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Configuring a Blog for SEO: Subdomain vs. Subdirectory

Configuring a Blog for SEO: Subdomain vs. Subdirectory | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it

In “Your Blog Is Key to Search Engine Optimization,” I explained that blogs are an important strategy for SEO. But there are a number of variables that affect just how effective it can be at enhancing your site’s rankings. If you’re just now incorporating a blog, the first question is whether to implement it on a subdirectory URL of your existing site or whether to put it on its own subdomain. The answer to which is better depends on a number of factors. So read on to understand what might be the best direction for you.

 

For many webmasters, it may be easier to contemplate setting up new content for a site in a newly named subdirectory. For example, many sites choose to place their blog in a subdirectory that’s aptly-named “blog,” as in:

http://example.com/blog

 

This can be easier to do in cases where a webmasters don’t have full control or confidence in customizing their DNS — domain name system. However, there are often instances where a site’s primary domain is hosted on a platform that is restrictive in terms of what types of software may be implemented on it. This can result in webmasters considering a blog hosting solution that is more separate and distinct from their primary sites. If a legacy content management system on the main server or security rules create an impediment to installing the blog software on the site, webmasters often end up setting up a completely new domain for the blog, or use a subdomain of their main site, as in:

http://blog.example.com/

 

In most cases, setting up a completely new domain name is not advisable. A new domain has some disadvantages in terms of needing to rapidly achieve sufficient numbers of inbound links to gain traction with Google. Without aggressive link development, a new site will be subject to the “Sandbox Effect,” whereby Google penalizes a site for an artificial use of inbound links. But without the links it can take months and even years to achieve the necessary trust to rank appropriately. Not to mention, link building requires sophistication — see “How Not To Build Links for SEO,” my previous article — or else it will cause serious problems.

 

Since part of the reason for a blog is to introduce content that will be a virtual magnet for natural links, it defeats the purpose if you have to hotwire a whole new domain with links to launch it. So, for most sites a completely new, standalone blog domain is a nonstarter.

 

Three or four years ago, I would have recommended using the subdomain approach as having a bit of an edge in the algorithms. Back then, subdomains for blogs and other types of content sections on sites appeared to convey some advantage because the search engines tended to treat the links from the subdomains to your main domain very favorably — as though they were good external links. And, they treated the subdomain similar to external sites, while sidestepping the Sandbox Effect.

 

Subdomains in Search Results

  Search engines also used to list each of your subdomains in the search results as completely separate sites, giving you the opportunity to dominate even more of the same keyword search result page — your various subdomains could be listed one after another, taking up multiple slots on the same page.

  However, search engines, and Google in particular, began clustering a site’s subdomains together when making ranking determinations and in choosing (limiting) how many pages from a particular site would display on the same results page. Essentially, Google treats a site’s subdomain pages identically to subdirectory pages in many circumstances. (Google’s Matt Cutts recently reiterated this guidance once again.)

  As search engines became more sophisticated at associating subdomains with a primary domain, the advantage of one approach over another became very marginal. PageRank via links from subdomain pages seems to convey no greater weight than from pages within subdirectories now, and the number of links from the same domain allowed to display on a search results page has become constrained and limited.

  Even though the differences have become more marginal, there are still factors that may make one approach more optimal.

  Social media signals and the sites from which they originate are becoming more influential as search ranking signals. The signals from these sites are relatively new and rapidly evolving. As such, there’s some advantage to be had from avoiding subdomains and going with subdirectories. Services like Twitter and Facebook are now making evaluations as to the popularity of status updates and links included within them – and they are newer at associating related URLs together. Link shortening services used in relation to multiple different social media sites like Bit.ly are also newer at evaluating related links.

  Since these resources are newer at handling links, they don’t always associate links from domain variations together. Yet, their evaluations of relative popularity are being used by search engines to influence rankings. (It’s even possible that the search engines do not associate site signals originating from social media sources in the same ways as link evaluations are done from static web pages, although this possibility seems less likely.) Because of this factor, there may now be more advantage for hosting blogs on the same domain, but under a subdirectory.

  There’s another complex factor to weigh before settling on the subdirectory approach. Most of Google’s attention to rolling up subdirectory URLs is focused upon its main keyword search results. The algorithms for their other specialized, vertical search engines operate a little differently. Google doesn’t handle subdomains in the same way in Images Search, Video Search, and Local Search. A good case in point is how it handles Craigslist.org or OLX.com – classifieds sites that operate numerous subdomains with photos appearing from each of them. In Google’s Images   Search for various keywords, images from multiple subdomains from those sites can appear in the search results simultaneously.   For example, a search for “appliances for sale” shows pictures from multiple OLX.com subdomains:

  With different media and different display needs for user experience, Google doesn’t apply the same restrictions that are applied with regular keyword results pages.

