Subdomains for SEO?

I have shared this information with only one person so far, a Facebook buddy who has taken the plunge, changed country, and is bent on making a good living online. I offered it as a way to maybe get more traffic and sales for his sites.

We are talking about the use of subdomains.

Subdomains to beat Panda and other algo changes? Could be, read on. And read the how to build a successful blog or website guide for lots more tips too.

Before we get in to this I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I am right and you are wrong πŸ˜‰ Now that is out of the way we can begin. Hooray I hear you all cry (all 3 of you).

Me and Wifey actually came up with the idea just the other day. I had started a new site where I have siloed my content by category, one of them being a blog category. Basically I have written all my sales pages and they look KICK ASS. I wanted them to not be spammy in as far as keywords were concerned. Basically the product as a title and not a lot else. Of course, I slipped in a few “cheap”, “best price” etc, I wouldn’t be me of I didn’t.

But, unlike many of my other sites, I wanted a rather more clean and tidy looking site and approach.

But, all those lovely low hanging fruit buying keywords I have talked about in the past on the other site are still waiting to be picked. So, in my blog category I will go to town writing buying keyword post titles. All well and good and not a problem, and certainly where the money is at. It will give me more terms that I rank for than I care to dream of, well, I do dream about IM but that is another story.

It will work well for this site but for others it may not.

Use Subdomains

Some sites that I have, and some that you have are of a certain breed. We are proud of the content, the site is clean and tidy and we may even have subscribers. Or we may simply have all our high quality content on them and not want to then write tens of posts for each product all targetingΒ  a different longtail. The answer lies in a subdomain.

I prefer this to a folder and don’t really want to get in to arguments about this, although I am sure we will.

Basically a subdomain is going to be a term that sits before your site name. I could, for example have

If I took up on this idea for a forum (tempting).

Now, in the past this has been used for pure SEO purposes and the strength of the term you use has been downgraded in so far as ranking for it is concerned. It is not treated as strongly as a main domain name as far as I can tell. But that is not what I am going to be usingΒ  a subdomain for. Although as far as SEO tips goes it still holds some worth.

Descriptive Only

If you have a site that has nice content and you basically do not want to fill it up with what we can affectionately term “buying post titles” (to put it nicely) then a subdomain may well be the answer.

Me and Wifey have been looking around the net lately and there are actually a lot of big boys and girls that use subdomains to a greater or lesser degree. But one thing all the large sites have in common is that they do, to some degree, mostly have them.

The aim here is to basically draw in a lot of traffic to the subdomain and send it on through to the main money pages of your site. We can set out a certain approach and style of writing on our subdomain that reflects the personality that we want to come across. Basically if we have a product website then we can write as many buying post titles we can until we feel a little bit sickie and then rank them.

No SEO Benefit For Subdomains

Bull. Many people are under the impression that a subdomain is like starting a new site from scratch . They say that it will need to be treated like a new site. That it won’t rank any easier than simply buying a new site. I don’t buy it for a second and I KNOW it to be untrue. But I ain’t gonna argue about it with you.

A subdomain is NOT like starting a new website. You get SOME of the juice from the main domain and the subdomain is going to send SOME of the juice it inherits right back at the main site. But even this is not the main reason for doing such a thing.

It is simply to keep your content properly siloed out and separate, for whatever reason.

You may simply have a site that you feel is accomplished in its own right. You may not want people searching on the site and coming across 500 words about “Best Price Blue Socks”.

My main reason for doing a subdomain would be if my permalink structure has already been set up and there is plenty of content on the site and I wanted to really differentiate my buying keyword posts from the rest of the killer content I have written. I may not want that content visible to my subscribers ore my regular readers or to appear in feeds.

So, for my site I would set up and this is going to give me a lot more versatility in what I can write.

The Plan

The plan once I set up the subdomain would be to then pick my writing style, man, woman, illiterate Donkey with dangling carrot, whatever. The site would then be treated specifically as a blog. I would not put a single affiliate link on the blog posts. I would write my posts mixing up what product I was writing about until over time I had a good handful of buying keyword post titles all with links in pointing to the main product posts on the main site.

Now, from an SEO point of view these links are not quite internal and not quite external, somewhere in the middle, although to be honest I don’t really care either way. They may give you good rankings just from the links you create to the main product pages or not, you will have to do it and see.

