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subdomains and pagerank

5:11 pm on Nov 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 18, 2002
posts: 143
votes: 0

The last pagerank update lowered my longstanding PR6 site to a PR5. For years, I've hosted swf files on my domain and embedded them in my html pages. I kept all these files in one directory and excluded that directory in the robots.txt file.

Several months ago, I got the bright idea to move those files over to a new server/new domain to help with load balancing and to be able to monitor hotlinking more easily. When I made this change, I encrypted the javascript code for the 'swf embed code' thinking that Googlebot couldn't read it. Instead of having to scour raw log files, I could just look at the new domain's AWSTATS referrals and see who was linking directly to a swf and move that file - it made my life sooooooooooooooo much easier.

Last month I noticed Googlebot trying to spider the swf's domain. Googlebot is blocked in the swfs domain's robots.txt file. This tells me that Googlebot can read the encrypted javascript code. That would imply that all my pages on my main domain now leak pagerank to a different domain. Googlebot doesn't see a link back to the main domain because it's blocked from reading the swf file.

My questions are:
- Can I create a subdomain for example.com and point that subdomain to a different IP address on a different server?

- If so, would I have been better off if I created a subdomain of my original domain and pointed it to server 2 instead of using a totally different domain name? ie swfs.example.com

- How does google look at subdomains? Are they still part of the main domain or are they considered a totally different domain? If I still block the subdomain with robots.txt, will there still be a PR leak from example.com?

5:31 pm on Nov 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:May 26, 2000
votes: 0

Subdomains are something of an "in-between" creature, and about a year ago Google shifted some of their treatment of subdomains to lower the chances of any one domain dominating search results - see our discussion [webmasterworld.com] from back then.

Certainly it is technically possible to assign a separate IP address to any subdomain/hostname - even any given directory. It won't have an affect on Google search results, but if it makes your tracking or load-balancing easieer to handle, you can do it.

Note that PageRank is assigned to the url, not to the "site". Even urls that are blocked by robots.txt and not spidered for that reason can still accumulate PageRank through backlinks. Once in a while they even show up is search results but as "url only" (that is, no title or snippet taken from the page's source, since spidering is blocked.)


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