 

Summary

  So, I’d apply the following guidelines when deciding whether to go subdirectory versus subdomain for your blog.

  Don’t change what you have. If you already have a blog on one or the other format, you probably shouldn’t worry about moving it.   Google treats both approaches very similarly overall, and changing all of your URLs will often result in much more serious problems that will negatively impact your rankings.Lean towards a subdirectory. In most cases, there may be an advantage for going with the subdirectory approach. There’s no longer the same pseudo-external linking advantage that we’ve sometimes seen in the past, and the growing influence of social media signals may convey greater preference for using your primary domain name. As you get more and more social media “buzz” over time — assuming you’re consistently posting content on social media and interacting with your audience — using a single domain helps all that signal to get associated with one domain rather than getting spread across multiple ones.Use a subdomain in certain cases. Use a subdomain if your primary domain is configured in such a way as to make it highly difficult to add necessary blogging software — I recommend WordPress, as it is most search engine friendly — and it would be too time-consuming and costly to reconfigure your server to accommodate the blog. However, there’s still another option in this case: You can set up a subdirectory on your primary site’s server and reverse proxy it over to a separate server where you have installed the blogging software. Using this method, your blog URL configuration really should not be dependent upon whether you’re still running inflexible legacy software.Subdirectory for images and videos. If you’re planning on posting many images or videos on your blog over time, that may create an exclusion case for going with subdirectories. If you will be posting many images and videos and you have some similar content on your primary domain and other subdomains, it might be more advantageous to use the subdomain approach to expand your chances of visibility in the vertical search results.

  My guidance in the past would have been different, but today there seems to be advantage in most cases to go the subdirectory route. There may even be greater advantages to this over a longer period of time, since you’re steadily developing the prominence of your primary site, and it could be easier to maintain your legacy URLs without spreading them across multiple subdomains. There are still instances where it can make sense to choose a subdirectory approach instead, but the majority of sites do not fall into those exception cases. Either way you go, Google and other search engines can handle your postings, and blogging steadily over time will convey advantages to your site with either approach.

 

 

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Friday Five: Apple Webpages You Should Bookmark Right Now

Friday Five: Apple Webpages You Should Bookmark Right Now | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
It’s the end of the week, but that doesn’t mean an end to learning more about your favorite Apple devices. Each week, the Friday Five takes a quick look at a Mac OS X or iOS app or tech topic to po…
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Features | Carbon Copy Cloner | Bombich Software

Features | Carbon Copy Cloner | Bombich Software | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it

Create a bootable clone of your hard drive, but also keep copies of your recently deleted and changed files — just in case.

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Wi-Fi base stations: How to set up and configure AirPort Express for AirPlay and iTunes - Apple Support

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How to get a Mac laptop's headphone jack to work reliably

How to get a Mac laptop's headphone jack to work reliably | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
A reader writes in with a common problem with MacBooks of all vintages related to audio output.

Put the laptop on a level surface, and briefly spray air into the headphone jack.

If that doesn’t solve it, try these steps whenever this occurs:

  • Does plugging and unplugging the headphones make them work?
  • Hold down the Option key, and select the volume icon in the system menu bar to reveal audio inputs and outputs. Is Headphones selected as the output device? Does it appear in the list? If so, can you re-select it and get sound through the headphones now?
  • Sleep and wake your computer. Do the headphones work now?
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NTFS for Mac 14 review: A read/write speed freak for Windows volumes $20

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NTFS for Mac is the best such software solution: Reliable, fast, and now affordable as well, version 14 (Paragon skipped unlucky number 13) provides unlimited read/write access to hard drives, SSDs, or thumb drives intended for Windows computers. $20

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The Safe Mac » “There are no Mac viruses”

The Safe Mac » “There are no Mac viruses” | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it

First, a lot of people don’t understand  basic malware terminology. The technical definition of a “virus” is a malicious program that installs by itself, embedding itself inside another program or file, and spreads itself to other computers. The word “malware,” on the other hand, refers to all classes of malicious software: viruses, worms, trojans, etc. The average user refers to all malware as “viruses,” without an understanding of the strict definition of the word. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it should be the job of those with more tech knowledge to educate those with less, not to play word games with them or belittle them for a minor misuse of terminology.

