According to Google, its search index contains hundreds of billions of web pages. Did you say Billions? *Lifts Evil pinky finger to mouth* While this number is undoubtedly overwhelming, your website only needs to compete with a small fraction of these web pages for a spot in Google's top 10 search results for a keyword.
Ranking well in search engines is critical to customers finding you online. So you want to ensure you understand the impact any change in your site's structure will have on SEO. The creation of a subdomain is no exception.
So what is a subdomain, and what impact does it have on your site's SEO? Before creating a subdomain for your WordPress site, here's what you need to know.
What Is a Subdomain?
No, its not a popular spot to buy a foot long. A subdomain is an additional section, or a subsection, of your website that has a prefix in the URL before the primary domain name. For example, the domain name of this site is "ishouldbeyourwpguy.com." A subdomain of this domain might be "support.ishouldbeyourwpguy.com."
Perhaps the most important thing to know about the domain name system and subdomains is that search engines treat a subdomain as a separate site from the primary domain. Any SEO optimization you do for your primary website domain will not impact your subdomain's SEO and vice versa. Good to know!
For WordPress sites, a subdomain requires its own installation of WordPress unless you have WordPress Multisite.
What Is the Difference Between a Subdomain and Subdirectory?
A subdirectory comes after the primary domain name in a URL. Referring to the above example, "support" in "support.ishouldbeyourwpguy.com" designates a subdomain. However, in the URL "ishouldbeyourwpguy.com/support/," "support" is a subdirectory.
Subdirectories can help you organize your site content. The OCD in me is loving this!
Suppose your site has a "help" subdirectory. You would upload your site's help content under this subdirectory. Subdirectories allow visitors and search engines to better understand your site's organization. Thanks subdirectories!
Search engines don't treat subdirectories as separate sites, so any SEO optimization to pages within a subdirectory can help your overall site SEO.
When Should You Use a Subdomain?
If a subdomain is treated separately from your primary domain and does not share SEO benefits, why in the world would you ever use a subdomain in your website development?
Many sites will never need a subdomain, but here are a few examples of when a site might:
- To serve an audience that speaks a different language than visitors to the main site
- To allow physical locations of a chain of restaurants or stores to each have a dedicated webpage
- To create an internal blog for employees that is separate from the blog for customers
Why Are Subdomains Important to Your Small Business?
Subdomains prevent cluttered and confusing websites by creating easy-to-remember and clear website addresses. They allow you to organize your website's information and content under different departments or sections, making it easier for visitors to find what they're looking for. Plus, subdomains can also provide added security by segregating different parts of your website and keeping any breaches limited to a smaller area.
Small businesses can also use subdomains to create mini-websites for specific events or promotions, without having to create an entirely new website. By having a separate subdomain for a promotion, businesses can create a unique experience for their customers and track traffic and engagement independently from their main website.
Could Your WordPress Site Benefit from a Subdomain?
Now that you've gotten answers to 'what is a subdomain' and 'when should you use a subdomain,' perhaps you see your site benefiting from having a subdomain. You also might think it sounds kind of technical. That's because it is. It involves changes to your site's DNS records and perhaps another WordPress installation.
Why not let someone familiar with DNS and WordPress set up your subdomain with a properly configured WordPress installation and theme set-up for the web design of the new subdomain? It can save you time and frustration.
Schedule an appointment with us if you need help setting up a subdomain. We'll work with you to ensure your new subdomain and WordPress installation are configured correctly.
What is a Subdomain? Summary
• Google's search index contains hundreds of billions of web pages, but only a small fraction of these are needed to compete for a spot in the top 10 search results.
• Subdomains are additional sections or subsections of a website and are treated as separate sites by search engines, so SEO optimization is independent between primary domain and subdomain.
• Subdirectories come after the domain name and help organize content, and SEO optimization to pages within them impacts overall site SEO.
• Subdomains can be used for different language audiences, physical locations, or internal blogs for employees separate from customers.
• Setting up a subdomain requires DNS records modification and possibly another WordPress installation.