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We’re bringing back our Ask an Expert feature, this time in blog form. You have questions and we have experts to give you answers. We’ll give our two cents on social media, digital PR, content creation, SEO and more. AskAnExpert-microsites-subdomains

This week Mitch Briggs, Senior Inbound Consultant, offers his advice on building authority for your website. Do you know where you should be placing your content? Read below for Mitch’s advice.

Do you have a question that you would like to have answered? Simply submit your question on our website or via Twitter by using the hashtag #AskAnExpert.  

Q: “We’re looking at building a variety of content pages about a specific topic. From an SEO perspective, would it be more beneficial to make these new pages sub pages of our current site or give them their own micro site, completely separate from our main domain?”

A: The key issue here is what we often refer to as “authority”. A site dedicated to carving pumpkins, say, pumpkincarving.com, with 100 pages of content all about carving pumpkins, has a greater chance to rank well for “pumpkin carving” than does a cooking blog that has one post about pumpkin carving (all other things being equal). Pumpkingcarving.com has more authority than the cooking blog in the eyes of the search algorithms (and users) because they can “see” all the related content that resides on that domain and conclude that this is a better option to serve to its users searching for pumpkin carving information.

So, from an SEO perspective, it would be best to load these new content pages onto your current site like additional webpages. Having this content on your existing site will contribute to the overall authority and credibility of your domain and the topics and related topics you’re producing content for.

Make sure also to avoid placing this content on a subdomain (for example: content.yoursite.com). Subdomains are seen and treated as “separate” sites by search algorithms, so having good content live there won’t allow you to leverage the authority of content throughout your main site, and also won’t contribute more authority. Instead, place them in their own folder structure like any other page on your site (www.yoursite.com/info/page1.aspx ; www.yoursite.com/info/page2.aspx, etc.) askanexpert-subdomains-microsites-bikes

Let’s look at a full example—maybe this time something more seasonally relevant, like bikes!

Say you’re a bike shop and you know everything about bikes. It’s time to prove to Google that YOU are a real bike authority! Problem is, your website has two pages and all it does is sell bikes…so how is a bot supposed to know? Feed it (and your customers) some of your knowledge!

Here are the five awesome webpage articles you’ve written, all related to bikes and bike equipment:

  • Finding the Perfect Sized Bike
  • Bike Helmet Safety Tips
  • Guide to Bike Tires
  • Comfortable Bike Seats
  • Specialty Bike Shoes

Now what?

Step 1: Place them on your site just like a normal page – preferably with a nice short and clean URL like: www.mybikes.com/comfortable-bike-seats.aspx.

Step 2: Give your content a home. If you have a main bikes page, make sure these helpful articles are being linked to from that page or the home page, or even incorporate them into your navigation. This will help them to become seen and indexed by search engines and gives them page rank with good interlinking.

Step 3: Create “content hubs” with these articles so that they all link together and to other related information on your site. This helps with indexation, shows relationship and provides visitors with more and more info they can digest.

Step 4: Profit.

Just remember the word “authority” and that building a credible domain with content can really help you with your search visibility, so don’t split it up by putting that great content you wrote on other domains or sub domains.

I look forward to getting and answering more questions—so stay tuned!

Got a question for our experts? Tell us in the comments, or email us at info@relevance.com.

Image credit: Wikimedia

Mitch Briggs

Mitch Briggs

Mitch Briggs is a Senior Inbound Consultant at digitalrelevance.
Mitch Briggs
Mitch Briggs

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Ask An SEO Expert | 2 Comments

2 thoughts on “Microsites vs Subdomains: Which Is Better For SEO?

  1. I generally run with microsites for affiliate marketing that way all my content is surrounding 1 central topic. Of course you can do that with subdomains, but I think searchers may think a sub domain is spam.

  2. Pingback: What Is A Microsite? - Allen J Cochran

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