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Wildcard Subdomains & Seo


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8 replies to this topic

#1 DavidBowen

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 01:35 PM

I built a site for a client last year and recently started an SEO campaign for them.

The site resides on my server, however, their IT support company manages the domain and their email configuration.

So far, so good.

However, it transpires that as standard practice, they (the IT bods) use wildcard subdomains. So, 123.clientdomain.com, abc.clientdomain.com, etc.clientdomain.com all resolve but without redirecting the URL.

Their argument is that this is good SEO practice and that if it don't like it, it's down to me to sort out with a .htaccess redirect.

My argument is that it's poor SEO practice and they should drop the wildcard subdomain from the DNS. Why is it bad practice (in my opinion)? If a user mistypes the URL in a browser, they land on a valid page, no harm in that. However, if they then link to subdomain, then the chasm of duplicate content opens up.

Thoughts?

Edited by DavidBowen, 11 July 2011 - 01:46 PM.


#2 Jill

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 04:24 PM

You are correct.

#3 Michael Martinez

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 05:25 PM

I would redirect all the unused subdomains to the IT company's site and let them deal with the headache.

#4 DavidBowen

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:57 AM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Jul 11 2011, 11:25 PM) View Post
I would redirect all the unused subdomains to the IT company's site and let them deal with the headache.


I would love to but as it's a wildcard, there are an infinite number of subdomains.

#5 DavidBowen

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:58 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Jul 11 2011, 10:24 PM) View Post
You are correct.


Thanks Jill.

#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 03:39 AM

QUOTE(DavidBowen @ Jul 11 2011, 10:57 PM) View Post
I would love to but as it's a wildcard, there are an infinite number of subdomains.


You can still do it in .htaccess. I am not currently using this method but I believe it will work. You can place this in your .htaccess file:
CODE
Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.example\.com.tld
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.example.com.tld/$1 [R=Permanent,L]


Obviously you replace example . com with the real domain name.

You can also put this in a server's httpd.conf file without having to rely on the root domain's .htaccess:
CODE
RewriteRule [b]^/[/b](.*) http://www.example.com.tld/$1 [R=Permanent,L]


Subdomain serving and redirection doesn't have to be done through DNS records. A Wordpress blog in network/multiuser mode will dynamically manage sub-domains for you. You just have to add a little code to the htaccess file.


#7 DavidBowen

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 09:13 AM

That's great Michael - thanks for the tip.

Actually, this begs the next question. Is it better to re-direct if someone mis-types or just allow it to fail?

#8 Michael Martinez

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:44 PM

QUOTE(DavidBowen @ Jul 12 2011, 07:13 AM) View Post
That's great Michael - thanks for the tip.

Actually, this begs the next question. Is it better to re-direct if someone mis-types or just allow it to fail?


I think that depends on what you have available for redirection. The situation you describe is a special case. You're working with an intransigent partner who is forcing you to engage in sub-optimal site management, so I'm merely suggesting you nudge them to take responsibility for their bad choice.

Normally, if I see a lot of traffic going to a non-existent URL for which I don't have any relevant content, I'll consider making a relevant page. That doesn't mean I'll do it but I'd rather give people something relevant to their visit than present them even with a nice 404 page.

#9 DavidBowen

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 02:03 AM


Good advice, thank you.




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