But the main reason for doing it is to get the traffic and funnel.

Simply buy having the term blog or whatever as part of theΒ  domain name in the serps gives you more freedom in what you can write. You can talk about the fact that you have a great supplier and the great prices. You can be jolly and silly and basically be more human and basically have a bit of a better time than on the main site.

The Benefits Of Subdomains

The benefits are obvious. It ensures that your main site stays clean if you really do not want to write what many consider spammy post titles. But this is where the money is.

I have been looking at quite a number of readers sites lately, at their request, and plenty of them look good. But looks are not everything . You need to get the traffic.

Trust me when I tell you that the money sis often in the longtails, hundreds of them for a product, and for that you need to get them damn words in your content and backlink for them.

If you use the buying terms as post titles then your work is almost done for you in terms of ranking. But many of you don’t want a site that looks likr that.


Do it on a subdomain.

And then rank those posts as you do normally.

Setup A Subdomain

Go to your hosting control panel and add on a subdomain to the relevant site. The you simply do a wordress install as per usual. Add on your stats program and all the other plugins etc that you would normally.

Basically my advice is to set the subdomain to look EXACTLY like the main site. The only difference is that it is where you will be writing A LOT of content to cover all the terms you can possibly think of.

Apart from anything else it is actually going to boost the confidence people have when they visit. They can see it is a blog and you talk about it being a blog in your written content. It can actually free you up to be a bit looser in your copy and you may enjoy it.

For a while, until you are damn sick of writing about the same stuff over and over.

But hey, you do that anyway don’t you to get your backlinks?

Well, you bloody well should be if you want to rank in the serps.

So, just a little idea for you to maybe get you out of your groove a little and thinking about something different.

It may be the answer you have been looking for to really increase those earnings and get better serps positions. Or not, only one way to find out isn’t there? And yes, there will be scripts to install subdomain, but you know how technical I am so let’s not go there.

Just think about how the serps will look with you getting at least double listings for your buying terms. One from the blog and one from the product page on the main site. There be gold in them there hills Dudes.

43 Responses to “Subdomains”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Dave says:

    By the way, anyone having problems with google reader? This site is not updated when new posts are added. Not good. How peeps gonna know about the new content?

  2. Carrie says:

    I wonder how Google sees a subdomain as far as site size? Does it help you look more like an authority?

    I have been thinking of adding a blog to one of my site’s where everything is keyworded and set up for Adsense, but I’d like a place where I can just babble in short posts (blog) to keep the site fresh and growing. I’m thinking having a blog in a subfolder is better than a subdomain as far as SEO benefit – what do you think?

    • Dave says:


      I think it might. Having a subdomain is certainly going to expand it. As to the SEO benefits a subfolder may be better for SEO for the site as a whole, but for appearances in the serps and even ranking the posts in the subdomain you will do well with it, a matter of choice really. But hey, mixing it up and expanding a site out is not going to hurt, that is for sure. And kinda looks good in the serps πŸ˜‰

      • Carrie says:

        I do like the idea for what I wanted to accomplish which was just add easy, off-the-top-of-my-head content to grow the site in Google’s eyes without the content being keyworded and designed for sales/clicks.

        What I have now is a WP site setup up to mimic a static site (static homepage, categories, etc) but I wanted to add a blog to it. So while my site may be designed to sell socks, I could have a blog where I talk about my daily trials with socks simply to add some content but with no sales intention.

        The problem with adding a subfolder is I wouldn’t want to divert buyers to my babbling, so a subdomain would be good from that perspective. The bad is that I do wonder if I will get the benefit of expanding authority with a subdomain. I guess the other option is to do the blog in a subfolder, but not link to it from the rest of the site, only link form the blog to the site. Hmmm.

        Don’t mind me, just thinking out loud πŸ™‚

        • Dave says:


          That made me smile.

          Don’t mind me, just thinking out loud

          Lovely. Carry on, don’t mind me πŸ˜‰

          I think you will get expanding authority, maybe not to quite the same degree as direct on site content but I guess it is weighing that up against how that would effect the look and feel of the main site.

          Personally I have a number of sites that I wish I had added a subdomain to and kept the content on the main site a lot cleaner and with less long ass post titles, we live and learn though, it’s what this game is about.

