New: Google Classifies Subdomains As Internal Links Within Webmaster Tools

Google has changed the way they handle reporting links within Google Webmaster Tools. Instead of considering subdomain links as external links, they are now considered internal links.

Google made this announcement on their Google Webmaster Blog, explaining that this applies to both the non-WWW and WWW versions and other subdomains on the domain name. Google said:

Most people think of example.com and www.example.com as the same site these days, so we’re changing it such that now, if you add either example.com or www.example.com as a site, links from both the www and non-www versions of the domain will be categorized as internal links. We’ve also extended this idea to include other subdomains, since many people who own a domain also own its subdomains—so links from cats.example.com or pets.example.com will also be categorized as internal links for www.example.com.

You should notice a change in how the links are categorized within Google Webmaster Tools link reports.

But what does this mean for how Google handles listing subdomains in the Google search results and how Google’s link algorithm treats links from subdomains off your domain? That is unclear from the blog post, at this point.

In 2007, Google changed how they handled subdomains by indenting more but that flipped back and forth over the years. With the new 12 sitelink pack, less results from the same domain, and subdomains will take up indent listings in Google, instead they will be grouped in the Sitelinks pack.

On the algorithm side, on how Google handles link weighting for links from subdomains of your site, we have no idea yet. Google has not said anything to my knowledge on that matter.

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Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Google: Webmaster Central | Top News

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • http://europeforvisitors.com Durant Imboden

    Anything that improves the accuracy of Google Webmaster Tools is a good thing. Now, if only Google would fix GWT’s inaccurate “Links to your site” data!

  • Eduardo Castelã

    I really appreciate this modification. It will be much easier to update our website and all our backlinks will be considered from now on. We have several links to the term tradução simultânea (or simultaneous interpretation in Portuguese) but they are all spread in the www and non-www versions. It was an error in the beginning of our project but now Google is fixing it for us. I’m really very happy with it and I hope soon to see the good result in our website.

  • P.G.

    I believe Google considers upto 2 sub domains as independent websites, and hence the link weights would be in line with what you would get from any other external website (given the PageRank etc etc)

    Anything more than 2, and i think Google simply ignores back links from there on…

    I am not certain, but pretty sure that I heard this from a Google guy on one of their official channels.

  • http://www.sohailtech.com sohailamir

    This is a great thing for Google to be doing! They should have implemented this earlier.

  • http://www.satvadesign.com SDS

    I have this typical question here..

    I have this site.. http://www.satvadesign.com

    so as per your article, my blog http://blog.satvadesign.com will be considered as part of my domain or the root directory which technically it always is?
    so does it mean google has made this changes to make sure that what mistake they used to do by judging subdomains seperate from main domain will be corrected after their this efforts?
    i am little confused over here, can you please explain..

  • http://www.cnet.com Simon Serrano

    I’m interested in how they’ll treat sites like wordpress.com, blogger.com, tublr.com, etc … will links to/from those sub-domains now be weighted differently?

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