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Old 05-13-2006, 07:12 AM
Cristian Mezei's Avatar
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Folders versus Subdomains

So, i had disagreements with some people.

In all my experience of about 5 to 7 years of SEO, i always went with the folder in favour of the subdomain, eg :

instead of :

Quote:
http://my-great-product.mydomain.com/
or ...
http://forum.mydomain.com/
Now let me tell you why i went that way.

Since the SE's see any new subdomain as a whole new website, link popularity would have to be concentrated NOT on the main website, but on the subdomains too, if you REALLy want to have a rank like i had with this website :

Search 1
Search 2
Search 3

The above are purely 3 random positions i could think of, and search.

This website niche is VERY competitive, and altough, let's say, 80.000 results appear in Google for a search it's extremly hard to rank high.

So .. My 2 cents. On a heavily promoted website, new added content (page, news bit, forum post, anything) already assumes the earned weight of the main domain, and immediatly ranks VERY HIGH, after it has been indexed.

With a subdomain, you would have to reach the same ammount of weight, for each subdomain, for that to happen. And it rarely happens that way.

The added importance, made to the keyword in the domain, versus the keyword in the URL, is not EVEN CLOSE as important as to the weight that's been passed to any new content.

Another example, would be a website with a forum.domain, and a domain.com/forum.

I strongly suggest to use the /forum/ solution. Anyone can see the benefits in the above statements.

I want real arguments and constructive talks on this issue, because it's so important, and maybe members can learn something.

I want to clearly mention that in all my experience, i never achieved a more positive (per total) effect, by using the subdomain (and i used it several times), versus the folder.

 
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Old 05-13-2006, 07:14 AM
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This is a great topic, and I thank you for starting it, even though I now have to spank you.

Going to go shower and shave now, but when I get back I'll post a detailed response.
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Old 05-13-2006, 07:20 AM
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Oh spank me great Master of the V7n Aliens, BUT ... You will not break me.

Last edited by Cristian Mezei; 05-13-2006 at 07:28 AM.
 
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Old 05-13-2006, 09:45 AM
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First, when SEO's are complaining to Matt Cutts about subdomain spam dominating the SERPs, you gotta wonder if something is there.

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/bigdad...-almost-there/ <- Read the comments

http://www.threadwatch.org/node/6484 <- Not specifically addressing the subdomain issue, but a lot of good discussion relevant to the topic nonetheless.

Aaron's statement is particularly revealing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Wall
I always thought that the amount of direct trust transfered to a subdomain should have to deal with weather or not the root linked to it, and in what ways.

This here is just bad algorithms at their worst.
The trust transfer happened without the root domain linking to the rogue subdomains.

Subdomains are golden, in my opinion. They seem to bypass all the filters, and get all the weight of a seperate domain, while retaining all the weight of the root domain. It's actually a bit unfair to the competition, IMO.

A few other advantages to subdomains:

1. Link weight

Internal links do not carry as much weight as they used to. For example, a link from www.v7n.com to www.v7n.com/scripts/ would be considered internal, and that link would not carry a ton of weight of do much for you in the SERPs.

However, Google does not seem to treat links to and from subdomains as "internal" links. They treat them as seperate domains. So a link from www.v7n.com to http://blog.v7n.com is almost fully weighted, as an offsite link would be.

2. Root Carries Weight

Historically speaking, search engines have thought that the closer to root a webpage is, the more important it is. This was especially true with Google two or three years ago.

To illustrate, remember when all pages of a website had "ghost pagerank" (aka "default PageRank")?

Back in those days, if www.v7n.com had PR8, www.v7n.com/folder/ would have default PR of PR7 as a brand new URL.

Google assigned PR based on how many folders it was away from root.

IF www.v7n.com was PR8, then:

www.v7n.com/folder/ - PR7
www.v7n.com/folder/folder2/ - PR6
www.v7n.com/folder/folder2/folder3/ - PR5
www.v7n.com/folder/folder2/folder3/folder4/ - Pr4

Google stopped assigning PR that way several years ago, but it demonstrates how they thought of folders that were several folders away from root.

(Lots of people moved everything to root back then, and it helped their Google rankings.)

Nowadays, Google treates web pages more independantly, and specific web pages of a site often outrank the home page, but there is still a more weight on root than on folders.

Subdomains are treated as root, carry all the weight of root, and therefore start out with more weight right out of the gate.


3. Great for Directory Submission

Another thing is, I can submit http://directory.v7n.com to web directories where www.v7n.com is listed, and most web directories will treat this as a URL deserving it's own listing.

But when I submit www.v7n.com/scripts/ editors refuse saying they do not want to "deeplink" when the home page URL is already listed.

4. Keywords Prominence

http://www.google.com/search?&q=www

Why do those pages rank for "www"? Because they have "www" in the URL.

Why would anybody want to rank for "www"? What a waste!

I'd rather rank for "directory" or something relevant. "www" is not relevant.

And it gets my keywords out up front. In information retrieval, historically keyword prominence carries weight.

