Google has recently announced an update to how site names are displayed in search results, allowing more subdomains to be shown. This change comes after years of requests from webmasters and SEOs for more subdomain support in search listings. Here is an overview of the update and some tips for webmasters to take advantage of the changes.
More Subdomains Now Displayed
Previously, Google would only show the registered domain name in search listings, often cutting off subdomains entirely. For example, a result for
blog.example.com would simply show as
Now, Google will display subdomains in search results in many more cases. Up to two subdomains can be shown if they provide additional context and value for users. For instance,
news.blog.example.com may now display the full subdomain name.
According to Google, this should better represent the overall structure of complex sites and give users more information about the specific page before clicking through.
Exceptions & Workarounds
However, there are still exceptions where subdomains may not show. For example, common subdomains like “www” or “m” for mobile will generally be omitted.
For sites that need workarounds due to these exceptions, webmasters have a few options:
- Use subdirectories instead of subdomains when appropriate. For example,
- Include important subdomain keywords in the page’s title tag and content where possible.
- Set up separate sites for each subdomain in Google Search Console and submit sitemaps.
- Use breadcrumbs markup on pages to highlight the subdomain name.
- Redirect common subdomains like “www” to the base domain so it doesn’t obscure other subdomains.
Benefits for Webmasters & SEOs
This change to showing more subdomains provides a few benefits for those managing websites:
- More opportunity for keyword-rich subdomain names to appear in rankings.
- Allows showcasing of different site sections and categories with distinct subdomains.
- Can help with clicks and traffic for pages deeper in a subdomain structure.
- Gives flexibility to use subdomains for internal organization or siloing content.
However, webmasters should still follow best practices when structuring sites and domains, such as keeping the overall domain structure simple and consistent.
Google notes that this update is rolling out slowly and may take some time before searchers see the effects.
Initially, only sites that already have their subdomain configured in Search Console will be updated. So webmasters should check there and submit any missing subdomains they want indexed.
The subdomain display length may also vary, with
.com sites getting up to 2 subdomains, while sites with longer TLDs like
.co.uk may show just 1 subdomain.
As with any major search update, sites may see fluctuation in visibility and rankings during the rollout period. Monitoring analytics and search performance will be important to track the impact.