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The Internal VS External Domain Strategy Debate

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The Internal VS External Domain Strategy Debate
One of the most fundamental strategies to help websites rank organically is to have a combination of internal and external references; ideally structured around a specific keyword/category. The definitions are as follows:
 
- Internal Reference: A sub-domain of your main website with content structured around a specific keyword/category. For example, www.ABC.com/KEYWORD.
- External Reference: a separate, individual website structured around a specific keyword/category. For example. www.KEYWORD.com.
 
Your current organic search engine thumbprint will determine which strategy is more important for you to have and optimize. If you are a big company with a strong Marketing Mix (TV commercials, Billboards, print ads, etc..), then the internal strategy would be a great, effective way to help your main website cover a variety of searches. However, if you are a new/small business with a "young" domain, then the external strategy is much more important to improve your brand organically.
 
Of the two strategies, the external resource will rank faster than internal, but the internal will support your main website. In the eyes of the search engine gods, the external is seen as a third party reference telling the search engine "look how big and knowledgeable this company is," whereas internal says, "look how many things I know!"
 
It is also important to know the competitiveness of the keyword you are looking to rank for. Something very generic, like "used cars" will be extremely difficult to rank for, and would be advised to have an external strategy updated constantly. However, if you were looking to rank for "best used mid-size German sedan Toronto," then internal with periodic updates would be much more cost effective.
 
An update can consist of a new picture, an updated article reference, a video, or brand-new content for the keyword.
 
Thank you for reading and I look forward to your comments!
2 comments
Level 5 (XP: 1850)
2 years ago
Would not an internal strategy be www.keyword.abc.com instead of www.ABC.com/KEYWORD?
Reply by iOPW
2 years ago
Good Question Joel,

What you're asking about is connected to that of the internal strategy - a subdomain.

A subdomain is usually a prefix other than "www" prior to the domain name. Such as:
"travel.appletreemedicalgroup.com" is a subdomain of www.appletreemedicalgroup.com.

They have a series of sites under their subdomain like travel.appletreemedicalgroup.com/cameroon - which are part of their internal strategy.
Level 2 (XP: 450)
2 years ago
Great article BigDipper!

I'd say internals/externals seem to be much like having an open house.

Externals are placing signs all over streets to point potential buyers to your home.
Internals are more about the way you've staged your home to give potential buyers reasons to invest.

Thanks for getting the conversation started!