank OK but certainly on the more competitive key areas they will struggle to gain good rank and its a matter of time before google hits multiple subs anyway imo - i class them as spamming so how long before google does?.

Overall, despite subs being popular with some webmasters if i were you i would keep your site as one. Not only can you keep PR within your site but its easier to get back links to your site rather than subs also, google will treat the sub like a new site and its likely you would lose rank imo untill it settles down which could take a couple of years!, at best google would view the change as a significant page change and hit the page position in the same way it does when you optimise a page on your site.

Your down side risks are massive - if you make this move you need to think about the cost saving V the cost to buy the same traffic should google hit you. As i say, in your position i for one wouldnt do it. Thats my two pennys worth anyway.


Sweet Cognac

2:32 pm on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

At this point in time google has dropped all my subdomains from the serps, so I wouldn't advise it.


3:01 pm on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have found any benefits of adding subdomains to an established site to be short lived at best. However I have have success with a site that was created with subdomains from day one. The theme is cityname.domain. The fact that it is using citynames may or may not be the reason. All other subdomains on my other sites have tended to see an intial bounce followed by a downward spiral. In one case I used a 301 from subdomain back to same content on main site and subs went supplemental and the content on main site recovered traffic quite nicely.


4:15 pm on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The negative focus seems to be on subdomain problems, but it appears to me all he wants is an image server. Does it even need a name? Certainly he can pull images in from the image server with a little coding/htaccess magic without affecting any existing links, yes?


5:20 pm on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I think there's more than that; he's concerned with Google's image search, and with redirecting.

If it were just an image server issue, I don't see a big problem, though I remain unclear about the advantages!


8:28 pm on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We moved all of our images (about 15,000) to a different server with a subdomain of images.* without any problems with G or G Images. Of course we left the existing images on the original domain for quite a while and duplicated additions to both sides. They've since taken up the images.* subdomain without any problems and we've removed the originals.


6:12 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I don't want the domain to be indexed (I could probably use a robots txt file for that).

I just need an image server where the data transfer costs are a fraction of what I am paying now), and the reason I was suggesting a sub domain is because the image server would be located somewhere else (another host, another IP, another city), so we would need to call up the images in our main domain on our existing server.

We'll probably lose Google image indexing, but I know if that will affect our site rank in SERPS, or just reduce the amount of traffic we receive (we get alot of traffic via the image search)

THanks for all the input on this!


7:31 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Every time I did something with 301, Google just reset the rank of that page/image to zero. It's not a question of a slow transfer of the rank to the new location - rather, nothing gets transferred at all. Might as well delete the file and give it a new name, not bothering with any redirects.

P.S. I should say that my 301's involved a change of domain name. May be Google won't be as drastic on 301's to a subdomain of the current one.

To Ride45: I am afraid you might still lose the rank on your images. I'd be very careful.


8:28 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

i know it's a different situation but all the images from WebmasterWorld are served from an entirely different 'domain' and have been for as long as i can remember.

... don't think it effects the rankings here.


8:52 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with ALbino regarding with how to use a new image server.

I serve several thousand images from one server to 100+ domains.

When I changed the image location I left all the original images where they were for several months and replaced them all with their new location.

Absolutely no problem with the SERPs however Google Images took a little while to catch up.

I just need an image server where the data transfer costs are a fraction of what I am paying now

I actually moved all my images to my broadband provider who gives me unlimited web site bandwidth and a few hundred meg of web space for free included in their standard package!

Gee, if they go down so does half of western Europe and some of the States I believe!


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