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We thought we would generate postive SEO results by putting our links into sudomains off of our main site.

So our main site is foo.com and the link to a clinic would then be clinic1.foo.com, clinic2.foo.com, etc.

I'm only seeing via google webmaster tools that 2 of our pages are being indexed on foo.com, as we are early on in launching, should we abandon this scheme and go with a more traditional subdirectory URL structure?

If you would like to see the live version rather then the example above you can find it via http://bit.ly/1GyyKdT and you can simply click on any clinic.

Thanks in advance.

  • I am confused by this. What specifically is your question? How long have you waited to be indexed? What does your links to sub-domain have to do with the issue? What is your concern there? Search engines are not real-time. It can take months for a site to indexed. – closetnoc Jun 24 '15 at 14:39
  • "generate postive SEO results" - In what way? It looks like you are using (nested) subdomains instead of (what should be) a URL path? – MrWhite Jun 24 '15 at 15:07
  • @closetnoc The site would have been live for over 6 weeks, only 2 pages show as indexed in webmaster tools, did we go down a path we shouldn't have to get keywords in our domain structure. – Mark Jun 24 '15 at 16:15
  • @w3d Our thought was to reap some SEO authority from having the keywords in relation to the clinics as part of the subdomain, rather then parameter. I"m starting to think we should just reverse this and go with parameters after the subdomain. – Mark Jun 24 '15 at 16:17
  • "only 2 pages show as indexed in webmaster tools" - part of the problem with subdomains and Google Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is you would have to add and verify every single subdomain as a separate "site" (a bit of a nightmare)! If you've verified foo.com then this will only report the indexed pages on foo.com, not x.foo.com. Try a site:foo.com search to get a better idea of what has been indexed. – MrWhite Jun 24 '15 at 17:31
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There is not enough information to make a full recommendation, however, I can say this:

  • Make your site for humans and not machines.
  • Any trick or scheme to increase search performance will largely fail.
  • It is far better to create one good site than many lesser sites.

Each sub-domain is a site. These will all be related within a single realm by virtue of the fact that they are sub-domains of the parent. Link schemes can be discovered using AI (artificial intelligence) with a long history of pattern recognition as seed data makes pattern matching very trivial. Keyword links to keyword sub-domains should be an easy pattern to detect. Each site has to perform on it's own including sub-domains. If any site does not contain sufficient content, they will be seen as thin and will not rank. As well, the lack of performance for one or more sub-domains will effect the parent site and vice-versa. If a site is new, then ranking will be difficult enough without adding complication into the mix.

As far as parameters go, they perform nearly as well as directories normally and can have some advantages over directories. Parameters should be something easily recognized such as user=value, page=value, etc. Each value should be something easily recognizable too. Parameters such as ?x=312&t=202&u=0836728 offers absolutely no value whereas ?page=how-to-fight-referrer-spam&tag=referrer-spam&user=unclefester will. In this way, you can rank moderately well as long as you are not getting carried away.

My advice is to remove the sub-domains and simply create one fantastic site.

The reality these days is that websites over time have had to compete with a wider array of other websites and through evolution, the natural order of things, websites have gotten better and have become more search efficient. This means the bar is constantly being raised and you have to work harder to compete day by day. There is no substitute for content content content that performs performs performs. No trickery can overcome lack of preparation or short-cut the processes. It is simply impossible to make-up for lack of performance. Any site will have to fight for a period before they can compete with sites that already exists. They paid their dues and so must any new site. It is that simple. It takes time and work to rank.

  • Just to add, regarding the URL "parameters" (also mentioned in comments above). These don't necessarily need to be in the form of a query string in the public URL. These could still be part of the URL-path. eg. If the URL (with subdomains) is currently foo.bar.example.com/file then this could become: example.com/bar/foo/file. – MrWhite Jun 24 '15 at 17:42
  • @w3d I agree!! Directories (or faking it) is far better with the exception of being able to present data pairs for example, ?domain=example.com&ip=10.109.13.117&asn=ASN21345. Sneaky ain't I?? – closetnoc Jun 24 '15 at 18:14

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