Subdomain and Subfolder Changes by Google: My Comments

WebmasterWorld’s PubCon in Las Vegas is another conference I wanted to attend but I couldn’t. Anyway thanks to the generous souls who shared their time and knowledge to the less mobile ones like me. One of the recent developments was regarding how Google treats subdomains when displaying them into search results. Previously, it is possible for a domain name to occupy the whole first page. As an illustration, try searching for yahoo and google. Each of those results show

Barry at SEO Roundtable got the scoop first from an administrator at Webmasterworld relays the flash report:
News flash from Las Vegas PubCon. Matt Cutts informed us that Google will very soon begin treating subdomains and subdirectories the same in this fashion: there will be only 2 total urls from a domain in any set of search results, so no more getting 3, 4 or however many spots via subdomains. We didn’t get any more information than just that basic heads-up.

Aaron Wall also posted about this at WebProNews.

While Matt Cutts reacted that subdomains will not be treated exactly as, but close to, sub folders, the impact of such change is significant.

This isn’t a correct characterization of what Google is looking at doing. What I was trying to say is that in some circumstances, Google may move closer to treating subdomains as we do with subdirectories. I’ll talk about this more at some point after I get back from PubCon.

A filter might be in place so that first page will contain a maximum of two results from a website. And these two pages picked up will be grouped as one “cluster” of results similar to what’s currently being displayed for subdomains, with the second one found indented on the second line.

One of the main advantages of using subdomains is that search engines allow company websites (see Google and Yahoo! examples above) to get ranked according to subdomains for products or services with niche content. Another is that with subdomains, directories are more likely to accommodate two URLs from the same site using subdomains that within the site using sub folders.

If updates get rolled up pretty soon, anyone who will advise on using subdomains will find him/herself rebuked with a “that’s so early 2007” response.