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LostInParadise's avatar

Will my Web site's rating be affected by the fact that it can be reached using subdomains other than www?

Asked by LostInParadise (18329 points ) March 19th, 2011

My Web site is www.mathed.org, but it can be reached using anything in place of the www. I have seen people using hello.mathed.org and ricktoms.mathed.org. If these are the contents of links, will this affect my Google ranking? I have spoken to the host provider and they say that this is how they set up all their sites.

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6 Answers

funkdaddy's avatar

Each is seen as a separate site to Google, so your results will be split as will your page rank and total pages. You may also run into some problems with Google seeing some of your content as duplicate, although I think this is less of a problem than in the past within the same domain. Either way, better to fix it if you’d like people to find you via search.

Does your host allow you to upload an .htaccess file? You could easily redirect all other subdomains to just use www.mathed.org (unless you have some subdomains you’re actually using for separate content) or no subdomain at all, whichever you prefer. This was be the easiest and most comprehensive way to solve the problem.

Here’s a discussion that seems to fit your scenario and includes a solution.

And here’s an htaccess primer for some background if you’re interested (you may already be familiar, but never hurts to throw it in).

I hope it helps.

LostInParadise's avatar

Thanks. Now I will have to check to see if I can upload the file to my host.

ETpro's avatar

@funkdaddy According to Google’s Matt Cutts, blog.mydomain.com and www.mydomain.com/blog show do equally well for PR and their content attach to the MyDomain.com for SEO purposes. What you do not want to do is post duplicate content under multiple subdomains. That looks spammy, and will get spanked.

@LostInParadise As to ease of maintenance, Matt mentions and I agree that unless the site needs a whole separate content management system, using a subdirectory is easier to set up and to maintain than a subdomain.

blueiiznh's avatar

the webcrawlers will find it

funkdaddy's avatar

@ETpro – it’s a little bit different situation…

the links @LostInParadise gave in the question show the exact same content regardless of the subdomain used… you could use anything for the subdomain portion and it will always show the same, so it’s not a question of the best way to divide the content

For example, if a spider follows the incoming links from this post it will index each as a separate page and rather than all the “juice” going to mathed.org, you’re going to see that split between the various subdomains used as examples.

The same happens when half your links would come in to a www.domain.com and half would come to just domain.com. Because we can’t control how people show the link, we have to do something about where that link points, and htaccess takes care of that in a way that spiders can follow to realize it’s all the same content/page in reality.

He can do the same here, not lose any incoming links (or people/traffic) and move on to math fame and math fortune.

The link to Matt Cutts shows that subdomains don’t receive any benefit (or penalty) over directories as a way to separate content.

ETpro's avatar

@funkdaddy Thanks for noting that. As I mentioned in my answer, that is a definite no-no. Whether inadvertent or by design, it’s seen by search spiders as spammy. I just didn’t want to see subdomains condemned for things where they make perfect sense, such as when your site is using a cart as a content manager but you want a Wordpress CMS for a blog.

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