Posted by KameronJenkins

Choosing a discipline is a big deal, and there’s a great deal that goes into it. Even with everything that goes into determining your URL, there are two essential questions to ask that ought to guide your decision-making: what are my goals, and what’s best for my customers? In today’s copy of Whiteboard Friday, we’re beyond delighted to welcome Kameron Jenkins, our SEO Wordsmith, to the support to educate us all about how to select a domain that is in compliance with and subscribes your business goals.

Goal-based Approach to Domain Selection

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Video Transcription

Hey, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My honour is Kameron Jenkins, and I am the SEO Wordsmith here at Moz. Today we’re going to be talking about a goals-based coming to choosing a orbit type or a province selection.

There are a lot of questions in the SEO industry right now, and as an busines, I used to work at an bureau, and a lot of durations our buyers would question us, “Should I do a microsite? Should I do a subdomain? Should I consolidate all my sites? ” There is a lot of confusion about the SEO impact of all of these different types of region choices, there are still certainly are SEO ramifications for each type, but today we’re going to be taking a slightly different approach and focusing on points first. What are your business goals? What are your goals for your website? What are your goals for your customers? And then choosing a domain that matches those goals. By the end, instead of what’s better for SEO, we’re going to hopefully have answered, “What best suits my unique aims? “

Before we start…define!

Before we start, let’s launch into some immediate interpretations just so we all kind of know what we’re talking about and why all the various word we’re going to be using.

Main orbit

Main domain, this is often called a beginning realm in a number of cases. That’s anything that precedes your dot com or other TLD. So, it lives right before that.


A subdomain is a third-level domain name for your province. So pattern,, that would be a subdomain.


A subfolder, or some people announce this subdirectory, those are folders trailing the dot com. An pattern would be blog. That/ blog is the folder. That’s a subfolder.


A microsite, there’s a lot of different word around this type of discipline excerpt, but it’s just a completely separate realm from your main land. The focus is typically a little more niche than the topic of your main website.

That would be YourSite1. com and YourSite2. com. They’re two altogether, completely separate domains.

Business points that can impact domain design

Next we’re going to start talking about business goals that can impact domain design. “Theres lots” of various types of business goals. You want to grow revenue. You want more clients. But we’re solely here going to be talking about the types of business goals that can impact domain selection.

1. Expand orientations/ commodities/ assistances

The firstly one here that we’re going to talk about is the business wants to expand their points, their products, or their services. They want to grow. They want to expand in some way. An precedent I like to use is say this apparel accumulate has two locations. They have two storefronts. They have one in Dallas and one in Fort Worth.

So they launch two websites — and But their own problems with that is if you want to grow, you’re going to open places in Austin, Houston, etc. You’ve defined the precedent that you’re going to have a different region for every single locale, which is not really future-proof. It’s hard to magnitude. Every age you propel a brand-new website, that’s a great deal of work to opening it, a lot of work to maintain it.

So if you plan on produce and getting into brand-new locations or concoctions or services or whatever it was possible to, merely make sure you select a province organize that’s going to accommodate that. In special, I would say a primary spring domain with subfolders for the different makes or services you have is probably the best bet for such a situation. So “youve had” Product1,/ Product2, and you talk about it in that appreciation because it’s all referred. It’s all the same topic. It’s more future-proof. It’s easier to supplement a page than it is to launch a whole new domain.

2. Set apart different facets of business

So another business destination that can affect your region organize would be that the business wants to set apart distinct facets within their business. An illustration I found that was actually kind of supportive is has a subdomain for

Now, I’m not Apple. I don’t truly know exactly why they do this, but I have to imagine that it was because there are very different intents and uses for those different types of content that live on the subdomain versus the prime site. So Trailers has movie trailers, lots of different material, and is talking more about their consumer products, more about that type of thing.

So the publics are somewhat different. The purports are very different. In that situation, if you have a situation like that and that matches what your business is encountering, you want to set it apart, it has a different audience, you are able to want to consider a subdomain or maybe even a microsite. Just keep in mind that it takes effort to maintain each domain that you launch.

