One subject that comes up time and time once more within the feedback on our Multisite posts is search engine marketing.

Other folks steadily need to know the way working a Multisite community will have an effect on search engine marketing, each for the principle web page and for different websites or blogs within the community.

There isn’t a easy solution to the query “How will Multisite have an effect on my search engine marketing?” The way in which by which search engine marketing and Multisite have interaction is determined by how the community is about up, what sort of domain names you’re the usage of and the way you wish to have your search engine marketing to paintings. Some community admins need the entire community to be handled as one web page for search engine marketing functions, whilst others need each and every web page to be handled otherwise.

On this submit, I’ll have a look at 3 other situations and the way they have an effect on search engine marketing – one will lend a hand if you wish to have your community to proportion search engine marketing juice, and the opposite two will paintings perfect if you wish to have each and every web page to be handled otherwise through search engines like google:

Let’s get started through summarizing the choices you may have in Multisite.

Multisite and Domain names: Your Choices

Multisite will provide you with two choices for managing the domain names utilized by the websites on your community:

  • Subdirectories: In case you set your community up with subdirectories, a web page inside of it is going to have the area, the place is the area of your community and mysite is the person web page.
  • Subdomains: With this setup, your web page could have the area

You need to specify which of those you’ll use while you turn on Multisite, and you’ll’t exchange it later on. In case you’re activating Multisite on a longtime WordPress set up you’ll most effective use subdomains, and in case your community isn’t on your area’s root listing you’ll have to make use of subdirectories.

On the other hand, there’s a 0.33 choice that may override both of those and that’s area mapping. Area Mapping means that you can map a fully separate area (or a couple of domain names) to any of the websites on your community, because of this that your web page could have the area and can behave as though it’s hosted on that area as an alternative of on your community.

Word: WordPress 4.5 presented area mapping as a local function. So, you don’t have to make use of a third-party plugin. For the newest on area mapping see our Ultimate WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping Guide.

Seek Engines and Domain names

As Google is the hunt engine maximum people concern about, let’s check out how Google treats subdomains and subdirectories.

In a Google+ hangout in August 2016, Google’s John Mueller gave us a couple of clues as to how Google treats subdomains:

“With subdomains, the principle factor I’d be careful for is that you just’re no longer the usage of wildcard subdomains as a result of that may make crawling actually, actually arduous. If we need to undergo all of those subdomains and deal with all of them as separate hosts. However when you have a restricted selection of subdomains then that could be an choice. In a similar fashion, when you have other websites which are necessarily totally separate web pages however they’re in subdirectories … then we’ll attempt to determine that out as smartly. And say, smartly, if truth be told those are … separate websites that are supposed to be handled totally one after the other – then we’ll attempt to determine that out as smartly. In order that’s no longer one thing that may … like give a boost to or harm scores. It’s extra an issue people figuring that out. And up to now I’ve noticed our algorithms do a lovely just right task of that.”

You’ll watch all the hangout right here:

My working out of that is that Google does its perfect to determine how your websites must be handled irrespective of whether or not they’re the usage of subdomains or no longer. Google will deal with subdomains as separate hosts when you’re the usage of wildcard subdomains, but when no longer, it would no longer if the content material is expounded. And when you’re the usage of subdirectories, then Google will do its perfect to regard them as separate websites if the content material makes it transparent that that’s the case.

Which is excellent news if you have already got a Multisite community and will’t exchange your setup – Google will take a look at to answer the way in which your content material works and no longer simply the way in which your domain names are arrange.

However when you’re putting in a brand new Multisite community, I’d nonetheless advise the usage of the area method that gives you the most efficient effects for search engine marketing. In case you’re managing separate websites with overlaps of their content material, or comparable websites with very other content material, then it will pay to not depend on Google’s set of rules running it out. Finally, it may well’t harm to make existence as simple as conceivable for Google.

So how do each and every of the 3 Multisite choices have interaction with search engine marketing?

Domain names and search engine marketing

Let’s paintings via each and every of the 3 choices and determine how they may paintings if Google’s set of rules doesn’t organize to determine how your content material is structured however as an alternative makes use of the area construction as a information.


So far as their URL construction is involved, subdirectories aren’t any other from pages and subpages in your major web page. So structurally there’s no distinction between a web page known as “About Us” which is a kid web page of every other “My Website” web page at the major web page at, and an “About Us” web page on a mysite web page in the community on the identical cope with. That is why that you’ll’t turn on Multisite with subdirectories on a longtime WordPress set up, as a result of there could also be a conflict of urls.

Google will do its perfect to spot the place websites are separate the usage of subdirectories however because the URL construction is equal to for a unmarried web page, you must suppose that for search engine marketing functions, your community can be handled as one web page.

If you wish to have search engines like google to regard your community as one web page, that is the method you can use. If you wish to have search engine marketing for the websites in your community to be separate, cross with an alternative choice.


Subdomains paintings within the reverse approach to subdirectories: search engines like google will deal with them as separate websites except the content material between them may be very an identical. So when you’re the usage of Multisite for a couple of websites belonging to 1 group, chances are you’ll in finding that Google treats your websites as one although they’re the usage of subdomains.

On the other hand, as with subdirectories, I wouldn’t depend on the major search engines to do that for you. Subdomains aren’t the most efficient method if you wish to have your community to be handled as one large web page. As a substitute, use subdomains if you wish to have the websites to be handled otherwise. And in case your websites have comparable content material however you wish to have to be completely positive Google will create them one after the other, then use mapped domain names as an alternative.

Mapped Domain names

Mapped domain names can be handled totally one after the other through search engines like google, although they relate to websites hosted on a Multisite community. It is because the major search engines use domain names as their place to begin, and no longer website hosting setups. So if you wish to be sure that the websites in your community are handled totally one after the other, use mapped domain names. This will likely observe although your content material is identical.

Mapping Domains will ensure the sites in your network are treated as separate for SEO purposes.
Mapping Domain names will make sure the websites on your community are handled as separate for search engine marketing functions.

There’s something to watch out for right here, although: in case your websites have numerous content material in not unusual and you utilize area mapping, you’ll be penalised for having unoriginal content material in each and every of the websites. Google expects a top quality web page to have authentic, related content material, so in case your websites proportion an overly top share in their content material, mapping domain names may land you in bother. Assume arduous ahead of you do that.

Multisite search engine marketing: What You Must Do…

As we’ve noticed, the method you are taking in your area construction is determined by the content material of your websites and whether or not you wish to have them to be handled as separate websites or no longer.

Right here’s an summary:

Multisite and SEO comparison chart

search engine marketing and Multisite Needn’t be Difficult! In case you observe this information, your search engine marketing must paintings the way in which you wish to have it to.

search engine marketing issues can every now and then put other people off the usage of a Multisite community. I’ve every now and then had other people question me, “However doesn’t Multisite mess along with your search engine marketing?”

The solution is not any.

In case you arrange your community and your domain names to inspire the major search engines to index your web page in the way in which you wish to have them to, then Multisite gained’t reduce to rubble your search engine marketing.

And although your current community’s area construction isn’t optimized, you needn’t panic – as we’ve noticed, Google algorithms will do their perfect to paintings issues out for themselves.

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