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  1. #1
    GFPC is offline Private Member
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    Default Use of No follow tag for subdomains.

    I have a couple of question that I was wondering about for some time now.

    1. I recall maybe a couple of years back from somewhere its a good idea to add a "no follow" to any subdomain on your site.

    On the one hand this to me doesn't sound right since your telling Google not to trust the page your linking to. Yet on the other hand my feeling is you would be leaking page rank to the subdomain (which could be seen from google as passing PR to another site even if its your own).

    Is there any well verse people in this are able to explain the pros and cons?

    2. In Webmaster tools - there is a section you can target certain countries for visitors. By default when I go in there I see United States which I assume means google.com.

    By changing your visitors to say UK (google.co.uk) does this pose an issue with still getting any visitors from the USA and being listed in Google on Google.com ?

    Should one just keep it on the USA option - or trial and test other countries?

    In our case - our IPS are Canadian and were listed ok in Canada - but not the best in European search engines - would altering the section hurt the CAD/USA traffic?

    Just a couple questions I been wondering about.

    Steve

  2. #2
    rak's Avatar
    rak
    rak is offline Former AM
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    Back in the day ( i don't think it still applies anymore ) ... sub domains were treated as a different site in the SERPs to the www.

    The nofollow could have been used to stop an endless link back and forth link between your www. and your subdomain.

    Google PR is no longer worth chasing, as Google will no longer be updating it. There is an internal Google PR which only Google sees, and that with other factors dictate were u sit in the SERPs.

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  4. #3
    GFPC is offline Private Member
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    So in your opinion the use of No follow is not needed?

    The reason i ask is because on our sites we have the country flags, and both the English and Dutch domains have the home page links which are "do followed" - I had heard it was not optimal.

    My thinking was to apply the subdomain - with a follow and the main with no follow.

    Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by rak View Post
    Back in the day ( i don't think it still applies anymore ) ... sub domains were treated as a different site in the SERPs to the www.

    The nofollow could have been used to stop an endless link back and forth link between your www. and your subdomain.

    Google PR is no longer worth chasing, as Google will no longer be updating it. There is an internal Google PR which only Google sees, and that with other factors dictate were u sit in the SERPs.


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    Simmo! is offline Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFPC View Post
    2. In Webmaster tools - there is a section you can target certain countries for visitors. By default when I go in there I see United States which I assume means google.com.

    By changing your visitors to say UK (google.co.uk) does this pose an issue with still getting any visitors from the USA and being listed in Google on Google.com ?

    Should one just keep it on the USA option - or trial and test other countries?
    Hi Steve

    At the bottom of that country dropdown in WMT you should see "unlisted". Theoretically(!) that tells Google to work it out itself! I take that to mean you are targetting everywhere. Personally, I still think extension, location of IBLs and hosting location are better indicators.

    Personally I wouldn't nofollow subdomains but would link to them sparingly IE: from where it's relevant. Also (you may already know this) you can set up each subdomain as a seperate website in WMT and geo-target each accordingly (if that's the purpose of the subs). If you have already verified the top domain you don't have to re-verify each subdomain either.

    Cheers

    Simmo!
    Last edited by Simmo!; 21 March 2011 at 6:34 am.

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    GFPC is offline Private Member
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    Thanks Simmo,

    I just looked into that and perhaps your right - it may be a god choice in my case to use the unlisted selection. Do you at all use it and if so have you noticed any changes?

    Anyone else use the unlisted selection and see marked differences in traffic from diff regions?

    Steve


  8. #6
    GaryTheScubaGuy's Avatar
    GaryTheScubaGuy is offline In Memorium, 1966-2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFPC View Post
    I have a couple of question that I was wondering about for some time now.

    1. I recall maybe a couple of years back from somewhere its a good idea to add a "no follow" to any subdomain on your site.

    On the one hand this to me doesn't sound right since your telling Google not to trust the page your linking to. Yet on the other hand my feeling is you would be leaking page rank to the subdomain (which could be seen from google as passing PR to another site even if its your own).

    Is there any well verse people in this are able to explain the pros and cons?

    2. In Webmaster tools - there is a section you can target certain countries for visitors. By default when I go in there I see United States which I assume means google.com.

    By changing your visitors to say UK (google.co.uk) does this pose an issue with still getting any visitors from the USA and being listed in Google on Google.com ?

    Should one just keep it on the USA option - or trial and test other countries?

