updated: September 27th, 2006 / Ross Johnson / 6 Comments

Best Flight Booking – Do subdomains share value?

A few weeks ago I came across a post on dig discussing how the blogger gained high rankings in Google. The keyphrase in question being “Best Flight Booking” , and the author claims he beat out tons of online ticket vendors who pay thousands in SEO. While I agreed with most of his points on why, I came across one point that I really was quite unsure of. The author claimed that since he was using a “subdomain.wordpress.com” domain, that Google was giving his page added value because wordpress.com is known as an authoritative site.

While I do see some possible legitimacy to this line of thinking, I simply can’t imagine Google would leave such a large open hole for spamming. If someone could simply sign up for 10-15 wordpress/blogger accounts and write a few posts and link to their own site, it would be extremely easy to get high weighted backlinks with out any real work to obtain them naturally.

Further Investigation

I decided to look further into it, if subdomains of highly ranked actual domains do give additional weight it could drasticly change the SEO industry. My first thought was to see simply how many people searched for the keyphrase “Best Flight Booking” , and I was not terribly surprised at the result.

According to google’s AdWords traffic estimator, very few people actually use “best flight booking” as a keyphrase. If this is the case, than it is doubtful that any company is targeting the it at all. The result is high PR or not, it shouldn’t be hard to rank for “best flight booking”

The Test

To try and find proof in one light or the other, I decided to do a quick test; See if I can rank higher for best flight booking. Now my blog probably only has a PR of about 4, and shouldn’t be anything compared to the relevance of wordpress. If wordpress subdomains benefit from WordPress’ value, then I shouldn’t rank higher by any means.

Of course this is not an apples to apples test, Keyword density could be off, and there could be some inbound link differences… But I am going to try and keep it as close as possible. Analyzing the discussed post, his keyword density is between 1 – 3% for the ranking keywords. I am going to shoot for that range as well.

I will post the results when my site gets spidered for this post

6 thoughts Best Flight Booking – Do subdomains share value?

  1. Hello Ross,

    Great to see your test. I like ideas behind and I think this should be pretty good check of whether subdomain share popularity rank with main domain or not.

    To help you with getting the most of these tests – I\’ve actually created two blogs and have this post in two places:

    on wordpress: http://rightweb.wordpress.com/2006/08/07/best-online-flight-booking-engine/

    on blogger: http://rightweb.blogspot.com/2006/07/best-online-flight-booking-website.html

    Surprisingly to me the one on blogger hasn\’t scored anywhere as high as WordPress one. I attribute it to the template I\’ve used on blogger – on this template the titles of posts are not linking to the post page. The Permalink was done from the date of the post (big SEO mistake). I\’ve updated the template and that improved the situation a bit but still WordPress post wins big with Blogger post…

    I agree that \”best flight booking\” is not that popular. You can read my update post on my efforts where I\’ve managed to score on first slot for \”flight booking website\”. It was recently taken over by expedia but that\’s live I guess… 😉

    I keep my fingers crossed for you and looking forward to results of your tests. All that can inceare our knowledge and understanding of SEO mechanics is very welcome!

    — Pawel

  2. Very interesting on blogger not scoring as high as a the wordpress. Is it possible that google is hitting you with a duplicate content filter?

    Thanks for the comment and participation in the test! I am curious to see what will rank higher between the three, and see if we can come with a logical conclusion why? (and parent domain might be the reason!)

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