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To subdomain or not to subdomain - that is my question

     

Munster

9:46 am on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Ok, so I look after an ecommerce site, or rather the ecommerce section of a large site. It has always been that the ecommerce section has been situated on a subdomain lets say shop.entertainment.com (didnt want to say widgets as the main home page is far more generic than that). Since my time as caretaker for this site I've always gad a niggling feeling that the ecommerce site would do better in Google if it was part of the main site instead of out on a randomly named subdomain, i.e. www.entertainment.com/product.

The main homepage regularly outperforms the subdomain for product related keywords particularly after the recent Vince update.

My question is, will there be a benefit in moving the ecommerce site away from the subdomain and into a /product/ folder I'm currently in two minds about it as the subdomain does have history and a good PR and number of backlinks, but I cant help thinking that this would be the best move in the long run.

Any thoughts/opinions would be greatfully received!

M

ganeshgrowth

1:39 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I folder is better. It will be considered part of the main domain. A sub-domain will be considered a different website by Search Engines.

Munster

1:45 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thats kinda what I figured but the subdomain has been established for 4 years and gets 10000 visits a day from G so I need to be totally sure!

Shaddows

3:07 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



If its established, I wouldn't dream of moving it. Seriously, don't.

Even if you were starting fresh, personally, I'd use a subdomain for radically different functions, though many here disagree. So, I might have the informational part on www.example.com, and then:
blog.example.com
forum.example.com
shop.example.com

Various googlers have stated that subdomains are now treated like folders anyway, but there are certainly exceptions to that generalisation.

The fact is, Google prefers information to commerce. If you have information and ecommerce that could rank for the same term, you will TEND to have the information rank higher.

You might improve the subdomain rankings by judiciously linking to relevant products in inline text from the main domain. These links sometimes have a little more power than pure internal links, depending on the 'weightiness' of the domain pushing them.

The final thing to say is, LINKS. Is your shop suffering from the normal ecommerce disease of lack of real, unsought links? I bet that it does, at least relative to the main domain. The power of links (in terms of PR, relevancy signalling and anchor text) cannot be overstated. The main domain will be harnessing more of this power than your subdomain gets. So, besides getting those inter-subdomain links, try getting more links fro the wider web- the Link Dev Forum Library [webmasterworld.com] is full of ideas

Munster

3:26 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I think the unsought links will always be the problem because people always tend to link to 'see their fantastic products at www.example.com' instead of products.example.com, this is one of my big reasons for considering the change

[edited by: tedster at 4:52 pm (utc) on July 9, 2009]
[edit reason] switch to example.com - it cannot be owned [/edit]

Shaddows

4:07 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Sure, but that will remain the problem. No one is going to start saying "over at www.example.com/products"

Remember, its pages that rank, not domains, subdomains or sites. You need to do something to EACH PAGE to make it rank better. As I say, the most expediant thing you can do is get some inline links from the page that currently ranks for each target word.

If you do move, I would do it in stages, and quadruple check your 301 rules. But with 10000 referals a day, I wouldn't move at all. It might take months to recover previous trafic levels after a move

ganeshgrowth

5:54 am on Jul 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Sure, but that will remain the problem. No one is going to start saying "over at www.example.com/products"

Shouldn't a 301 from products.example.com to example.com/products solve the problem.

tedster

7:00 am on Jul 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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



Sure, from a technical perspective. I think the comment is intended more from a human nature perspective.

Shaddows

8:34 am on Jul 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Sure, but that will remain the problem. No one is going to start saying "over at www.example.com/products"

Shouldn't a 301 from products.example.com to example.com/products solve the problem.

I don't think I was clear in my original post. The context I was commenting on was:
Shaddows
The final thing to say is, LINKS. Is your shop suffering from the normal ecommerce disease of lack of real, unsought links? I bet that it does, at least relative to the main domain.

Munster
I think the unsought links will always be the problem because people always tend to link to 'see their fantastic products at www.example.com' instead of products.example.com

Shaddows
Sure, but that will remain the problem. No one is going to start saying [b]"over at www.example.com/products"[*instead of 'see their fantastic products at www.example.com']
*added for clarity purposes

As such, the original problem remains- the bulk of unsought links will still point at the root domain, not the ecommerce folder, which is just as unhelpful as not pointing at the subdomain. A 301 will eventually capture all the power of the subdomains, but will not solve the underlying ranking issue

 

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