          What I learned today is that it is really annoying to wake up in the morning and find that your hosting account has been hacked and tens of thousands of spammy emails have been sent out for almost a week and I lost hundreds of pounds as sites were down. Makes me wonder if sticking every bloody site on its own hosting is not a good idea. Probably not πŸ˜‰ Aah, the fun of this game. Never know what you will wake up to.
          What I didn’t learn was how the hell these things keep happening.

  3. Terry says:

    Ok, here’s what I know.

    I run several WPmu (multi-user) sites with loads of “subdomain” blogs attached and I’ve had mixed results.

    In the early days, some tanked, the domains got de-indexed by uncle G and that took all the subdomains out with them. that was a lot of blogs down the tubes. And requesting re-inclusion fell on deaf ears.

    Others stayed put but the subdomains don’t rank for much more than the easiest of KWs.

    One is like a freakin’ jackpot machine, where new subdomain blogs rank right out the gate. I also rank a lot of product pages on the main domain easily as long as they’re related in some way to the two domain KWs, which are a little crazy in themselves, but strangely profitable…

    I can’t see why Google hated some but loved others.

    From an SEO standpoint, these subdomain blogs have provided a massive link boost to my sites (I have several hundreds of the things). And I control those links, just as I do with my network of single site domains. But I’ve found that the link juice does not seem to funnel down from the subdomains to the core domain. So I’ve found its better to treat each subdomain blog as a separate site in its own right, link to it and deep link it with each post/page sending link juice up to the homepage of the blog and not the core domain.

    Now, going the other way around. Putting a blog as a subdomain onto a static site (is that what you’re talking about here?). I can see the sense in doing that but only if you can write enough content to make it a site in its own right. Dave, I know you can but most people can’t or won’t. Then you’re left with a server-sucking blog with little useful content tacked on to your super speedy static site. For me, that would defeat the object of having static sites.

    I think a lot of the success factor of any subdomains will be dependent on the authority of your core, hosting domain. If that domain already has lots of authority, then I say go for it and create several subdomains to cover whatever KWs you want.

    Kick that mule and kick it hard! Sorry, meant ass…:-)

    But if the domain is new or doesn’t have much authority, then you probably want to concentrate on building it up first before you start putting subdomains on there.

    Its how things have worked out for me based on what I’ve already done.

    • Dave says:

      Cool Terry,

      From what I can gather adding too many subdomains to a site can be asking for trouble but 1 or 2 is going to be cool. I am actually talking about adding a subdomain on to WordPress. The term blog is just an idea for the name of it so people can act a little different to on the main site if they are all serious product posts.

      I agree about not doing it on new sites, not a lot of point. I am talking about putting it on sites that have their content and don’t really need much more. Then a subdomain to put in those um slightly less than perfect post titles can be the answer. And yep, I would backlink them until they rank just like on the main site.

      And oops, I forget that not everyone works like demons as we do! I kind of take it for granted. Only way to get ahead as we know Terry. If your fingers ain’t bleeding then you ain’t working hard enough πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for the insights Terry, nice to get some feedback from someone who actually UNDERSTANDS this stuff πŸ˜‰

  4. Teodor Lazar says:

    Hey Dave,

    Great post. Very clear and a great idea for the “White Sock Supersale” type of posts.

    Good stuff!

  5. Tracey says:

    You know I’ve never used a subdomain. Don’t know why, I can certainly see the benefits, but I’ve always created brand new sites when I wanted to build up the authority of my main sites. Hmmm. Think of all the fees I could have saved on new domain names. I might do some subbies in the future to see how they go.

    And yes I got this post through my reader, but because it’s on excerpt to display I actually have to go to your site to read the full post rather than read it in flipboard (best app ever!).

    T xx

    • Dave says:


      Certainly worth a go and it won’t hurt the authority of the site.

      You kids and your apps! BTW, Angry Birds is cool, but kind of expensive having an ipad just to play a game on, but I do like the slidey slidey thing now πŸ˜‰

  6. Shuck says:

    Using subdomains confuses the **** outta me.

    So you are using your main domain as “serious product posts” – the posts that get search traffic and make money

    Then you are using a subdomain for “blog” style posts…is this correct?

