Location! Location! Location! is a guideline most associated with the real estate industry, however it seems to apply to the SEO/Social Marketing space with a slightly different context when it comes to hosting a blog.
The most common ways to implement a company blog are as follows:
1. Sub domains – http://blog.company.com
2. Directory – blog/
3. Separate domain – www.blog.com
Before selecting the location of the blog, there is the blog itself to consider. The first question you should answer is “What is the Goal of the blog?” The Answer to this question will provide guidance on whether the blog should reside on your company’s website or exist as a separate entity.
1. Vistors never leave the website
Core Considerations for an offsite blog:
1. Different Topic
2. Different Technologies
The only reason I can see for hosting a blog on a separate domain would be that the subject matter of the blog is off topic from the main website. For example, say you have an e-commerce website that sells sporting goods, but the topic of the blog is primarily focused on mountain biking due to an employee’s passion for the particular sport. Sure this blog could be located on the main website however, by being located on a separate URL, the blog could build a community around one aspect of the business, while not having to focus on the other products.
After the decision has been made on whether the website should reside offsite, optimizing the blog will be specific to the platform you are using. Should the decision be made to host the blog within the company website, there is one more remaining consideration: Subdomain or Directory and the SEO benefits of each.
Currently sub domains are treated as a mini site within the main website, even though in December 2007 Google’s Matt Cutts stated in an interview with Web Pro News that Google will start treating subdomains as part of the main website. This may allow for the possibility of additional rankings on the first page of the Google SERP’s. Another reason to place your blog on a subdomain is that it creates the perception that the blog is a separate section of the website.
Placing the the blog within a directory on the website has its benefits as well. Should Google begin to attribute sub domains as part of the main website then you are prepared. Link authority gained by the blog via linking will flow up to the root domain. If the goal of your blog is well thought out and visitors find it useful, people will invest the time to interact (which is the goal of your blog right?) and the SEO benefits will build.
The true nature and goal of the blog should never be trumped by SEO considerations. You may end up with a highly ranked blog that is completely useless.