We all know the importance of SEO blog content. It educates your prospective shoppers, helps you rank for valuable industry keywords, and drives more qualified traffic to your eCommerce website.
But, without the proper site structure, your efforts could all be for naught.
Today, we’ll share how we helped our client Chubo Knives migrate their existing blog subdomain content into a subdirectory on their main site — consolidating their authority and maintaining their already-successful posts — for some pretty impressive results, including:
- 362% increase in organic clicks
- 421% increase in organic sessions
Along the way, we’ll give you some tips for doing the same for your eCommerce site, too.
Hosting a Blog on a Subdomain vs. Subdirectory
When Chubo Knives first contacted our agency in early 2022 to fix their declining organic traffic, we noticed one major SEO strategy mistake:
Their previous agency had set up their blog on a subdomain (blog.chuboknives.com) and had been publishing strategic content there and on the business’s primary domain (chuboknives.com).
This approach was not only leading to duplicate content across both domains, but it was also spreading their SEO efforts thin. Rather than consolidating its thought leadership into one main domain, Chubo Knives was unknowingly splitting its growing authority across two separate sites, reducing the organic performance of each.
While this is a significant mistake, it’s unfortunately also a common one for eCommerce brands.
For years, a blog subdomain was the accepted (and recommended) strategy in the SEO industry. The reasoning: With a separate domain and subdomain, a brand could rank several pieces of content for the same keywords in the search engine result pages (SERPs), leading to them dominating the top organic results.
But Google quickly caught onto those “gaming” the system with this approach.
Today, its algorithm is much better at understanding the relationship between domains and subdomains, with the SERPs reflecting that. If you have high-quality content on both your domain and a separate subdomain, Google will typically consolidate those into one result (indenting one below the other) — or choose only one to appear in the SERPs.
But, in our opinion, your blog strategy isn’t just about the Google organic results. Instead, we recommend all sites host a blog subdirectory for site authority and topical relevance, too.
Think about it this way: By focusing on one domain with many subdirectories/subfolders (including your /blog), you concentrate your efforts (and resulting performance) in one place. Any backlinks you gain from strategic blog content will direct to your root domain, adding topical relevance and authority to that site.
Over time, that domain authority can be spread throughout your main website with strategic internal links, leading to more prospective traffic to valuable product and category pages — not just your blog subdomain.
In short, we recommend consolidating your SEO efforts into building one authoritative site by using a blog subdirectory instead of a subdomain.
Redirecting Your Blog Subdomain (Without Losing Traffic)
If your blog still exists on a subdomain, don’t panic. With the right process (and the right team), you can easily move your subdomain website content to a new subdirectory — and minimize the organic traffic lost along the way.
Here’s how we did it for Chubo Knives.
Before we could invest in any more SEO strategic content, we needed to solve Chubo Knives’ blog subdomain vs. subdirectory issue. Not only would we save ourselves a major headache down the road, but we’d also create a cleaner, more streamlined slate for any future strategic content.
While auditing their content pre-migration, we discovered another challenge: Some of the blogs on Chubo Knives’ primary domain were exact copies of web pages on the subdomain. As duplicate content, none of them were performing well — but there were still several unique blogs on the subdomain that were generating significant traffic numbers.
If we wanted to move those top blogs to the primary domain without losing their valuable traffic numbers, we had to be careful. In contrast to just redirecting and deleting any duplicate blogs, we needed to either move the content completely or, if similar content existed, consolidate those into single, stronger blog posts.
So, using our content consolidation process, we slowly and cautiously began to move content from Chubo Knives’ subdomain to its new subdirectory (chuboknives.com/blog) by:
- Identifying any duplicate/similar content
- Consolidating unique content into the primary domain’s blog
- Redirecting the subdirectory posts
- Updating navigation
- Unpublishing/deleting subdirectory posts
After a painstaking two months, the process was complete.
But, to our surprise, we wouldn’t have to wait nearly that long to start seeing results.
In a typical content migration process like this, our team expects to see a temporary drop in organic traffic as Google reindexes the new content.
However, for Chubo Knives, the positive results were almost instantaneous: Just a few days after the subdomain migration was complete, we saw a spike in the top-level domain’s performance, for an eventual 104% increase in sessions month-over-month.
Two months later, with not a single new piece of content published, ChuboKnives.com generated the following post-migration results:
- 362% increase in organic clicks
- 421% increase in organic sessions
Setting the Stage for Strategic Content
But Chubo Knives’ wins weren’t limited to the blog subdirectory project. On the contrary, the migration created the foundation for new content marketing initiatives to exceed our expectations, too.
By cleaning up Chubo Knives’ blog architecture, we allowed for any new content to be indexed more quickly (and, hopefully, perform better) than it would have on the subdomain.
And it’s been working swimmingly. Since we started publishing new strategic blog content in August, we’ve been seeing stellar results.
One example: A new blog about Japanese cleavers ranking #4 in the SERPs less than a month after publishing.
Typically, we’d expect our SEO efforts to take months to come to fruition. But, with Chubo Knives’ improved blog architecture and relatively low-competition niche, the brand’s high-quality content has been able to rank and generate product sales just a few weeks after publishing.
Once again, it goes to show that search engine optimization doesn’t exist in a vacuum — and that every change you make can have lasting impacts across your entire eCommerce site.
Moving Your Content to a Blog Subdirectory
If you’re still publishing strategic content to a blog subdomain, there’s no better time than now to start your migration. In doing so, you’ll consolidate your SEO efforts into one, high-authority site — and make it much easier for your digital marketing team to see the fruits of their future efforts.
The difficulty of your blog subdomain migration will depend upon a few factors:
- How many posts you have on your subdomain
- How your parent domain is currently organized
- Whether any subdomain posts are performing well
- How much capacity your SEO team has
- And more
Remember: The longer you put off your migration, the harder it will be to maintain any existing organic traffic. We recommend making this process a priority in the new year (if not before!) to give your team the best chance of SEO success in 2023.
To preserve your existing organic traffic as much as possible, consider working with an experienced SEO agency. A team like Inflow’s can help minimize any effects on your current performance and create a strategy to grow your organic traffic and revenue once your migration is complete.
For more information on how our SEO experts can make this happen, request a free proposal today. We’ll develop a personalized plan of action for your eCommerce store — and, when you’re ready, implement it smoothly, efficiently, and with your brand’s goals in mind.
Until then, read more about building a solid content marketing strategy below: