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Subdomain or Subdirectory?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by spydj, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. spydj

    spydj Registered Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I am not sure if this is the right place to ask my question, but i hope so :)

    First of all: I am a total noob to SEO.

    Now to my question: I have build a very nice blog around a specific niche and i am promoting CB products there (its a kind of review site).
    I am about to purchase a domain now, but i was wondering if i should buy a domain name that is related to my niche or if i could buy a general domain name like "topreviews.com" and than simply add subdomains for every niche. In Example: hosting.topreviews.com, onlinestreams.topreviews.com and so on... Or should i use the main domain+subdirs for every niche? In Example: topreviews.com/hosting and topreviews.com/onlinestreams...


    Whats the better option to quickly get indexed by google?

    -niche related domain?
    -general domain + subdomains?
    -general domain + subdirs?

    Personally i would like the option to just buy a general domain, because that way i don´t have to purchase a new domain for every niche blog i am building, but i am worried that it may affects the search engine rank and the time it takes to get indexed?

    What would you suggest me?

    I hope you guys understand what i am trying to ask, since my English is very weak, but i have tried to write it as clear and correct as possible.
     
  2. Djingel

    Djingel Junior Member

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    - For the sections you can provide enough content, use subdomains
    - For the smaller sections use subdirs

    (This also depends heavily on your keyword research, try to interpreted the results of that in order to make a decision)

    It's rarely all white or black, most of the time a good mix is the best you can do ;-)
     
  3. spydj

    spydj Registered Member

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    Thanks for the quick answers!

    So if i got this right: Its not necessary to buy a domain that is related to my niche? I will be fine using a general domain + subdomains and/or subdirs?
     
  4. Djingel

    Djingel Junior Member

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  5. spydj

    spydj Registered Member

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    Ok I got it. A last questions: if i plan to do reviews of total different things. In example: Hosting reviews, movie download reviews and auto reviews, could i simply use a reviews.com and than do reviews.com/auto/bmw, reviews.com/hosting/hostgator, reviews.com/streaming/graboid etc.?

    Thanks for your help man i realy appreciate it.
     
  6. magpie2419

    magpie2419 Regular Member

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    I always try to get a new domain TLD with my main keyword in it, that seems to work for me. I seem to get better rankings with a keyword in my domain name. You can Buy a .com for 8.5 $ . So its a negligible cost.
     
  7. magpie2419

    magpie2419 Regular Member

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    This is an interesting short article that explains it better than me :)




    KeyWords in a Domain Name

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]by Robert Skelton, IDE,
    July 2003
    [/FONT]
    Do search engines care?

    Of course they do. Think of all the things you can easily do to tweak your ranking once Google has indexed your site, a few other sites have linked to it, and it is listed in Open Directory. Want to change a paragraph of text, or a page title? Dead easy. Change the background color, the font? Done.
    The hardest to change is your domain name. A domain name is as close to a commitment you will ever get from a webmaster. Everything starts with the domain name, and the words you choose for it are important to you, and they reflect either the name of your site, or its topic. Search engines know this, and they give weight to the words in your domain name.
    Keywords or Brand Names?

    If your business already has a real world presence, you should normally continue using the same name. If it is a new, internet-only business, you have to choose between a brand name and a keyword name. Brett Tabke has been advocating brand names, and says that domain names should be...
    "Easily brandable. You want "google.com" and not "mykeyword.com". Keyword domains are out - branding and name recognition are in - big time in. The value of keywords in a domain name have never been less to se's. Learn the lesson of "goto.com" becomes "Overture.com" and why they did it. It's one of the powerful gut check calls I've ever seen on the internet. That took resolve and nerve to blow away several years of branding. (that's a whole 'nuther article, but learn the lesson as it applies to all of us)."
    "26steps to 15k a Day"
    http://www.searchengineworld.com/misc/guide.htm
    Well, I have problems with Brett's argument...
    1) He runs some hugely popular websites: searchengineworld.com and webmasterworld.com. He could change them to tabke.com tomorrow and get away with it, but that's different from trying to get started from scratch as tabke.com
    2) Overture got to where they are today as goto.com. If they had started as overture.com, it would've confused visitors, because it sounds like a classical music site.
    3) Google is a freak - it should never be used as an example to follow. For every freak like Google and Apple there is a Microsoft and IBM - brand names that describe a product, before search engines even existed.
    4) Unless your site is unique and wonderful in the extreme, a made-up brand name won't be much use without a large advertising campaign.
    Brand names look great in retrospect, when you have a zillion visitors. But they are much harder to get quick results from.
    I'm not against brand names if you have the marketing budget. And I don't mind a mix of the two either, like Burger King, Pizza Hut and Red Lobster.





    Hyphens or not?

    For SEO purposes, a hyphen is only advantageous if searchers inlcude the hyphen between their keywords when they search. So for hyphenated surnames, or words that are often hyphenated, it's the way to go. Otherwise don't use them. A strong case against them is the difficulty in saying the domain name. It is far easier to say "bluewidget (all one word) dot com" than "blue hyphen widget dot com". The second way will often get a response like "so it's b l u e h y p...." or "what is a hyphen". Computer novices tend to have problems sorting out the difference between a dash, a hyphen, underscore, and a slash.
    To put it another way, try thinking of a famous website that uses a hyphen!
    And while I'm knocking hyphens, keep in mind that web surfers keep on maturing. With time they will learn that URLs looking like buy-cd-cheap-cd-now.com are not worth visiting, because they tend to have no original content or products, and more often than not will bombard you with pop-ups.

