Setting up your new company blog. What’s better for SEO? Hosted solution, new domain, subdomain, or subfolder?

I see this question come up quite often.

People ask where they should set up their new company blog to maximize their blog’s SEO effectiveness. Answers are always varied and mostly, in my humble opinion, incorrect.

To take full advantage of the search engine optimization benefits of setting up a new company blog, there’s only one answer.

But first, how does a blog help with your search engine optimization efforts in the first place?

It’s all about backlinks.

When it comes to SEO, there are two key areas on which to focus — on-page optimization (optimizing your web pages and site code for relevant keywords) and link building. Building backlinks to your website is important because the search engines (particularly Google) use the quantity (and quality) of the backlinks to your website as an important ranking factor in the formula they use to rank the sites that show up in the SERPs (search engine result pages).

By posting quality content on your company blog, people who read your posts will be more likely to link to your posts if they see value in them, and feel that they would be of interest to their own readers.

Quality content = More backlinks to your posts = Better search engine rankings

Where You Should Set Up Your Blog

blogger-logoFor setting up a new blog, you’ve got two options:

  • Use a hosted service (Blogger.com, WordPress.com)
  • Install blog software on your web server (We love WordPress! – WordPress.org)

Remotely Hosted

Google’s Blogger service does allow a self-hosted option where you use the Blogger interface to post to and manage your blog and give it access to your server via FTP, but we’re really interested in software that you can install on your web server.

Hosted In-House

If you’re installing the blog software on your own server you’ll also need to decide where to put it:

  1. Register a new domain for your blog (www.yourcompanyblog.com)
  2. Put the blog in a subdomain (blog.yourcompany.com)
  3. Put the blog in a subfolder of your main website (www.yourcompany.com/blog)

For search engine optimization, hosting your blog on your own domain will have the most benefit — assuming you’re using your blog to help your optimization efforts for your main website (www.yourcompany.com).

Subdomain vs. Subfolder (The Subfolder Wins)

When you (or your web developer) set up your blog, make sure to set it up in a subfolder of your domain instead of as a subdomain — www.yourcompany.com/blog instead of blog.yourcompany.com.

backlinksRemember, the #1 SEO benefit for setting up a blog on your site is the backlinks that you get to your blog posts. If you set it up as blog.yourdomain.com, the search engines see the subdomain as a separate site entirely, and your blog backlinks will not add to the overall link popularity of www.yourdomain.com.

Putting your blog in a subfolder means that links back to your blog posts will count towards your whole site’s link popularity.

Search engines don’t only measure the number of backlinks you have to your website’s homepage. They also count the number of backlinks you have to the subpages of your website, including your blog posts. Having more backlinks to your website’s subpages helps to increase your deep link ratio (we’ll cover that in a future post).

If you were to use a hosted blog service like Blogger (with your blog at yourcompany.blogspot.com), this would have minimal benefit to your main website SEO.

You could build backlinks to the Blogger hosted blog and build up its authority, then link to your main site from the blog, but why bother. Cut out the middleman…

Don’t make this SEO Mistake

In discussions on where to host a company blog, I’ve seen people recommend setting up both — signing up for a hosted blog service as well as installing blog software on your server. Don’t.

That would double your workload as you’d need to have unique content for both. You wouldn’t want to duplicate posts on each blog, as this would result in duplicate content, and you’d also be splitting potential backlinks to posts between the hosted blog and the one on your domain.

Finally, hosting your own blog also allows you to maximize your SEO efforts by using a variety of plug-ins and software add-ons. You can’t do this with a Blogger or WordPress hosted blog.

Learn more about SEO.

– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.

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Insight written by Kaitlin Somerville