This is to say, given these two URL's:

Quote:
v7n.com/green-blue/
Or

Quote:
v7n.com/blue-green/
The first would outrank the second for "green", and vice versa for "blue".

And if you really want keyword prominence in the URL, green.v7n.com would kick ass.


5. SERP Domination

Usually, a domain is allowed one or two listings (the second one indented) in the SERPs. For example:

http://www.google.com/search?&q=webmasterworld

WebmasterWorld only has one listing for that search. Ironically, SearchEngineWatch own more real estate on that page than WMW does, with two listings, one of which is indented.

So, on the default Google search, you got 10% to 20% of the page.

http://www.google.com/search?&q=search+engine+watch

Search Engine Watch owns 50% of that page now, because of subdomain use. (searchenginewatch.com, blog.searchenginewatch.com, forums.searchenginewatch.com, and feeds.searchenginewatch.com)

I'll often see SEW with 30% of the page (three listings), because of this.

If they had used folders instead of subdomains, they would only get 2 max per SERP.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2006, 10:36 AM
Cristian Mezei's Avatar
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Quote:
I always thought that the amount of direct trust transfered to a subdomain should have to deal with weather or not the root linked to it, and in what ways.
Pure speculation.

Quote:
Subdomains are golden, in my opinion. They seem to bypass all the filters, and get all the weight of a seperate domain, while retaining all the weight of the root domain. It's actually a bit unfair to the competition, IMO.
Bypass filters ? What filters ? Retaining all the weight of the root domain ? In all my carrier i didn't noticed that, and i promoted/built over 500 websites. This is really important, because NONE of my tests prove that. I'm not a starter in this too, so i know what i am talking about.

Quote:
Internal links do not carry as much weight as they used to. For example, a link from www.v7n.com to www.v7n.com/scripts/ would be considered internal, and that link would not carry a ton of weight of do much for you in the SERPs.
I agree, that an internal link does not pass so much weight as an external one, of the same exact parameters (credibility/trust and pagerank).

Quote:
However, Google does not seem to treat links to and from subdomains as "internal" links. They treat them as seperate domains. So a link from www.v7n.com to http://blog.v7n.com is almost fully weighted, as an offsite link would be.
They sure aren't. They are external just as any other external link.

BUT, please bare with me on this one : PR passed from an internal page, to another internal page, is WAY larger/bigger than PR passed from an external page to an internal page.

An internal PR5 page with 30 outbound links, and linking to 20 other internal pages, will pass a PR4 or PR3 to all of those internal pages, while the external link will pass none or 1 or something like that.

Please read the last phrase carefully and comment on that.

THose days are long gone, but you do have a point.

Nonetheless, the internal PR transfer formula is way different now, and it just doesn't abide to the above anymore (not totally).

Quote:
Another thing is, I can submit http://directory.v7n.com to web directories where www.v7n.com is listed, and most web directories will treat this as a URL deserving it's own listing.
True.

Quote:
http://www.google.com/search?&q=www

Why do those pages rank for "www"? Because they have "www" in the URL.
Wrong. The fact that they have www in the URL means jack. They all have millions of links pointing to them, which contain the www anchor (probably amongst others, like "the start of www" or stuff).

I rank #4 with a website i own (and this was a test i done), for 2,5 million results term, and my page does not contain ANY occurances of that word.

With ny test i wanted to see how far (as search results go) would this tehnique go.

You can rank #1 for a 200.000.000 result term, only with anchors.

Quote:
The first would outrank the second for "green", and vice versa for "blue".
Not quite. It's not a matter of hierarchy. it a matter of relevance.

Assuming that both the two pages below, have one single IBL, from the same page, with the anchor "test" :
Google with place each one first, depending on what you search for. Cristian Mezei, or Mezei Cristian.

It's not a matter of what word is first, thus you win. It's a matter of relevancy in search engines.

Of course that the /cristian-mezei/ page would have an additional IBL with the anchor "mezei cristian" it WILL rank first for that word.

Maybe i was a little unclear in all the above. Bear with me.

Quote:
If they had used folders instead of subdomains, they would only get 2 max per SERP.
True...

But really, 2 listings or 4 linstings are the same to me. People will still visit them no matter.
 
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Old 05-13-2006, 10:51 AM
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Thanks for these posts, although I have nothing to really contribute, I found my self asking this very same question this very morning. I was going to post but found this first - Great Reply John.
 
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2006, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMean
Great Reply John.
Oh you're just sucking up to him.

Mine were great too
 
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Old 05-13-2006, 10:57 AM
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LOL
 
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2006, 11:39 AM
John Scott's Avatar
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Quote:
PR passed from an internal page, to another internal page, is WAY larger/bigger than PR passed from an external page to an internal page.

Whoa, cowboy. Where do you het this?

Quote:
An internal PR5 page with 30 outbound links, and linking to 20 other internal pages, will pass a PR4 or PR3 to all of those internal pages, while the external link will pass none or 1 or something like that.
The amount of PR passed has to do with a lot of different things. How many links are on the page, how high on the page the link is, etc, but the issue here isn't even PageRank.

