Hear about new posts as they happen. Improve your marketing.

Welcome to Dear John, a new (hopefully weekly) column where I’m going to answer questions about SEO/digital marketing in longer formats. If you have a question you’d like me to answer, please email it to hello at getcredo dot com with the subject starting with [DEAR JOHN]!

I recently answered a question on Moz about subdomains vs main domains. This one looks like it’s actually a migration issue, but only time will tell as I didn’t have the domain in order to have a look.


I’m working on a site at the moment and the sub domain is acting as the main domain. This occurred when the site was redesigned and built on a sub domain for testing but it was never moved to the main domain when it went live (a couple of years ago). So little or no pages are live on domain.com but all on sub.domain.com. It’s a large company but they have very poor rankings. Would you recommend that they move the sub folder back into the root folder? Does this involve renaming/re-pointing URLs?


My response:

Hi there –

I’m a bit confused about your question. When you say “sub folder” there at the end, do you mean “subdomain”? If so then the question makes sense and that is what I will answer.

First of all, technically www.site.com is a subdomain that is treated the same as subdomain.site.com or othersubdomain.site.com.

So, in my opinion and experience, their rankings shouldn’t be terrible just because they’re on eg a www2.site.com subdomain. I do wonder though, since they had their main site on another part of the domain and then moved to this one that was originally a test subdomain, if there were issues with the migration to the site that was built on this other subdomain than the original site. You need to go back and do a forensic SEO analysis (or hire someone to do it) to see if 301s are correct, if a lot of links were not redirected, and the like before you even consider moving everything back to where it was before. If you don’t do your due-diligence, you’re likely going to do more harm than good.

Hope that helps.


Have a question you’d like me to answer publicly? Email it to me – hello at getcredo dot com – and start the subject line with [DEAR JOHN].

Looking for tool and book recommendations?

Sometimes the hardest part of growing your company is finding the right tools to use to execute on your strategies. Tools are a dime a dozen, but the right tool for the job is hard to find.

Check out our recommendations for lead generation and SEO tools as well as the books we recommend reading as you grow your business.

More Articles

The top business podcasts we’re listening to at Credo

Posted by on December 11, 2018 in CredoCast/Entrepreneurship

  Check out this episode on iTunes. As I’ve been building Credo for the last few years, I’ve realized that in order to have a…

View Post
When should CPG companies start investing in social ads?

Posted by on December 5, 2018 in CredoCast/Social Media

There’s a lot of advice out there about investing in social media advertising and how it’s the new wild west of advertising, with cheaper clicks…

View Post
How to diagnose a website traffic drop

Posted by on November 29, 2018 in Marketing Strategies

Has your website traffic inexplicably dropped and you have no idea why or how to fix it? A traffic drop can be a scary thing…

View Post