    Or is it the other way around?

    • Dave says:


      Main domain for the main product content then sub for more off the cuff quicker stuff. But done right and ranked then they make money too from sending peeps to the product posts.

  7. Rachel says:

    So, do you recommend naming the subdomain

    • Dave says:


      No, I recommend calling it

  8. Bruno says:

    Interesting idea.

    I like the idea of having a blog separated from the main domain. I’m actually developing a website that most posts have “buying post titles” like you said, and I was trying to combine that with some more personal blog posts that I was willing to write. The niche itself is one that I’m particular fond and I could easily write some useful content about it …

    But I was a bit lost trying to figure out a way how to write a personal blog post under a “Safe order! Buy Now! All credit cards accepted!” layout …

    Maybe a subdomain is the answer …

    Have you considered setting up a subdomain for Xmas times? Like “”, do you think it could work?

    • Dave says:


      You can do a subdomain or you could do a folder or just have permalinks set to show categories and have “blog”, or “musings” as one of the categories. On site content is going to be better for SEO and authority out the gate but if you want to keep it properly separate and the site will be relatively large in the end then a subdomain may be the right way to go.

      The xmas one is a good idea, it really does depend on the content though and if that would mean basically adding duplicate content or not. Very niche specific I think.

  9. Seth says:

    Why would you BMR a Facebook page? I guess you are trying to rank that as well as your niche site?

    • Dave says:


      Are you saying you know the site or are you following up on what I said about BMR to rank FB? I do it for my FB pages to get them underneath me at number 2 or 3 in the SERPS. The less other options for sites peeps have to go to the better the sales. I have got a FB page to bottom of page 1 just linking from the site it links to so it seems like a waste to not have it join me at the top.

      You love apple πŸ˜‰

  10. Seth says:

    Thanks. I have about 5 Facebook pages now but I never thought of linking to them to try to rank them. I may give that a try.

  11. Darrell says:

    Hiya Dave and of course your better half – Wifey

    I used to have tons of sud-domains myself once upon a time. But, deleted most of them over time as they simply tanked for me and offered no real value.

    I even, many years ago, put a string of 1 page sites together, linked them all up…so that 1 linked to the next up to about 60 single page sub-domain sites. I used CARP on them and the content changed every 5 mins..Ya, I was trying to game the system πŸ™‚

    So, if sub-domains works for you great, but personally I am just building up kick ass large authority sites and have a few now…

    How’s the weather over there in Spain?

    We sorta of have the start of summer here in Alberta, Canada..


    • Dave says:


      Thanks for the input. From what I can gather putting a lot of shallow subdomains on a site is asking for the main domain to tank too, so your experience does seem to agree with that. I agree that building a large site should be the first port of call, no doubt.

      Weather is boiling and at times too hot to actually go outside. Even at 6 when we walk the Dogs is bloody boiling, but hey, better than it raining. Hope it warms up for you up there in Canada πŸ˜‰

  12. Leo Dimilo says:

    I have used subdomains in the past. Back in the day, they were viewed as completely separate websites which meant that if you were creative, it could be abused. Of course, that changed a couple years back.

    I think that subdomains are okay if you are creating themed silos and want to keep everything nice and tidy. Personally speaking though, I think virtual folders are better although they require a bit more thought.

    Other than that, I haven’t really seen a difference between a well organized website with navigation and a website using subdomains. It all boils down to having all your ducks in a row as far as site optimization goes.

    Just my opinion though.

    • Dave says:


      The rules do seem to have changed somewhat (nothing new there). Too many on a single domain is now not a good idea but a subdomain or two on a site may be the answer some are looking for. I agree that a properly organized site is optimal. I just know that others, and myself included, may not have gone about a site setup in the best possible way at the beginning.

      The reality is still that for SEO keyword rich post titles are a very important factor in ranking and we may not wish to post “certain” content for subscribers to read, if it does not meet the “quality” we want to be associated with.

      I am personally trying to move away from less than optimal content but I know how well it does if you crank out a ton of buying keywords post titles, so a subdomain that gets juice from the main site is an answer, especially for short term earnings and quick rankings.

      Good to hear from you Leo, don’t see you here much.

