1. Blog hosted on a third party server or free hosting site. Examples: myblog.wordpress.com or myblog.blogspot.com.
Oftentimes people know enough about blogging just to be dangerous – to themselves, that is. They have read up a bit on the importance of content, typically in a blog, to serve as link bait, and how relevant, inbound links can increase search engine presence. So, they go out and set up a free blog with a URL similar to those given in the examples above, and think they are set. The problem with this type of setup is that while the content in the blog certainly may serve as link bait, the links that are “baited”, or in other words inbound links gained to the blog content, point not to the user’s site, but to the free blog hosting or third party domain. Hence, no benefit to the client site is gained, from a link juice perspective, from any inbound links to the content on the third party site. This is perhaps the worst way to set up a blog if your goal is to obtain inbound links for search engine optimization purposes.
2. Blog hosted on a subdomain of the user’s primary domain. Example: blog.mydomain.com.
While there remains somewhat of a split in the SEO community about whether a subdomain is treated as an entirely separate domain or can inherit (or pass) some authority from (or to) the primary domain, most are in agreement that, at best, a subdomain can only partially pass or receive authority from the primary domain. (For an excellent, albeit somewhat technical, explanation of this, see, e.g., “Multiple Domains vs. Subdomains vs. Folders” by WebSEOAnalytics). Therefore, for the purposes of passing link juice to the primary domain we do not recommend this type of URL structure for a blog. The idea, again, of blogging (at least from an SEO perspective), is to attract links to the primary or Top Level Domain that you want to rank well in the search engines. The use of a subdomain will, at best, only partially aid you in this effort.
3. Blog hosted in a subfolder of primary or top level domain. Example: mydomain.com/blog.
This is by far the best way to ensure that links to your blog content pass authority to your primary or top level domain. Installing the blog in a subfolder of your primary domain attracts links to your specific website url, which in turn should boost your performance in search engines. Happy blogging!
About the Author: Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization firm headquartered in Austin, Texas. He has been active in the industry since 1995.