A woman on Macbook Pro working on creating subdomains as part of her clients SEO strategy

What is a Subdomain and How it Fits into SEO 

September 21st, 2022 | Author: Mo Farazi | SEO

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As digital marketing rapidly evolves and search rankings grow increasingly competitive, many brands are setting their sights on new and innovative techniques for edging out the competition. And since brand experiences culminate on a brand’s website, it’s no surprise that it’s the site of many optimizations to ensure a seamless and engaging user experience.

One of these new, significant improvements is building a subdomain. Many marketers recommend it as a strategy for boosting SEO — a way to maximize ranking potential and capture a larger share of search traffic.

But, what exactly is a subdomain, and how does it work? Can it really help increase your search rankings? Let’s find out.

What is a subdomain?

You’ve likely encountered subdomains while browsing or shopping. One-click on a certain link, and you notice that the URL has changed. You may be wondering if you’re still on the same site.

The answer is yes and no.

A subdomain is another part of a website—essentially a subset—that lives in or is nested in the domain. For example, if your main website URL is www.brandname.com, a subdomain for a dedicated e-commerce platform could be www.shop.brandname.com.

Subdomains are typically used to house an entire section of a website, designed to offer a unique or separate experience from the main site. In many cases, a subdomain allows you to build a “micro” site with a unique design and functionality. This offers more flexibility, allowing you to provide more information or seamlessly integrate a more complex eCommerce backend without loading all that data onto your main site.

And it’s not just eCommerce. Even Google is a fan of subdomains, often hosting apps like Maps and Support on their own subdomains, much like sub-categories.

How are subdomains used?

Subdomains have a lot of applications. While eCommerce is one of the most popular, there are other practical uses for subdomains, especially for larger sites with a lot of content. For example, if you have a content library with lots of articles, reports, manuals, and user guides, housing these on a subdomain can help streamline your site.

Essentially, having a subdomain allows you to establish a dedicated site hierarchy. In an eCommerce subdomain, you can set the shop URL as the homepage and build out the rest of the store from there.

Here’s a quick summary of what subdomains are typically good for:

  • Organize content
  • Provide in-depth information on a certain topic
  • Leverage geo-targeted pages or local SEO
  • Boost SEO and domain authority
  • Set up an eCommerce platform or library, and more.

Now, keep in mind that not every eCommerce shop or content library may need or benefit from a subdomain. You should only use one if your website absolutely needs one.

Are subdomains good for SEO? How a subdomain impacts search rankings

A digital marketers hand pointing at image of SEO subdomain bar graph trending up

Now that you know what subdomains are and how they can improve the user experience, it’s time to dive right in. Find out how a subdomain fits into your SEO strategy:

1. Better user experience, lower bounce rate

A streamlined website is easy to navigate. Too much content—and a lack of organization—can overwhelm a user, causing them to bounce out.

In contrast, a subdomain allows you to segment your site into distinct sections. As a result, you can greatly improve the user experience. This can help users shop more easily or quickly locate a user guide without dealing with bloated site navigation.

An improved user experience can help keep users on-site for longer. This reduces your bounce rate while increasing the chances of users completing a desired action. Overall, Google rewards this behaviour by considering bounce rate as a ranking factor.

2. Cater to international markets

As eCommerce grows more sophisticated, so does your ability to expand to more markets and meet the changing demands of customer service. So, for example, even if your store is based in Canada, you’ll need to provide a seamless shopping experience for customers globally.

A subdomain allows you to do just that. You can provide various functionalities to shoppers in every region. More importantly, you can leverage local SEO techniques to target customers in various geographic markets. With a dedicated subdomain and tailored content, you can dominate search across regions.

3. Insert keywords into your URL

Did you know that the URL is one of the top ranking factors? It’s why having a good URL that’s clearly tied to your brand is crucial for SEO. That’s also why it’s smart to use targeted keywords as a site URL.

But since your main website URL is likely —and should be—your brand name, how can you leverage keyword-led URLs?

Simple—with a subdomain. You can use a few subdomains to target a keyword and build out content from there. This can be especially helpful if the name of your business doesn’t match your products. With a subdomain and tailored content, you can greatly improve SEO and boost your rankings for the most competitive product searches.

4. Boost domain authority

One of the biggest benefits of using a subdomain is its impact on domain authority. While subdomains are typically treated as separate from the main website, they can still help boost SEO. Subdomains do this by broadening your real estate for targeting crucial keywords, allowing you to increase the overall visibility of your brand and earn more traffic.

5. Build your authority in niche markets 

Similar to catering to international audiences, subdomains are also useful for competing in niche markets. While your main website can target broader audiences, you can use a subdomain to cater to a niche market. 

With an integrated SEO, content marketing, and user experience strategy, you can boost your authority in this space. Essentially, a subdomain allows you to expand to new markets while maintaining traffic on your main website.

Create Subdomains and Boost SEO with Consultus Digital

Now that you know what subdomains are, it’s time to try them out for yourself. Whether you’re catering to an international audience or starting up in a niche market, want to boost domain authority, or improve user experience, Consultus Digital can help.

Our SEO agency in Toronto has the expertise required to determine whether a subdomain is right for you, and how it can boost your search rankings. With Consultus, you get the full package—from analyzing your current website and market to setting up your subdomain, web development, and SEO. Our agency’s SEO experts are here for you at every step, with the latest tools and techniques required to launch subdomains successfully.
Want to find out if subdomains are the right for your brand? Find out from Consultus Digital, Toronto’s leading SEO agency. Get in touch with us today to learn about the SEO benefits of subdomains.

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