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Is there any downside to redirecting the root domain and the www subdomain to a subdomain of my choice?

For example, redirecting smith.com and www.smith.com to john.smith.com.

I was talking to someone who works in SEO about doing this and they said that I would lose page authority - but I can't beleive that would be true as long as I implemented it properly with a 301 (permanent) redirect. Then again, when I googled it I found an answer here on webmasters where someone commented a similar thing (though it hasn't been given any positive or negative votes).

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    It's not an SEO reason, but subdomains are harder for usability because they are more to type. – Stephen Ostermiller Oct 17 '17 at 19:23
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    That is a good point @StephenOstermiller , thank you. However, in this case that might not be true. The domain we're looking at buying is a persons full name, i.e. firstnamelastname.com. What I'm considering doing is buying lastname.com and creating a subdomain with their firstname so their website would be firstname.lastname.com. (So we're looking at an increase of 1 character, but if they attempted to go to lastname.com they would be redirected to firstname.lastname.com, so in that case we'd be saving 10 characters.) – Josh Oct 17 '17 at 19:38
  • Unless the name is extremely long, I would not do this. Even then I would rather choose another domain name than redirect to a sub-domain. If the name is manageable, such as josephschwartz then in would go with a single domain name and not complicate things unnecessary. – closetnoc Oct 17 '17 at 22:31
  • Have you considered dividing names into folders? example: example.com/lastname/firstname – Mike Oct 18 '17 at 0:29
  • Another thought is that sub-domains borrow most all trust metrics from the parent domain since it is only the domain that can aquire these metrics. If the parent domain is not building trust, then the sub-domain cannot gain more trust value from the parent and therefore can only perform in as much as it can without building trust. This is not the entire story. Some trust can be built by the sub-domain, however, it will not reach the same potential as if you used the parent domain. Cheers!! – closetnoc Oct 18 '17 at 2:24
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Here is an excellent article explaining how domains and subdomains impact SEO. To summarize, subdomains have a relative dependence, not absolute, on the root domain. Bad SEO on a subdomain can negatively impact your root domain. Better to use subdirectories like www.mysite.com/blog than subdomains like blog.mysite.com so that all downstream pages can benefit from the keyword placement on your root domain. Keyword placement feeds down, not up. Subdirectories receive and pass page rank and link "juice", so benefits flow both ways. However, do not go crazy with subdirectories or you will dilute the benefits.

  • Thank you for sharing - I will make the time to read it in detail soon. However, I think a distinction between what most articles discuss and what I will be doing is that they are talking about subdomain vs subdirectory, where as I am talking about forcing the subdomain in all cases. The whole website would essentially be hosted on this subdomain. The subdomain couldn't damage the root domain, because there is nothing there to be damaged, they will for all intents and purposes be one in the same thing. – Josh Oct 18 '17 at 19:00
  • Then you should be fine SEO wise. As long as your "primary" domain is xxx.mysite.com and you do not use any SEO directed at mysite.com then there should be no interference. – Lena Weber Oct 19 '17 at 10:05

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