Subdomains treated like subdirectories?

Ash Nallawalla

27 May 2018

SEO

I saw a Facebook reference to an article on SEJ that “Google treats subdomains and subdirectories the same“. It caught my eye because of something¬† I experienced recently.

Recently, I requested the removal of an entire http site in Google Search Console (GSC), as this site had received a manual penalty for spammy structured data – although the site had moved to https almost 3 years ago. Got the notification for a manual action.

Thought nothing more of it for an hour and then I looked at the https property in GSC (which had replaced the http version) and saw the same manual action – but no email notification to date. Found the likely cause (rating&reviews code).

Then a few minutes later, I saw every listing for the https site disappear from Google!

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Assumed that this was on account of this manual action. Thought it excessive, but then it’s Google.

A few days later, happened to read Jenstar’s article quoting JohnMu saying that removing an entire http property will also remove the entire https and non-www properties from the index! How counter-intuitive, but then it’s Google again!

What the article did not mention was subdomains. Yes, I saw that our subdomains were also taken out of the index! So what happened to the story that a subdomain is treated by Google as a separate site for SEO purposes?

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I requested cancellation of the removal request and the listings were back in an hour! Phew.

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Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. SEO consultant.

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