  13. Jonas says:


    I have been avoiding asking you this question for a long time now, because well, I was sort of afraid of an answer that I wouldn’t like. This subject is so far back in the old blog days that I don’t know if you will even answer questions about it anymore, but here it is.

    Is there a surefire way – a formula – to get a certain amount of page views with hubpages, per hub.

    For instance, I have written around 60 hubs, and on average, I am getting 1/2 a page view a day per hub. I would like it to be minimum 5 page views per day per hub before I go to work like a mad man and create several hundred.

    I am choosing four word keyword phrases that have 500-2000 exact searches per month, with less than 100K exact results (“keyword”) and am optimizing the hub correctly and writing great content. I am even backlinking some of them, but have not noticed any difference between the ones I backlink and the ones I don’t.

    I do have one hub that I spent around $45 at Backlinks Phillipines and submitted 100 links to MAS for. That hub gets five views per day on average.

    I would spend the next six months writing 300 hubs a month if I knew for sure that it would bring me 10,000 page views a day when I was done, which is around $50 a day in Hubpages Ad Program Earnings.

    Any ideas of a formula or strategy to be able to create 200-300 hubs a month, and get at least 5 views per day per hub?

    Thanks, in Advance. If you have some great advice and I am able to use it to create hubs that make me good money with Hubpages I promise to use my first paycheck to buy you a great bottle of Vino! :p

    • Craig says:


      I’m sure Dave will give you his more informed opinion on the morrow (which sounds sarcastic now that I read it back, but really isn’t meant that way: Dave undoubtedly has far more experience with Hubpages than I do) but I would say: why bother? Rather than write 300 hubs over the next six months why not write 300 pages of content on a handful of your own domains? Lis recently (post-Panda) did a small experiment comparing Hubpages to her own niche sites, and found that with the same amount of backlinking your own sites will rank just as well as hubs. And if you’re no longer getting the Hubpages domain bonus then what’s the point in giving your content to another company who’ll take a percentage of your Adsense and could potentially delete any of your hubs at any time. Previously we considered those risks worth taking because hubs ranked better than our own pages with less effort, but if that’s no longer the case then really: what’s the point?

      I don’t have any actual answers, but it’s definitely worth asking yourself exactly what you wish to gain out of writing hubs rather than writing pages on your own websites. If you’re short of cash then get some .infos or grab some domains from Godaddy closeouts. Then write content – and get backlinks – which you control, where you’re not entirely beholden to the vagaries of some distant corporation.

      (Lis’s page is at by the way)

    • Dave says:


      You got some good advice there buddy. Excuse my delay replying. Had a bit of an odd day. Visited my Mum but then had to come home and chop the head off one of our chickens that was not doing very well. Anyway, I digress.

      Type in zen duck in to the serps. On about page 4 or so is a Hub I wrote a while back. If a stupid long ass and very un-competitive term like that does not rank quickly and easily on Hubpages then their day is over. It is exactly why I did it, just to see what the setup with Hubpages is now.

      Bottom line is that currently they have little to no authority to make them anything special. Last year if I had written a hub called zen duck it would be number 1 the next day, I am not kidding. Save your effort and do what the others suggest and put it on your own site. Or if you do want to use a site that gives you better authority then at least use orbs or There you can monetize any way you want and keep it all, or at the very least do it on Squidoo instead. But the amount of work you are talking about should honestly be done on your own sites totally under your control, it is too much to give away to someone else.

      You can get the kind of traffic you are talking about easily enough on your own sites. Especially if you buy Lando’s guide and get an aged domain. Honestly I have sites that get 300 a day and I am talking about a week or two after I bought them and put content on them. And if you go for longtail post titles you can get some serious traffic very quickly, that is where the money is now, get your own high authority site and if you put 300 articles on it or split between a few niches on a few sites you will be laughing to the bank. I kid you not Dude.

      Can I have my vino now? It is Saturday after all.

  14. Jonas says:


    I know you are right about that….it is something I tell myself all the time…but I have this odd need to “beat hubpages” and at least make enough for a minimum payout from the ad program ($50) from each of my five accounts. I know that’s crazy…but what can I say? If all five of my accounts were making $50 + per month from the ad program I would never return to Hubpages again except for links lol.

    • Terry says:

      Craig, there may still be some mileage in hubs, but Jonas is right. The effort you would put into writing 300 hubs would be better spent in writing those same 300 articles and putting them on your own properties and then backlinking.

