Performing an audit of all of the subdomains used on your website is the first step toward developing a domain name strategy for optimal ranking for your brand in search engines.
Why is a domain name audit important?
I came across a blog post today which provided some excellent reasons why keeping track of all of your subdomains can be crucial to your seo strategy. Having multiple subdomains attached to your brand can dilute your seo power and even lower your ranking.
For example, if you develop a new subdomain every time you launch a new online product, such as a blog, (www.domain-blog.com), the link “juice” for this new subdomain has to be built from scratch in the search engines. That subdomain for your blog is its own island, and it’s not providing any assistance to your core domain (your core website). However, if instead of developing a subdomain for your blog, you instead created a section for it (www.domain.com/blog), your site will benefit from the link juice going to that new site section.
How to Take an Audit of your existing subdomains
The best way to start to audit all of the subdomains lurking on your site is to perform a manual search, clicking around to every area of your site (header links, footer links, subscription forms, online products) and documenting any subdomains. In addition, you can perform Google searches to help ensure that you have covered all the subdomains by typing in site:http://domain.com –inurl:www.
What can you do?
After you have performed your subdomain audit, it is now to time to strategize. Make sure that all of the subdomains are active and relevant. For example, if one of your subdomains is pointing to a trade show site that is two years old, it might be a good idea to 301 redirect that url to a related page on your core site (maybe an event listing page). That will give your core site more power in search engines and also provide relevant information to visitors who click on that link. It’s better to redirect a visitor to updated information than have them go to an outdated show site. They might think your content is stale and can hurt your brand’s reputation and deter that visitor from coming back to your core site.
Also, if you are in the process of redesigning your website, and you are using a staging server, make sure that the staging server’s domain name (beta.domain.com, for example) is not being indexed by search engine spiders. Not only can that hurt your search engine power, but it can also reveal your redesigned site before you are ready.
Where can you go for help?
If you would like help performing your domain name audit, WBC is happy to help you gather your subdomains and develop a strategy that can help you maximize your position in search engines.
Further reading: If you are interested in the topic of subdomain auditing, I strongly recommend you read this blog post for more information.