Content reigns over websites, and is now just as valuable as website design and functionality. Calgary businesses now make their presence known on social media several times a week, update their page content often and blog regularly. And as each new page is created, so must its title, meta data and keywords. And those are just a few of the ways that search engines categorize pages!
Domains and subdomains are another, and there is some debate over which one may work better than the other in terms of SEO.
Domains and Subdomains Explained
Although the words on your pages are more important than ever, the overall structure of your website remains pivotal. Domains, subdomains and subdirectories are ways to identify yourself online, stay organized, and let search engines know how you want your pages to be viewed.
In the case of Emphasize (and the vast majority of websites ), our domain is the name of our business followed by “.ca”, ie:emphasizedesign.ca.
However, when you get to our blog pages, our url changes to include the word “blog” at the beginning, ie: blog.emphasizedesign.ca.
This is what is known as a subdomain, and their use is essentially dependent upon what your goal is for that particular section of your website.
According to Multiple Domains vs Subdomains vs Folders in SEO by Vasilis Vryniotis of Web SEO Analytics, subdomains are most effective when a company is trying to geo-target their customer or specify a specific segment of their website (such as in the case of the Emphasize blog). Strong examples of websites with geo-targeted sub-domains are those like Craigslist or Kijiji. Both have created specific subdomains for regions or cities so that consumers only have to perform a quick search to find their area. For example, searching “Craigslist Calgary” will take you directly to the appropriate subdomain. Without subdomains, searching “Craigslist Calgary” would take you to the main location page on the site, and the user would then have to find Calgary from there.
Although it was once believed that subdomains could also be beneficial because search engines actually consider them completely different websites, research has shown that may not actually be the case. Says Vryniotis, “One SEO theory suggests that Google is supposed to handle subdomains as totally different domains. But if this was always true, should not we see more often multiple subdomains in the SERPs?”
For smaller websites, the benefits of subdomains lies more in their flexibility than their ability to improve rankings. With subdomains you can change the look and feel of that part of your site, and perhaps even allow the content to take on a different tone. Subdomains are good for letting people know that they have discovered a distinct division of your site.
Similarly, subdomains can also be used to feature a specific product that you want to be sure people can find you for easily. If your company supplies incredible custom cupboards, then you may want to create a subdomain for “cupboards” or even “custom cupboards”. It’s a good idea to do some research into your competition to see what they are up to…it may be possible to get an easy leg up on them just through smart domain naming!
Different than subdomains, subdirectories are more common for websites with fewer pages and those where it is less important to target specific regions. They appear after your main domain, and are usually the same or similar to the page title.
For example, in Emphasize’s case again, the subdirectory in the url www.emphasizedesign.ca/converting-qualified-leads/content-marketing/ is “content marketing”.
This is the most useful way to organize your pages for most, and likely the most effective in terms of SEO. Sub-directories allow you to maintain the authority of your domain, which is the starting point for most search engines. Overall, it’s really just a question of what works best for you and your website.
Calgary Website Design By Emphasize
In addition to website design services, Emphasize also custom-designs and implements online marketing packages to build your Internet presence, earn your business traffic and expand your brand and reputation into the digital world. We use our skills and collaboration techniques to attract, convert and close customers online.