So make sure you have the resources to do this. You could, if you didn’t have the resources, set it all on the main land. But if you miss a little more separation, the different aspects of your business are awfully disparate and you don’t demand them truly associated on the same discipline, you could disperse it out with a subdomain or a microsite. Precisely, again, made to ensure that you have the resources to maintain it, because while both have equal they are able to grade, it’s international efforts that increases with each new website you launch.

3. Differentiate uniquely labelled sub-departments

Three, another objective is to differentiate uniquely labelled sub-departments. There is a lot of this I’ve showed in the healthcare gap. So the locates that I’ve worked on, say they have Joe Smith Health, and this is the health system, the umbrella health system. Then within that you have Joe Smith Endocrinology.

Usually those types of situations they have totally different branding. They’re in a different location. They reach a different audience, a different society. So in those situations I’ve seen that, peculiarly healthcare, they usually have the resources to launch and preserve a quite different arena for that uniquely branded sub-department, and that might make sense.

Again, make sure you have the resources. But if it’s extremely, very different, whether in branding or gathering or planned, than the content that’s on your main website, then I might consider disconnecting them. Another lesson of this is sometimes you have a parent companionship and they own a lot of different business, but that’s about where the affinities stop.

They’re just only owned by the mother corporation. All the differences among subcompanies don’t have anything to do with one another. I are more likely to say it’s wisest to scatter those into their own unique provinces. They possibly certainly have unique branding. They’re totally different firms. They’re precisely owned by the same firm. In those situations it might make sense, again, to separate them, but just know that they’re not going to have any grading benefit for one another because they’re time completely separate domains.

4. Temporary or seasonal campaigns

The fourth business goal we’re going to talk about is a temporary or a seasonal expedition. This one is not as common, but I figured I would just mention it. Sometimes a business will want to run a consultation or patronize an happen or get a lot of media attention around some initiative that’s separate from what their business does or furnishes, and it’s only more of an events-based, seasonal type of thing.

In those situations it might make sense to do a microsite that’s altogether labelled for that occasion. It’s not necessary. For speciman, Moz has MozCon, and that’s located on subfolder MozCon. You don’t have to do that, but it surely is an option for you if you want to uniquely firebrand it.

It can also be really good for press. I’ve find really in my own experience, I don’t know if this is widely common, but sometimes the press tend to simply link to the homepage because that’s what they know. They don’t link to a specific sheet on your website. They don’t know always where it’s situated. It’s really easier to link to the prime realm. If you want to build connects specifically for this event that are really related, you are able to wishes to do a microsite or something like that.

Just make sure that when the contest is over, don’t just let it float out there and vanish. Especially if you improve ties and attention around it, make sure you 301 that back to your main website as long as that becomes smell. So temporary or seasonal expeditions, that is able the way to go — microsite, subfolder. You have some options there.

5. Test out a new agency or consultant

Then finally the last goal we’re going to be talking about who are able to wallop province design is testing out a “agencies ” or consultant.

Now this one contains a special residence in my feeling having worked for an bureau prior to this for approximately seven years. It’s actually really common, and I can empathize with enterprises who are in this situation. They are about to hand over their keys to their land to a brand-new company. They don’t relatively know if they trust them yet.

Especially this is concerning if a business has a really strong domain that they’ve building up over term. It can be really scary to just let someone take over your arena. In some clients I have encountered, the business becomes, “Hey, we’d love to research you out. We think you’re great.However, you can’t touch the primary domain.You “re going to have to” do your SEO somewhere else.” That’s okay, but we’re various kinds of handcuffed in that situation.

You would have to, at that point, use a subdomain or a microsite, only a quite different website. If you can’t touch the main region, you don’t really have many other options than that. You just have to opening on a brand-new concept. In that situation, it’s a bit thwart, actually quite forestalling for SEOs because they’re starting from nothing.

They have no jurisdiction inherited from that primary region. They’re starting from square one. They have to build that up over term. While that’s possible, just know that it various kinds of pitches you back. You’re way behind the starting line in that situation with using a subdomain or a microsite , not being able to touch that central domain.

If you find yourself in this situation and they are able to negotiate this, really made to ensure that the company that’s hiring you is giving you enough time to prove the best interests of the SEO. This is tried-and-true for a conclude, but SEO is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. It’s not pay to play like paid push is. In such a situation, just made to ensure that whoever is hiring you is giving you enough time.