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Hackers try to con the wrong mom. Knitting circle not the same

Hackers try to con the wrong mom. Knitting circle not the same | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
His mom, Char, noticed the padlock icon -- the way your computer tells you your connection is private -- was missing from the top left corner of a shopping website she was visiting.
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Mac App Store Update for OS X Snow Leopard

Mac App Store Update for OS X Snow Leopard | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it

This update ensures future compatibility of the Mac App Store included with OS X Snow Leopard, and is recommended for all Snow Leopard users.

For more detailed information about this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT205702

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When AirPort base stations don't appear over Ethernet

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A reader can't configure his network with an Ethernet-only connection.
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How to Reset Apple's Thunderbolt Display

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Apple's Thunderbolt Display, for myriad reasons, may not display an image from your Mac, recognize USB peripherals, connect to Ethernet, or power...
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How to manually restore your Mail folder from Time Machine

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If you have recently lost a large number of messages in OS X Mail, then provided you have a Time Machine backup of your system, you will have three options for restoring your messages.  The first a…
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Hands On: Loopback 1.0.1 (OS X) | MacNN

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From the makers of Audio Hijack comes another tool that is for audio users -- and the more professional your needs, the moreLoopback 1.0.1 is a solution for you. It's a tool for taking the sound from one app and passing it through to another. That's all -- but it's a lot.

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Friday Five: Customizing and Controlling the OS X Mail App

Friday Five: Customizing and Controlling the OS X Mail App | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
It’s the end of the week, but that doesn’t mean an end to learning more about your favorite devices. Each week, the Friday Five takes a quick look at a Mac OS X or iOS app or tech subject to point …
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OWC, NewerTech Dominate ZDNet List of ‘Must Have’ MacBook Accessories

OWC, NewerTech Dominate ZDNet List of ‘Must Have’ MacBook Accessories | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
MacBooks are great in their own right. But to accomplish the things you need to do on a daily basis, you’ll often find yourself in need of accessories, external solutions or additional storage spac…
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‘Error 53’ fury mounts as Apple software update threatens to kill your iPhone 6

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It’s the message that spells doom and will render your handset worthless if it’s been repaired by a third party. But there’s no warning and no fix
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When iTunes accounts intermingle: How to separate the data

When iTunes accounts intermingle: How to separate the data | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
A reader wants to help her loss-prone boss keep his data backed up for restoring to his string of new phones.
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How to eject a disk properly on OS X

How to eject a disk properly on OS X | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
New to the Mac? Don't just yank that flash drive out! Here's how to eject a disk the right way.
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Google to discontinue Chrome support for OS X Snow Leopard, Lion & Mountain Lion in April 2016

Google to discontinue Chrome support for OS X Snow Leopard, Lion & Mountain Lion in April 2016 | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it
Google on Tuesday announced that it will phase out support for its popular Chrome browser on OS X versions 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8, as well as Microsoft Windows XP and Vista, come April 2016.
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MacStrategy | Home Page

MacStrategy | Home Page | Mac Tech Support | Scoop.it

MacStrategy is a web site with (technical) information and news about Apple products with a specific slant to the United Kingdom. You can keep up with the latest (UK) news, information and software updates via our Twitterfeed (see right hand column) and blog (the newest blog post link is below). We have many articles including some great technical information on the site. Just take a look at our articles listed below, use the navigation menu or icons above or you can go straight to our articles section now.


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The complete, easy guide to backing up your Mac

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Pointers: workaround for Safari's sudden crashing (OS X) [u] | MacNN

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Today -- January 27, 2016 -- Safari on OS X has begun failing so badly that we're not sure you can even navigate to this page. If you have, though, there is a workaround. Well, there are two: this is so big and so widespread that surely Apple engineers spluttered over their coffees, and are working on a fix. In the meantime, start by switching off Safari Suggestions. Update: Apple has now confirmed to us that this has been fixed on their end, but if you are still experiencing the problem, this Pointers will clear out some of your device caches and restore normal functionality.

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LastPass fixes some browser-based impersonation weaknesses

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These are the 25 worst passwords of 2015

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SplashID recently published its round-up of the worst passwords of 2015. '123456' and 'password' still reign supreme

Here’s Splashdata's complete list of the 25 worst passwords for 2015, with their ranking from 2014 in brackets:

  1. 123456 (Unchanged)
  2. password (Unchanged)
  3. 12345678 (Up 1)
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  6. 123456789 (Unchanged)
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  10. baseball (Down 2)
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TIME MACHINE BUDDY | Widget

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