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Subdomain Links, Unique Root Domains, and First Page Placement

Here’s an interesting fact: of all of the various statistics that you can easily measure about a website, there is one single number that most directly correlates with high rankings on Google. It’s the number of unique root domains you have that link to your website.

So, for example: say you have a website that has 400 backlinks from 7 different root domains (say, for example, because 200 of those backlinks come from blogspot.com — because he does a lot of blog commenting — and another 195 come from squidoo.com because the guy loves his lenses.) Then you have another website that has 55 backlinks from 24 different root domains. The guy with almost 1/8th as many backlinks is more likely to be ranked highly on Google, because he has three and a half times as many unique root domains linked to his site.

Until very recently, this was also true of subdomains — a subdomain effectively counted as a different root domain. (A subdomain, if you didn’t know, is the part of the URL that comes before the website’s “main” name — so ‘arananthi.blogspot.com’ is a different subdomain from ‘taotenshi.blogspot.com’.) They were counted as separate domains for a long time because subdomains were only really used by big sites like blogspot to separate out their various authors.

Of course, SEO companies caught on and realized they could easily make hundreds of subdomains and backlink from each to a site and pull lots of linkjuice without ever even having to register a new domain name. So Google changed things up and made subdomains count as the same domain as the root domain.

What that means for you — or rather, your SEO company — is that it’s no longer profitable in terms of first page placement to invest in more than one Squidoo lens, more than one Blogspot microblog, more than one of anything on the same URL, really.

The exception that proves the rule, of course, being content that’s valuable for being content rather than as a backlink — so you still want regular blog posting, regular articles up on the top article directories, and all that. Content is still king — it’s just not quite as effective SEO as it was a short while ago.

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