I'm talking about link juice, or link weight. Internal links don't carry anywhere near the same weight that links from external pages carry.

That happened back in 2003, along with the devaluing of same IP, different-domain links.

http://www.webmaster-forum.net/showthread.php?t=3866

Quote:
Wrong. The fact that they have www in the URL means jack. They all have millions of links pointing to them, which contain the www anchor (probably amongst others, like "the start of www" or stuff).

Expertu, two things:

1. Anything in the URL is treated as anchor text, even if no links use that as anchor text.

Say I have the URL "v7n.com/hotcakes.php". Now, say this URL only has one link, and the anchor text of that link is "Chinese Fortune Cookies", and the word "hotcakes" appears nowhere on the page and nowhere in the source code.

That URL will still rank for "hotcakes". Google will say:

Quote:
These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: hotcakes
The reason is, Google weights keywords in the URL, and treats them as anchor text. They do this even if the keywords in the URL have never been used in anchor text of links pointing to the page.


2. Yes, they do have millions of links pointing to them with the URL as the anchor text.

http://directory.v7n.com <- Like this.

Now would you rather have your highest prominence spot used for "www", or a relevant keyword?

Quote:
But really, 2 listings or 4 linstings are the same to me. People will still visit them no matter.
That's like saying a 10 foot tall billboard is the same as a 30 foot tall billboard.

Quote:
http://www.domain.com/cristian-mezei
You're talking about keyword order. I'm talking about keyword prominence.

Let me rephrase.

Given these two URL's:

www.v7n.com/this-that-my-boogers-are-blue/

vs

www.v7n.com/blue-is-the-color-of-my-boogers/

The second one will outrank the first one for "blue".

I'll post more later. Watching a movie at the moment.
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Old 05-13-2006, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Whoa, cowboy. Where do you het this?
My own experience along the way. Tests too.

Quote:
That URL will still rank for "hotcakes". Google will say:

Quote:
These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: hotcakes

The reason is, Google weights keywords in the URL, and treats them as anchor text. They do this even if the keywords in the URL have never been used in anchor text of links pointing to the page.
This is something new to me and i can hardly believe any of the above, without some concrete examples.

Treating keywords in the URL as as inbound anchor text ?

I;m going to watch a movie too.

We'll continue this tommorow.
 
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Old 05-13-2006, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expertu
This is something new to me and i can hardly believe any of the above, without some concrete examples.

Treating keywords in the URL as as inbound anchor text ?
Johnny does a lot of SEO tests.

Cache

Quote:
These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: parishiltonsexdogs
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Old 05-13-2006, 12:43 PM
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You got a point there . I tried to find a single link with those words in the links using alltheweb, msn, yahoo, alexa, google.

NONE.
 
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Old 05-14-2006, 06:45 PM
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A quick question relevant to the discussion here. Say I have 2 domains, site1.com and site2.com. If I create 2 links pointing to www.site2.com, one on the home page of www.site1.com, and another on the home page of subdomain1.site1.com, do search engines see one external link or 2 pointing to www.site2.com?

Thanks in advance for your insights!

Terry
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Old 05-14-2006, 11:02 PM
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This is slightly off topic but: how do you set up a subdomain? As in a step by step guide for dummies.
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gobeyond
If I create 2 links pointing to www.site2.com, one on the home page of www.site1.com, and another on the home page of subdomain1.site1.com, do search engines see one external link or 2 pointing to www.site2.com?
Absolutely 2 external links.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviva
This is slightly off topic but: how do you set up a subdomain? As in a step by step guide for dummies.
Does your host offer an administration console like CPANEL (unix) or PLESK (windows) ?

If yes, it's a breeze to create a subdomain.
 
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Old 05-15-2006, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expertu
Absolutely 2 external links.



Does your host offer an administration console like CPANEL (unix) or PLESK (windows) ?

If yes, it's a breeze to create a subdomain.
Figured it out - that was too easy - thanks so much!!
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 05-15-2006, 04:10 PM
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Anytime
 
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Old 05-15-2006, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Google assigned PR based on how many folders it was away from root.

IF www.v7n.com was PR8, then:

www.v7n.com/folder/ - PR7
www.v7n.com/folder/folder2/ - PR6
www.v7n.com/folder/folder2/folder3/ - PR5
www.v7n.com/folder/folder2/folder3/folder4/ - Pr4
does google works the same way even today ? or i left something to read above ?
 
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Old 05-15-2006, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
does google works the same way even today ? or i left something to read above ?
Google stopped assigning PR like that a long time ago.
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expertu
Oh you're just sucking up to him.

Mine were great too
I wasn't sucking up (much) - yours was equally as great. So I'm sucking up to you now LOL

Can we have a conclusion from someone before I start setting up my new site, which is better folders or subdomains?

I also have a question: You (one of you anyway) stated that subdomains are treated as external to the domain name. Therefore if a subdomain pointed to a different server would that increase the weight of the link even more?
 
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