Is subdomaining the answer to a recovery from the Google Panda update? After some testing, HubPages is convinced that it can play a significant role, at least for a site of its type, which includes numerous article from numerous authors.
The company announced new changes to its site on its blog today reflecting this thinking, and saying that as a result, it "should allow each author to be judged by Google separately."
Right now, HubPages is letting authors set up their own subdomains. HubPages' Simone Smith writes:
To test the success of moving accounts to subdomains, we ported over several accounts over with the expectation of some traffic improvement based on an earlier experiment, but with the understanding that there was some risk involved. We have concluded the test, and after 2 weeks of observing Google’s response, we saw a dramatic recovery among many accounts, validating the decision to move each Hubber’s account under his/her own subdomain. We expect that, with the move, some accounts will recover traffic, while others won’t.
- Selecting your subdomain, and
- Activating the move.
HubPages has a more detailed walkthrough of the process here.
The company says that in most cases, the subdomain will be users' usernames or usernames without spaces, periods, underscores, etc. For those that aren't available, they'll present other, similar options or let users suggest other options.
Users will be able to claim subdomains for about a week, then they'll be automatically assigning subdomains based on usernames.
It will be interesting to watch HubPages over the next couple months, and see how its overall traffic is affected buy this change. If it proves successful, I suspect we'll see some other victims of the Panda update implementing similar strategies.