Enough time is kind of dependent on how competitive the goals are. If they’re asking you, “Hey, I’m going to test you out for this really, really competitive, high-volume keyword or group of keywords and you only have one month to do it, ” you’re kind of set up to fail in that situation. Either ask them for more go, or I probably wouldn’t take that job. So experimenting out a “agencies ” or consultant is obviously something that can impact your ability to opening on one domain type versus another.


Now that we’ve talked about all of those, I’m just going to wrap up with some perils. A spate of these are going to be reproduction, but just as a highway of examine just watch out for these things.

Miscarrying to future-proof

Like I said earlier, if you’re forethought on growing in the future, really make sure that your arena joins your future plans.

Exact-match domains

There’s nothing inherently inaccurate with exact-match realms. It’s simply that you can’t were planning to propel a microsite with a knot of keywords that are relevant to your business in your orbit and merely provide it and forget it and hope that the keywords in the domain alone are what’s going to get wise to grade. That doesn’t run anymore. It’s not worked for a while. You have to actually proactively be adding importance to that microsite.

Maybe you’ve decided that that stimulates feel for your business. That’s huge. Just make sure that you put in the means necessary to make it valued outside of really the keywords in the domain.


One thing I like to say is, “Would you instead have 3 websites with 10 backlinks each, or 1 website with 30 backlinks? ” That’s exactly a mode to illustrate that if you don’t have the resources to equally dedicate to each of those subjects or subdomains or microsites or whatever you decided to launch, it’s not going to be as strong.

Usually what I see when I assess a patron or a client’s subject formation, generally there is one standout domain that has all of the content, all of the authority, all of the backlinks, and then the other ones just kind of digest and they’re typically stronger together than they are apart. So while it is totally possible to do disconnected websites, simply make sure that you don’t fragment so much that you’re spread too thin to actually do anything successful on the SEO front.

Ignoring used event

Look at your websites from the eyes of your consumers. If someone is going to go to the search results page and Google probe your business specify, are they going to see five websites there? That’s kind of embarrassing unless they’re quite differently labelled, different intents. They’ll probably be confused.

Like, “Is this where I go to contact your business? How about this? Is it this? ” There are just a lot of different ways that can cause disarray, so time save that in sentiment. Also if you have a website where you’re addressing two completely different gatherings within your website — if a consumer, for example, is also possible browsing blouses and then somehow end up inadvertently on a section that’s simply for employees — that’s a bit confounding for user experience.

Make sure you either door that or make it a subdomain or a microsite. Just separate them if that would be flustering for your main user base.

Set it and forget it

Like I announced, I continue recurring this just because it’s so, so important. Every type of subject has equal ability to rank. It really does.

It’s really international efforts that comes more and more difficult with each new website. Just made to ensure that you don’t just decide to do microsites and subdomains and then don’t do anything with them. That can be a totally fine hand-picked. Just make sure that you don’t rectify it and forget it, that you actually have the means and you have the ability to keep structure those up.

Intent overlap between subjects

The last one I’ll talk about in the danger agency is message overlap between domains.

I see this one actually kind of a great deal. It can be like a winery. So the government had or something like that. In that situation, their Tasting subdomain talks all about their wine-colored tasting, their tasting chamber. It’s exceedingly focused on that niche of their business. But then on they too have extensive content about tastings. Well, you’ve get overlap there, and you’re kind of establishing yourself do more work than you have to.

I would choose one or the other and not both. Just make sure that there’s no overlap there if you do choose to do sift realms, subdomains, microsites, that kind of situation. Make sure that there’s no overlap and each of them has a distinct purpose.

Two important questions to focus on:

Now that we’re to the end of this, I really want the takeaway to be these two questions. I think this will make domain collection a lot easier when you focus on these two questions.

What am I trying to accomplish? What are the goals? What am I trying to do? Just focus on that first. Then second of all, and maybe most important, “whats best” for my consumers? So places great importance on your goals, focus on your useds, and I recall the domain selection process will be a lot easier. It’s not easy by any means.

There are some very complicated situations, but I remember, in the end, it’s going to be a lot easier if you focus on your goals and your customers. If you have any comments viewing province selection that you think would be useful for others to know, please share it in the comments below. That’s it for this week’s Whiteboard Friday, and come back next week for another one. Thanks everybody.

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