      The money (and time) you’ll spend backlinking all goes towards your own business by building your own properties. That’s a solid business model that also makes good horse sense.

      The hubpages ad program sounds tempting, but for the same effort you’d put into getting $50 a month from that, you could see that and more in a combo of adsense and affiliate sales from your own sites that will only grow as you keep building and backlinking.

      In the end, you have to choose what’s best for you and what’s the best use of your time and resources.

      You may do well with hubpages and then one day its all gone because the owners decided to sell the business. The new owner may take down all revenue sharing and keep 100% to themselves. It can happen.

      With the same effort put into your own properties, you will also do well. The difference is your properties stay up and making money for as long as you want. If you then want to sell your business, it’s value will be in proportion to all that money-making content and the backlinking you did.

      • Terry says:

        Um… I meant that for Jonas. And it should have read “…but Craig is right”

        Damn these erratic brain cells…

  15. Dave D. says:

    Ah, sub-domains, folders, backlinks, hubpages, properties, authority…….that’s what I love about this business. Hard work, discipline AND creativity. Whether you make a little money or a lot: staying engaged, creating, working towards something you can call your own. Listening to fellow IMers and feeling a shared interest or passion. For all the ups and downs there isn’t anything else like it on the planet!

    Love reading your stuff Mr. Zen Duck and all the comments it always brings forth.

  16. Bruno says:


    with regards to buying post titles, I’ve tried searching in your old blog, but I’m still quite not sure the answer: let’s say you will write a post for the following product:

    “Panasonic Prestige NN-SD688S, 1.2cuft 1300 Watt Sensor Microwave Oven, Stainless Steel”

    How your post title would look like more?

    “Cheap microwave oven for sale: panasonic prestige nn-sd688s review”


    “Cheap panasonic prestige nn-sd688s for sale: deals for panasonic nn-sd688s”

    I mean, will your titles have more of the product itself or more general keywords (ex: microwave ovens)

    The first one does have a wider scope, but then I believe you may need a better copy. They might be good to have as a “head” content where you internally link your smaller posts (tail content) and compare each different microwave oven option.

    The second option has less search volume, but I believe it has a better conversion rate since it is a title for people that already knows what they want to buy and they are just trying to find the cheapest price for example.

    What’s your take on this?

    Plus, do you recommend/use Adsense at all these days in your websites? I have some websites with some informtional posts (no aff links) that I was considering adding adsense to them.

    But if I do, I need to find a way to add to all posts that are in a certain category for example, otherwise adding one by one will be a royal pain in the ass and if I ever need to change anything, it will be even more troublesome.

    • Dave says:


      It would be something like cheap Panasonic Prestige NN-SD688S for sale, or with a best price etc. It is a short cut to ranking for a few buying terms. The other way is your first suggestion, just the product name. You can still rank that post for all the buying terms. Just get some of them in your copy as H2’s or even just use the words and then backlink for them.

      You need more authority to then rank for them but it will happen in time. But putting the best buying keywords in the post title allows you to rank quicker. Depends how you want your site to look really.

      Adsense is fine as long as the content is good. If you know it isn’t then I don’t think I would bother. But you will need to find a plugin if you only want it in certain categories. Site wide is simple, just put it in the single post.php file.

      • Bruno says:

        thanks again mate πŸ˜‰

        I’ve already saved all your posts from your old blog and will read them all now so I do not have to ask so many questions πŸ˜€

        Well … that WAS the plan until I saw your new last post here =/

        • Dave says:


          You can ask away Dude, it is what we are here for. It’s a blog not a discourse with no interaction, there are enough of them already where sites have comments enabled yet never bother to reply to them.

          • Bruno says:

            cool … glad to know that πŸ™‚

            But I’ll read your old posts anyway … the other day I was searching for some info on it and I have found some old posts with LOTS of great insights in the post and in the comments

            small changes here and there, but when you add them all up, it does make a big difference πŸ˜‰

  17. David Hector says:

    I have a website which is hosted on a subdomain. As I was researching whether having a subdomain would affect SEO or site performance, I came across this posting. Sounds like others have had the same question I had. Good to find this website here. I will be back in the future to see what else i can learn! thanks again,