    In our case - our IPS are Canadian and were listed ok in Canada - but not the best in European search engines - would altering the section hurt the CAD/USA traffic?

    Just a couple questions I been wondering about.

    Steve
    Hi Steve,

    Good questions.

    Subdomains were originally designed for reason such as member areas or secure areas for instance such as my bank account at HSBC.

    Then they started being used by SEO's to create microsites for various reasons like building separate areas for SEO testing and/or ppc landing pages or areas.

    Eventually SEO's found that the subdomains were being treated as entirely stand-alone websites. This means in a perfect world you can rank multiple times for the same term.

    The best way to utilise subdomains along with your next question about geotargeting is to create the subdomain, get a new "A" Address from your ISP, host it in your target country, link to it from the primary, select geotargeting in Google WMC.

    You can do this over and over for different countries and different languages.

    This will not affect your Canadian traffic unless you are speaking about google.ca

    Nofollows won't hurt either site; the linking or the linked to.

    On a side note, if your traffic in Canada is good I recommend translating the site to French.

    Here is a step-by-step I wrote last year for a conference session. This will give you some good tips and considerations regarding why to do it, where to start, what to consider, etc.

    Geographical Targeting & Subdomains – (Advanced Geotargeting)

    Geographical Targeting & Subdomains – (Advanced Geotargeting) – This isn't for the feint at heart, the lazy, or the website owner that isn't ready to do the extra work to get your piece of the pie.

    Using Geotargeting for Language and Regional Targeting

    The various ways that people search and the results the search engines are delivering are evolving rapidly. Smarter queries and more complex algorithms mean that you need to use various techniques to be sure you are sh
    owing up in the results. Local search, advanced search, regional search and language-based searches are some of the filters an end-user or a search engine can use in determining who shows up, when they show up and where they show up.

    Geotargeting is one tool Google has refined and one that you can manipulate to a point in order to increase saturation in any market.
    Beyond the obvious on-page considerations, different searches will deliver (in most cases) a different set of results.

    The results can differ greatly depending on several considerations;

    1 .The IP of the end-user
    2 .The server location of the website
    3 .Any geographically targeted settings in Webmaster Central
    4 .The relationship between the search filters and the resulting web pages (I.e. Did they search for Pages from [region] or Pages in [language]
    5 .If the end-user is searching a different extension than the defaulted engine (they manually enter Google.com searching for US or English results in a non-US region.

    The other elements that will affect rankings will be back links;

    1 .Are the links from a TLD that matches the destination URL (I.e. .nl linking to an .nl website)?
    2. Is the IP linking website located in the same region and the linked URL?
    3 .Page rank, linking anchor text, additional outbound links on the page linking to you
    4 .On-page relevancy
    5 .Language based meta-tags
    6 .Everything in the above 5 items relating to the linking website/page

    Any one of these elements can give you an edge over your competition.
    Searching any of Google’s (non-US) datasets will generally return a variety of websites when no language or location filter is selected. These can include internal pages in a website, subdirectories (www.yoursite.com/french), Subdomains (www.french.yoursite.com), and various TLD’s (top level domains like .com and .nl). All 11 of the above factors are present (but not exclusive) in the automatic algorithm. There are only a few tools that will actually search every Google Data Centre that you choose – Rank Tracker is one of them

    The problem is that no one really knows which approach is best, or which algorithmic attribute is the most effective, so what can we do with this?
    What we want to do is to look at the existing results using the available search filters, and the existing websites that are ranking high and determine what the best strategy for your website is. This takes deep page analysis of your competitors.

    The important thing to note is that there is a hierarchy between one and the other in terms of which is the best solution. Every website has its own individual solution based on their demographics, site mechanics and available resources.

    What you need to consider are;
    1 .Your target market?
    2. If you need or don’t need geographical targeting?
    3. If you need language based subdomains or subdirectories?
    4. Should you move hosting?
    Can I afford to do it all?

    How & When to Use Geographical Targeting

    Here’s what to do if you wish to;
    Geographically target a region?

    1 .Create a subdomain or a subdirectory in the native language and use Webmaster Central to geographically target it
    2 .Host the subdomain on a server in the native region and use geographical targeting
    3 .Build back links from similar TLD’s

    Target a language?

