Which are better for
building link popularity?
By Nicole Ephgrave
Do you want the search engines to LOVE you?
Then you’ve got to become an online “authority figure” in your industry.
The best way to do that is to build a large website filled with lots of content-rich pages your audience will want to link to from their websites, blogs, and pages on social media sites such as Facebook.
(As you probably know, the more links pointing to your website from complementary websites, the better! All those links tell the search engines your site is a valuable resource in your niche market — and that will help you skyrocket to the top of the search engine listings.)
But how do you add all those content-rich pages to your site?
Well, you have two options I’m going to tell you about in just a moment…
… But first, I want to go over some basic Internet terms — such as URL, domain name, sub-domain, and sub-directory — so the rest of the article makes sense to you.
Now, as you may or may not know, “URL” stands for “uniform resource locator,” which is just a fancy way of saying, “web address.”
For example, the URL for IMC’s main homepage is http://www.marketingtips.com.
A URL is different from a domain name because it includes all the characters of the web address (including the “http” and the “www”), while a domain name is simply the “root” part of the address — e.g., marketingtips.com.)
… Are you still with me? 😉
Okay, let’s say the URL for your sales site is http://www.yoursite.com. When you add new pages — such as articles — to your website, you can do so in two ways:
1. You can create a “sub-domain” URL for it, where the name of the new page comes BEFORE your main domain name — such as: http://articlename.yoursite.com.
— OR —
2. You can create a “sub-directory,” where the name of the new page comes AFTER your main domain name — such as: http://yoursite.com/articlename.
With a sub-domain — e.g., http://articlename.yoursite.com — you have the advantage of being able to put one of your top keywords before your domain name, which means you stand a better chance of getting the search engines to index the page for that keyword.
(Provided you’ve also strategically placed the keyword throughout your site code and content, of course!)
For example, if one of your top keywords is “dog training tips” then you can set up the sub-domain, http://dogtrainingtips.yoursite.com.
However, the downside of a sub-domain is that most search engines will tend to treat it as its own separate web address. And that means any external links pointing to a sub-domain won’t count as links to your main domain — which sort of defeats the purpose, don’t you think?
On the other hand, a sub-directory (http://yoursite.com/newsletter) is a folder within your main site, and is considered to be part of your main site. So every link that points to a sub-directory page will count as a link to your main domain.
In fact, with sub-directories, if you already have a keyword-rich domain name, you can use that keyword in your sub-directory name AND in the name of the file itself, like:
Talk about a “keyword punch!”
That’s why — in most cases — you’ll want to use a sub-directory when you create new content to help build up your site’s link popularity and gain better rankings in the search engines.
This rule also applies to any blog you start. You’ll get a huge boost in the search engines if you set up your blog as a directory of your main site. (Such as: http://yoursitename/yourblogname.)
And don’t forget to include one of your top keyword phrases in the blog name! This will go a long way to helping you build up the brand and authority of your website.
That being said, there IS one particular instance where it’s better for you to use a sub-domain — and that’s when you’re running a pay-per-click campaign.
Sub-domains work really well for pay-per-click ads because you can create a separate keyword-rich sub-domain name for each ad you run. For example, if your keyword is “dog training tips,” you should send people who click on your ad to the sub-domain, http://dogtrainingtips.yoursite.com.
This will carry a lot of weight with your target market because they’ll be able to see the keyword in the ad copy itself — as well as in the URL at the end. And that will make your web page seem like a more credible and authoritative source of information.
(And of course every use of your keyword in the ad copy will appear in boldface, which will really grab people’s attention!)
So if you’ve been wondering which is better to use — sub-domains or sub-directories — here’s the answer: For link-building, use a sub-directory — and for pay-per-click campaigns, use a sub-domain.