On-site vs subdomain: Where to house your content

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Building blocks of SEO success
By Rachel Lobley, contributor. 1 August, 2019
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Finance brands are producing more content than ever, but it’s not just about the guts of the content, where it’s stored is crucial to how effective it is. Let’s run through the three most common online hosting options for content - on-site, subdomain or standalone content hub.

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1. On-Site. A lot of brands make their blog part of their main website – take Goldman Sachs, who keep their insights page on their company site at https://www.goldmansachs.com/insights/

2. Subdomain. Other brands use a subdomain linked to their website to house content. For example, Santander created its hub ‘Prosper and Thrive’ - https://thehub.santanderbank.com/ - to store articles and tools that appeal to millennials.

3. Standalone hub. Some brands create a content hub that exists as a separate entity to their main site. This method is often used to host separate campaigns or competitions, such as Prudential’s Challenge Lab - https://www.workandthings.com/prudential

Choosing one of these solutions will have a differing impact on SEO and the customer journey. So what are the key benefits – and weaknesses – of each approach?

On-site content

Keeping your blog content on your main website creates a smooth customer journey. It’s an easy and intuitive way for customers to navigate from your homepage to your blog and vice-versa, and means that directing customers to your blog through marketing material invites them to explore your site further.

On-site content also builds your SEO. In technical terms, keeping your blog as pages on your website helps to build the authority of this domain. This is because when external websites link to your blog content, your main site claims all of the domain authority – the secret sauce of SEO. Not only that, but a well-structured subfolder for your blogs will help search engines read your website and rank you favourably as a result.

When external websites link to your blog content, your main site claims all of the domain authority – the secret sauce of SEO.

Subdomain content

Many brands keep blog content as part of a subdomain for a number of reasons. From an SEO perspective, it’s important to note that your subdomain will be treated by Google as a separate entity to your main site – this will likely result in a dilution of domain authority. However, there are also SEO benefits to a subdomain. Many brands use a subdomain to insert hard-to-rank search terms into the URL of their blog, contributing to SEO rankings. Subdomains can also help to build niche authority about certain topics.

If your content hub is particularly extensive, a subdomain can also provide a neat, flexible and user-friendly way of storing your work.

Standalone content hub

This is the least common method of storing content for finance brands, but it makes sense in specific circumstances. There are no SEO advantages for your main site if you choose to build a standalone content hub, but it could be useful for separate campaigns, activations in different countries or to store content that branches out from your corporate site into new audiences or areas of interest.

When considering where to store your content, you need to think about your customer journey, SEO requirements and the scale of your content operation before deciding on the solution that’s right for you.

When it comes to mapping your customer journey, web design and your all-important SEO strategy, we can help set your finance brand up for success. Get in touch.

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A specialist in marketing strategy, Rachel has worked on consultancy, content and PR projects for a number of international finance and insurance brands out of London. Now in Australia, Rachel enjoys producing strategic content for the Aussie market and getting to know her new surroundings. When not at work, she's out enjoying restaurants and attempting to do some exercise.