I promised a follow-up and a deeper look at the SEO implications of domains, subdomains, subfolders and how you should build up your online empire in my previous article “Quality over Quantity, The Marketing of Quality and Content Marketing”.  You have to mimic the cognitive processes of the human mind itself. Sounds fancy? Well it is easier than you think and Google tries it’s best to do it for years now(They are pretty good at it btw. Knowledge graph anyone?). When it comes to domains we need to look at the cognitive process of conceptualization and how the human mind builds concepts and makes generalizations. First of all let’s start with the basics:


In my case the root domain is and I have a 301 redirect on it to : as we discussed it here.  Technically is not the same domain however I also have a PHP canonical redirect set up for the website so for all practical purposes we can treat them as the same.

Subdomain, Subfolder

In my case the subfolder is but I’m experimenting with this however. I’t s really interesting
and if you are interested in my little experiment with redirects and multiple separate installations of WordPress (not Multipress) on the same domain in different subfolders just drop me a line in the comments and I will elaborate. For now it is not important. A subdomain would be but I don’t have any.  What’s really important is that currently: Subfolders and subdomains from SEO perspective are the same! (According to Matt Cutts  31.10.2012) The only difference right now is that Google will show a maximum of two URLs on a given search results page from a subdomain but may show more from a root domain if it has multiple subdomains.  So really just use whichever is the easiest to set up on your CMS (content management system).

Separate domain

It’s just a separate domain a microsite perhaps or your other Blog. It does not benefit from the root domain’s Pagerank the same way as a subdomain or subfolder and the only benefit is a backlink (if you give it any) and has to establish it’s own reputation\Pagerank .  By the way microsites. I will talk about them in detail, when to use microsites and when not to  in a future article. Generally speaking I’m not a fan but they have their uses but you must have a very specific reason and you must do your research.

Now, that we have the basics behind us let us analyze what is behind this and why is this like this, so that you will know how to deal with complex and unusual situations as well.

Conceptualization and SEO

Let’s use the example we used in my previous article and take that example to the next-level:

“ Imagine someone searching for fried chicken online and ends up on your website, which delivers fried chicken however you happen to have a pizza delivery business on the side as well and you simply place a small banner linking to it on your site.” 

Different types of trees used to illustrate the process of generalization. The first row showcases different types of trees an each points to a generic tree in the second row,symbolizing conceptualization/generalization.

In this case you have two separate websites on two separate domains optimized for “fried chicken” (possibly other long-tail keywords too)  and “pizza delivery” (possibly you need some long-tail specialization like “Chicago Deep Dish Pizza”because it is really hard to rank for a highly competitive keyword)  they are all sub-domains or sub-folders of a main food delivery website. You can easily see how they are logically connected and the vertical slope of conceptualization.  The cognitive process of concept building is at work here. The concept is “food delivery” and the specific foods are “pizza” and “fried chicken”. This is how the human mind thinks and if you apply this you will know what to do even in complex cases. On the picture you can see the same only with trees.

Good Web Architecture is Human Thinking Translated into Websites

Really, that’s all it takes you just have to know how to translate natural human cognitive processes into websites, into website structure/architecture. Google invests Billions into figuring out how to do this and how to translate and code human thinking but you don’t have to(unless you are a spambot). You only have to think in websites and interactions and interrelations between websites. If your websites have conceptually overlapping content or overlapping optimization then you should connect them and the degree of connection and type of connection should reflect how closely related and overlapping they are.

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