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Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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Is It A Google Ranking Factor?


Subdomains and subdirectories allow you to organize specific types of content on your website.

But can the use of subdomains or subdirectories affect your organic search rankings?

Read on to learn whether there is any connection between subdomains, subdirectories, and improved Google rankings.

The Claim: Subdomains & Subdirectories Are Ranking Factors

What are subdomains and subdirectories?

Subdomains are sections of your website.

Examples of subdomains include the bolded portions of the following URLs:

  • https://corporate.example.com/
  • https://store.example.com/
  • https://blog.example.com/

Subdirectories, on the other hand, are folders in your domains. You can have subdirectories on the main domain as well as on your subdirectories.

Examples of subdirectories include the bolded portions of the following URLs:

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  • https://example.com/store/
  • https://example.com/blog/
  • https://blog.example.com/category/

The Evidence For Subdomains & Subdirectories As Ranking Factors

In 2007, Matt Cutts, formerly the head of Google’s Webspam Team, wrote a blog post on subdomains and subdirectories.

In it, he stated,

“A subdomain can be useful to separate out content that is completely different.”

In 2011, in response to Google’s Panda update, HubPages moved their user-generated content to subdomains.

As reported by WSJ and Search Engine Watch, HubPages:

“…have returned to pre-Panda [traffic] levels in the first three weeks since he activated subdomains for himself and several other authors. The other authors saw significant, if not full, recoveries of web traffic.”

The Evidence Against Subdomains & Subdirectories As Ranking Factors

Google has confirmed how they handle subdomains and subdirectories on a few occasions.

In the Google Search Central Support documentation, you’ll find the following:

“Is it better to use subfolders or subdomains?

You should choose whatever is easiest for you to organize and manage. From an indexing and ranking perspective, Google doesn’t have a preference.”

In 2013, Cutts answered the same question on how Google views subdomains and subdirectories:

“They are roughly the equivalent. I would basically go with whichever is easier for you in terms of configuration, your CMSs [content management systems]… all of that sort of stuff.”

Cutts gave an example of this, using a business that wants to use a different CMS (such as WordPress VIP or Tumblr) to power its blog.

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He went on to say that historically, Google would show two results per host. This allowed webmasters to abuse subdomains, making enough to take over search results.

Google updated their algorithm to only show one or two results per domain, making it harder for subdomains to take more spots in search results.

In 2018, John Mueller, Google Search Advocate, was clear in his response as to what was best for SEO – subdomains or subdirectories:

“Google Web Search is fine with using either subdomains or subdirectories.”

He went on to discuss the difference in processing between subdomains and subdirectories:

“Some servers make it easier to set up different parts of a website as subdirectories. This helps us with crawling since we understand everything is on the same server and can crawl it in a similar way.”

With regards to subdirectories, Mueller said:

“You’ll need to verify subdomains separately in Search Console, make any changes to settings, and track overall performance per subdomain. We do have to learn how to crawl them separately, but for the most part that’s just a formality for the first few days.”

Subdomains & Subdirectories As Ranking Factors: Our Verdict

Since you have to verify subdomains separately in Search Console, but not subdirectories, it is safe to assume Google treats subdomains as separate websites.

This doesn’t mean using either subdomains or subdirectories is a Google ranking factor.

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Featured Image: Robin Biong/Search Engine Journal





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What You Need To Know

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What You Need To Know

How do you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns?

Have you ever felt that some marketing channels’ data seems to be located in “a void” – meaning it’s hard to discover their actual impact?

Channels like connected TV, satellite radio, digital advertising, email, and social networks have made marketing campaign analysis a complex field for marketers.

But you can find valuable insights for your strategies – if you know where to look.

Luckily, you’ll uncover precisely where this hidden data lies, right now.

On September 28, I moderated a webinar by Shaubhik Ray, Senior Director of Digital Analytics at iQuanti.

Ray explained how you can improve your ability to predict the success of your marketing programs.

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Here is a summary of the webinar.

To access the entire presentation, complete the form.

The What, Why & How Of Marketing Effectiveness

Marketing effectiveness goes hand-in-hand with efficiency. If your marketing is performing effectively, the cost of acquiring or executing a campaign is more efficient.

The underlying goal of all marketers is to understand the actual return on their investment in different channels.

It’s important to measure marketing effectiveness because you want to optimize:

  • Marketing performance.
  • Marketing budget.
  • Business performance.

However, isn’t always easy to track due to external and internal factors.

[Learn Your Barriers Of Effectiveness] Instantly access the webinar →

Measurement Techniques To Use To Guage Success

First, create a KPI framework to identify your important business KPIs.

Next, design a solution to capture your company’s KPIs accurately.

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Then, standardize your channel data collection.

Finally, develop a structured approach to identify what marketing KPIs should be collected for measuring business success.

iQuanti, September 2022

Once you understand the different metrics you’re capturing, focus on standardizing how you capture this data.

These methods can include:

  • Campaign tagging framework.
  • Campaign naming conventions.
  • Roll-out of a campaign tracker.

[Easy Technique: Learn How To Use Google & Facebook For Data Collection] Instantly access the webinar →

Advanced Techniques For Measuring Effectiveness

You can measure marketing campaign effectiveness by tracking:

  • Attribution.
  • Cause & Effect.
  • Marketing Mix Modeling.

Digital Attribution

Digital Attribution is the science of assigning credit to each marketing touch point of the customer journey based on that touch point’s influence on their ultimate conversion decision.

Measuring Marketing Effectiveness: What You Need To KnowiQuanti, September 2022

Approaches include rule-based and algorithmic attribution.

[Learn What These Are & How They Help] Instantly access the webinar →

Incrementality: Proving Cause & Effect

Incrementality in marketing is the lift or increase in the desired business outcome (e.g., awareness, web visits, conversions, revenue) resulting from a marketing intervention.

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You can approach this on a user level or geo-level.

[Learn More] Instantly access the webinar →

Marketing Mix Modeling

Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) is a statistical technique used to identify and quantify the relationship between a pre-defined KPI like sales and the factors influencing them.

This approach is privacy friendly, holistic, and flexible.

[See it in action] Instantly access the webinar →

Metrics For Measuring Marketing Spend

By analyzing the spend metrics you’re tracking for the particular campaign, you can get a good understanding of how effective different campaigns are.

There are a lot of spend metrics, but the three cost metrics that help you understand how well each of your campaigns is performing are:

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  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).
  • Cost Per Incremental Acquisition (CPIA).
  • Marginal Cost Per Acquisition (MCPA).

[Take a closer look at each metric] Instantly access the webinar →

Now that you know the techniques and metrics, you can go on selection.

How To Select The Right Measurement Techniques

Consider the following factors while selecting the proper measurement techniques:

  • Availability Of Data
    • Is the data foundation in place?
    • Availability of historical data and granularity of data.
  • Availability Of Resources
    • What’s the current tech stack for measurement?
    • Access to skilled resources.
  • The Use Case
    • The primary objective of the analysis.
    • Industry and customer journeys (path to conversion).

Knowing where to look allows you to find valuable insights for your strategies, gain clarity, and move in the right direction with your campaigns.

[Find Your Best Measurement Technique] Instantly access the webinar →

Measuring Marketing Effectiveness: What You Need To Know [Webinar]

Here’s the presentation:

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

6 Keys Your Business Needs To Win With Your Marketing Agency

Building trust with your agency and establishing a strong marketing foundation is a sure-fire way to take your business to the next level. This webinar will walk you through ways to have a clear, transparent and trusting partnership with your agency and drive results.


Image Credits:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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