    Where's the Evidence?

    Unless you launch two identical sites, and get the same links to them and the only difference is the domain name, it is an impossible thing to 100% prove the value of keywords in domains (such is the nature of the SEO business). And even if you did, Google would penalize one of them for having duplicate content.
    I know just from scrolling through SERPs (search engine results pages) every day that there is a tendency for keyword optimized domain names to do well. Seeing as no-one else seems to have done it, I decided to try and find some evidence....

    Evidence #1

    I wasn't feeling particularly inspired so searched for "search" in the Google Directory. Why Google Directory? Because is evens the playing field a little (usually you get a PR4 just for being listed) and it shouldn't have too many fly-by-night cloaked or spammy sites in the results.
    What site should come up first for "search"? Google, Yahoo, MSN, AltaVista?
    Results:
    1. Search.com
    2. Yahoo
    3. AltaVista
    4. Google
    5. Lycos
    6. AlltheWeb
    7. Search Engine Watch
    8. WebCrawler
    9. MSN Search
    10. DogPile
    11. Northern Light
    12. AOL Search
    13. Open Directory
    14. FreeFind
    15. MSN.com
    16. FamilySearch.org
    17. Google Groups
    18. AOL
    19. About
    20. Netscape Search
    Ok, then, how about "search engine"
    1. AltaVista
    2. Google
    3. Lycos
    4. Yahoo
    5. Excite
    6. AlltheWeb
    7. WebCrawler
    8. DogPile
    9. Search Engine Watch
    10. Northern Light
    11. FreeFind
    12. Yahooligans
    13. Search Engine Colussus
    14. Teoma
    15. Search.com
    16. Search Engine Guide
    17. Search Engine Showdown
    18. IxQuick
    19. Education World
    20. Mamma

    • Search.com gets an undeserved #1 position in the first search, but it drop to #15 when it's domain name is less of a match with the search query.
    • MSN Search, AOL Search, FamilySearch.org and Netscape Search all do better in the first search, because they have the keyword "search" in their domain.
    • Search Engine Colossus, Search Engine Guide and Search Engine Showdown all do better in the second search, because they have a closer match to the keywords in their domain name.
    • Search Engine Watch was the only site to buck the trend, and only by a couple of positions.

    Evidence #2

    Widget is a much loved and used word in the SEO world. And seeing as it is something you can sell, the results should be devoid of spam. These are the top 20 results for a Google web search for "widget":
    Code:
    1.  [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widget[/URL].co.uk
     2. [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widget[/URL].com
     3. search.netscape.com
      4. [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widget[/URL]sworld.co.uk
     5. archive.ncsa.uiuc.edu/SDG/Software/ Mosaic/Docs/htmlwidget.html
      6. [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidgetwidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widgetwidget[/URL].com
     7. [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widget[/URL]supply.com
     8. [URL="http://www.gizmoand/"]www.gizmoand[/URL]widget.com
      9. [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widget[/URL]racing.com
     10. [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widget[/URL]inc.com
     11. [URL="http://www.dina.dk/%7Eabraham/custom"]www.dina.dk/~abraham/custom[/URL]
      12. helm.cs.unibo.it/mml-widget
     13. [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widget[/URL].de
     14. [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widget[/URL].fr
      15. [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widget[/URL].nl
     16. hs.widget.de
     17. [URL="http://www.%3Cb%3Ewidget%3C/b%3E"]www.widget[/URL].com.au/?sortby=1
      18. koala.ilog.fr/jml/widgets/canvas.html 
     19. [URL="http://www.gtk.org/"]www.gtk.org[/URL]
     20.  [URL="http://www.xs4all.nl/%7Eripley/XmHTML"]www.xs4all.nl/~ripley/XmHTML[/URL]
    
    3rd Party Thoughts?

    Is Your Domain Name Optimized?
    By Andy Beal, Vice President of ProRanking.com
    http://www.searchengineguide.com/beal/2002/0404_ab1.html
    "...However, Joe should also register a domain name that contains keywords that relate to the products he sells.
    By having keywords in a domain name, Joe will do a lot more to help his site rank higher on the search engines than using his own name alone. What Joe needs to do is also register "plasticwidgets.com" or "plastic-widgets.com" and have those domain names point to the same site. A domain name with keywords embedded will do wonders, not only in achieving higher positioning on the search engines, but also in becoming more effective at informing a potential customer what the Web site sells. Now when a search is carried out for plastic widgets, Joe's Web site is more likely to be displayed, as the domain name contains a match for the searched item. "
    -------------------
    Copyright © Robert Skelton 2003.
    About the Author:
    Robert Skelton is the IDE of SearchEngineZ - a collection of web searching resources.
    http://searchenginez.com
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
  8. edgematch

    edgematch Elite Member

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    Sorry to bring it again to the stage, butIMHO it deserves to be read again.