    1 .Create a subdirectory in the native language (I.e. www.yoursite.com/nl/)
    2 .Build back links from same language websites
    3 .Do not use geographical targeting

    The reason that you do not want to use geographical targeting along with a language-based strategy is that if the end-user searches in the native language on Google.com, a site using content in that language will be stronger than the same site with geographical targeting in place. (This isn’t dependent on whether you use subdirectories or subdomains unless you hosted the subdomain in the target region).

    The answer for me is that I want it all…and NOW!!

    I’ve recently had subdomains rank with geographical targeting turned on and in the native language rank top 10 in 6 weeks. I’ve had brand new websites with the appropriate TLD’s (I.e. .nl, .de & .es) show up in 8 weeks. I’ve even had a .com hosted in the US without geographical targeting show up in the top 10 results for "Hollywood" terms when they had never been in results in the UK.

    You can start with subdomains. Look at your log files to determine where the current traffic is coming from to tell you what to do first. Bounce rates can also tell you a lot.

    For example, if your secondary traffic source is Germany and you have a high bounce rate, start with a language-based subdirectory, then maybe move onto creating a subdomains, hosting it in Germany, then set the geographical targeting to Germany in Webmaster Central. Then go back and start all over again using the region that has the next highest contribution.

    Important Things to Remember!

    1. To target a language using only subdirectories do not use geographic targeting
    2. You can target a language with both subdomains and subdirectories but if you have a top-level TLD (.com) use subdirectories versus subdomains.
    3. You can use Google geographical targeting on subdomains and subdirectories
    4. Your title should be in the native language and/or use regional slang terms where they apply.
    5. Use language-based meta tags whenever targeting language-based searches
    6. Host subdomains that are for geographical targeting in the target region
    7. When you implement the subdomain strategy, link to it from the original website
    8. Create new sitemaps for each subdomain
    9. When creating meta tags and content be sure to use native slang. (If you sold pants in the US and the UK. Pants are referred to as trousers. Sweaters are referred to as jumpers.
    10. Get back links from same TLD’s (get a .nl link to your .nl site in the native language)
    11. If you have a TLD (like .nl or .de) do not use geographical targeting. These domains are already associated with its designated region

    TIP – In the past when you moved domains to a new host (or in this case Subdomains) it could take up to a week. Google WMC now has a tool that makes this almost instantaneous. Just get your 'A' address, move your content and any redirects from the parent site (Remember linking to the new subdomain from your parent site will pass nearly 100% of the PR, trust and authority, even though its seen and treated as a stand-alone website)

    In a nutshell, I recommend that if you already have an existing website with a TLD like a .com or .cu.uk, and they are your target market, do not use the geographical targeting option. Start building subdirectories using the top native language determined by looking at Google Analytics or your log files. Identify your top referrer language. If the languages are close, as it the case between the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia, use native slang in the title, metatags and content. Build a new xml site map and manually submit it through all the main search engines.

    The next step is to create a subdomain and get it hosted in the region that you are targeting. Build content in the native language and get r submit it, as well as setting up the geographical target in Webmaster Central.

    By implementing this strategy, you will have a significant advantage over most of your competition (or a little less after this article is released).

    Whether the search is initiated in the region or outside the region, whether your site is located in the region or just hosted there, or even if they search in the native language or manually enter a specific Google engine like Google.com.mx or Google.es, you will have improved saturation.
    GaryTheScubaGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by GFPC View Post
    I have a couple of question that I was wondering about for some time now.

    1. I recall maybe a couple of years back from somewhere its a good idea to add a "no follow" to any subdomain on your site.

    On the one hand this to me doesn't sound right since your telling Google not to trust the page your linking to. Yet on the other hand my feeling is you would be leaking page rank to the subdomain (which could be seen from google as passing PR to another site even if its your own).

    Is there any well verse people in this are able to explain the pros and cons?

    2. In Webmaster tools - there is a section you can target certain countries for visitors. By default when I go in there I see United States which I assume means google.com.

    By changing your visitors to say UK (google.co.uk) does this pose an issue with still getting any visitors from the USA and being listed in Google on Google.com ?

    Should one just keep it on the USA option - or trial and test other countries?

    In our case - our IPS are Canadian and were listed ok in Canada - but not the best in European search engines - would altering the section hurt the CAD/USA traffic?

    Just a couple questions I been wondering about.

    Steve
    Number 1 is not quite true. Mostly because it's not how Google sees it. Using a nofollow attribute in links only says to the crawler that "this page is not related to the current page" hence the code (rel=nofollow).

