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I have a software company where we sell desktop software to a particular niche. Our domain rating according to ahrefs is 70+ and our site performs very well in organic search.

I have wanted to have a blog where I post about technical and programming subjects, but not ones that are necessarily of interest to all customers. It would be more about how we make the product, technical challenges we encounter, etc but not about how to use the product.

I am trying to consider if I should host this blog on:

  1. The primary domain, branded with our normal branding
  2. The primary domain, but in a subfolder (ie /techblog) with it's own branding/appearance
  3. A totally separate domain, perhaps my personal site.

I am wondering:

  1. Is it harmful to have an off-topic blog hosted on the primary site?
  2. Are there SEO benefits if the tech blog attracts links?
  3. Are there SEO harms if those links are using keywords that aren't our primary keywords?
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  • You mean the primary domain, in a subfolder? Nov 5 at 13:48
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    @MikeCiffone - apologies, I meant in in a subfolder. I've edited the question.
    – DHamrick
    Nov 5 at 13:52
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I get this sort of question a lot from my clients, and in response I usually flip it back with the question would informal/casual content be off brand for their business.

I'm going to start with your latter 3 more direct questions and then end with where/how you should host the blog.


  1. Is it harmful to have an off-topic blog hosted on the primary site?

The question is how off-topic. To me, an off-topic blog would be like a metal fabrication shop blogging about cupcake recipes.

That would be harmful for the metal fab shop because the semantics are all over the place. This stark of a contrast would surely throw a search engine for a loop.

For a software company, posting about technical and programming subjects will do nothing but drive more traffic and increase your thought leadership within your industry. While the content might be "off-topic" and not as interesting to your customers, they might like it, because technical content is authoritative. The effect might be that it increases their confidence in working with you.

If your business was to come to me and ask "Hey Mike how can we increase our traffic?" I would recommend potentially "off-topic" content as a strategy.


  1. Are there SEO benefits if the tech blog attracts links?

Tons. Just because you already have a high domain rating does not mean you don't need links! A evolving, changing, living backlink profile is how a site remains relevant in the eyes of a search engine.

Attracting links is beneficial for a variety of reasons. Here's a great article about many of the direct benefits of link building.


  1. Are there SEO harms if those links are using keywords that aren't our primary keywords?

No, the result will simply be that your site begins ranking for more keywords.

At some point as the blog grows you may risk the content cannibalizing pages that are ranking high and driving important traffic to the business. If the one of your blog posts competes for the same keyword as salesy/business blog post, but the search intent is different, that is not cannibalization.

One person could have informational intent, the other commercial intent. In other words, in the first case the user is interested in the topic overall.

Here's one of my favorite articles on keyword cannibalization.

Where should you host this blog?

I've witnessed businesses engage in a ton of internal drama over content decisions like this. Although it wouldn't be a concern of mine, I can't say that potentially not jiving with your customer base is not a valid concern. If we were dealing with a new site fresh domain I'd be for hosting on your main blog to build up your authority and get things moving.

In your case, since we're dealing with a matured site, I would throw it on a sub-domain!

acmesoftware.com // Official Business

blog.acmesoftware.com // Your blog ​

No harm in that, and you'll still get the benefit of all the topical association, while also building a separate (yet connected) backlink profile.

One of my most opinionated pieces (which is broadly about my philosophy toward SEO) has been incredibly popular with my clients. I've gained 3 clients to date from it without having the "sell" for a second.

In the case that a subdomain is not possible, I would probably opt to register a .dev domain. So you'd have:

acmesoftware.com // Official business site
acmesoftware.dev // Developer journal

Overall

In cases like this, if the domain has enough authority to go the subdomain route, I often prefer it.

I like subdomain here because you're talking about starting a blog that (it sounds like) covers technical/programming topics more broadly than what relates to the businesses. With this route you don't have to worry about how certain content might affect your main sites "topical reputation", if you will.

In your question you also mentioned the idea of to hosting this on your personal site - it feels like the content you want to write is a different style, prose, tone of voice, than what your company might normally post. Other developers at your business might want to post too? A subdomain allows the blog to feel like your own separate thing.

Some additional benefits might include:

  • You want to use a plain Jane design (popular in the development community)
  • Your main site is huge and you don't want to worry about crawl rate/budget
  • You might want to run a different stack

None of this is to say that a subdomain blog is better than a subdirectory blog. Or that hosting your blog on a subdirectory is at all bad. If your company's site had a lower domain rating...something between like 0 and ~50, a subdomain would not be a great idea - id be concerned about ranking limitations (PageRank). Like I said before, high authority sites can get away with it.

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    Thanks for the fantastic/detailed answer Mike. All else being equal, is there any downside to hosting on the main site (for easier technical reasons)? Or do you think a subdomain is preferable?
    – DHamrick
    Nov 5 at 20:23
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    Sure thing. I appended the answer with more info! Nov 5 at 21:38
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    Made a couple more edits, reads a bit differently in certain sections now. Nov 5 at 22:09
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    I agree, subdomain will be the best solution
    – skill
    Nov 6 at 2:40
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Assuming that the BLOG is irrelevant to your business (ie covers different subject matter which does not overlap with that you are trying to rank for)
I somewhat disagree with the other answer here - and I have first-hand experience with exactly this problem.

Where to host the blog -

  • A separate domain is by far the best bet.
  • It is generally thought that a subfolder with its own branding/appearance will be OK. I disagree, for the reasons in the next point
  • Hosting on a subdomain - In theory subdomains are much harder to rank, which means it should have little impact on your main website - but my experience tells me otherwise. When searching for my website, my BLOG - which is largely unrelated to my website and on a separate subdomain ( - came up, diluting my brand and making it difficult to rank.

Impact of the blog -

  • In theory, Google treats pages separately (Pagerank vs site rank). My experience tells me otherwise. I expect 10-20 years ago, having a seperate page would have been fine.

  • Unless the BLOG is relevant to the business, SEO benefits will not not accrue (and could actively harm) the SEO for the business if its linked.

  • I understand that Google does take into account menus and logos/marks/images when building its index (and even mines video the same way). Having company branding on your page will at best be be irrelevant but might hurt your site - especially if you are using sub-pages and a common navigation structure.

  • Its worth considering the future - having the site totally separate will make future redevelopment of the site that much easier.

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  • Does your domain have over a 70 Domain Rating? Nov 7 at 6:18
  • @mileciffone doubt it.
    – davidgo
    Nov 7 at 8:45
  • Then yeah I think your advice here is good and practical, but since OP's company site does have that authority it becomes much less difficult to rank the subdomain. In this case - the blog on a subdomain gives OP the best of both worlds. It won't conflict with the rest of the business site and google can still understand that the blog is related to the organization. The blog content will be relevant to the business - programming/tech blog x software company. It will increase the entity/organization's E-A-T. Nov 7 at 17:55

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