    SEO use this to control the relevancy of a page to another page. If you are currently in your post about SEO tips links like Contact page should be nofollowed.

    Nofollow is not about the Trust issue. If you are looking for trusted pages, try to have a backlinks from authority sites.

    In question Number 2, no it does not posed any issues. This only tells crawlers that your website targetting locally.

    ex. London Clothes and Accessories Shop
    Clothes and Accessories Shop in London

  11. #8
    best.hands is offline Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFPC View Post
    On the one hand this to me doesn't sound right since your telling Google not to trust the page your linking to. Yet on the other hand my feeling is you would be leaking page rank to the subdomain (which could be seen from google as passing PR to another site even if its your own).

    Is there any well verse people in this are able to explain the pros and cons?
    Hmmm.. by linking with a rel="nofollow" you are simply telling google not to pass any link juice or reputation to the link, thus the link juice or reputation assigned to the link after calculating how much link juice each link on the page will have will evaporate.. Moreover, it halts the possibility of Google crawlers to get to the page.

    The pros and cons depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you don't want the subdomain to be indexed, but need to link to it, then nofollow can halt the bots to crawl the page and avoid indexation. Without nofollow will have it indexed as the subdomain can be crawled through the link, provided that noindex is not issued in the meta or robot.txt.

    If you want to link to the subdomain, but don't want to leak the juice, use nofollow.

    Quote Originally Posted by GFPC View Post
    2. In Webmaster tools - there is a section you can target certain countries for visitors. By default when I go in there I see United States which I assume means google.com.

    By changing your visitors to say UK (google.co.uk) does this pose an issue with still getting any visitors from the USA and being listed in Google on Google.com ?
    If you indicate UK in the geographic target, you are simply telling google you are aiming for a market with UK audience, thus will have your site more aligned on UK rankings than other country rank. In addition, I also think that you'll rank will in google.com even though you specified UK for some cases. Puzzled? Don't be, because Google has the way to learn which country the query was made from. So, notwithstanding the google extension used, UK surfers will get a search result crafted for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by GFPC View Post
    Should one just keep it on the USA option - or trial and test other countries?
    I think the answer relies on which audience you want your site to appear prominent. So, if you highly care about getting traffic from the US than any other countries, I suggest no further changes should be made. Moreover, I suggest not playing with it as it can possibility confuse google. But you can do it like this, us.yoursite.com specify US as the geographic target, uk.yoursite.com specify UK as the geographic target, yoursite.com specify nothing, which means the domain gets the international audience.

    Quote Originally Posted by GFPC View Post
    In our case - our IPS are Canadian and were listed ok in Canada - but not the best in European search engines - would altering the section hurt the CAD/USA traffic?
    Surely will. During the time I have not specified any country target for our site, it ranked will in localized google extensions ex. .co.uk, .ca, .ph, but when I did specify US as the target market, the rankings on local extensions eventually dropped from 1st, to 2nd, to somewhere 6 pages deep, but went well on .com.

    Again, google is using the IP of the surfer to come up with a much related results. So, if the surfer is known coming from the UK, and you've specified UK as your target audience, though the google extension used is google.com, the surfer will have a view of your site on the first page list provided that you've SEOed it well.

  12. #9
    GFPC is offline Private Member
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    Hey thanks guys! Really appreciate the fine discussion here. I am learning lots. I decided to choose the unlisted for the main domains - and Netherlands for the Dutch domain. Will report back any changes if i see some. I also like the idea to host each sub domain in the country its targetting.

    Thanks everyone.
    Steve


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    Google PR is no longer worth chasing, as Google will no longer be updating it. There is an internal Google PR which only Google sees, and that with other factors dictate were u sit in the SERPs.
    I wonder about this. G may not be updating as frequently, but not updating at all?
    If I remember correctly G patented the PR method of ranking, so are they going to toss it? Do the current PR rankings at each site remain there forever? G internal PR? Please explain.
    BTW, thanks Gary for more great detailed info.
    Gayle Mitchell
    writer/publisher


  14. #11
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    Google PR does NOT mean as much to true ranking as it once did.

    Google would probably be foolish to get rid of PR since these discussions would end and we could get back to having real discussions about SEO and SERPS instead of whether or not a change made affected the stupid little green bar.

    Rick
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