Folder Domain Names and Sub-Domain Names
A folder domain name may be thought of as the "human" naming convention in reverse. Yes, humans place there first or nick name first and their family or surname second. Website naming conventions work the other way around. When it comes to the Internet we place the "family name" first and the individual webpage name second. As we suggested above we suggest that you once again pay attention to the webpage name of the pages that you visit. You will see that the initial part of the name is constant but that the back end changes on a page to page basis.
The name structure normally is http://www.domainname.extension/foldername/etc
Internet addresses that include "folder" names carry the same credibility as any other name from search engines; in fact the entire internet is structured around folder name page referencing.
The name structure for a sub-domain name is http://www.sub.domainname.extension
The sub-domain name is set as a prefix to the domain name with a dot between. There is much consensus that sub-domain names are not highly rated by search engines and in the absence of opinion that suggests otherwise we recommend that you research the matter further before considering the use of a sub-domain name.
Domain Name Redirection
The practice of redirection is a mature and well established practice or process of forwarding a browser/person that navigates to a given domain name to another.
It is as simple as: "Hi, Jack's not here he is at Jill's house!" You can use link forwarding which discloses the journey or you can use domain name cloaking which keeps your top level domain at the top!
As a generalisation as long as the redirection is set as being a permanent redirection the top level domain will carry as much "recognition" as the linked underlying domain. The practice is understood to carry search engine support. Often, where one seeks the "best of both worlds" one may enjoy the immediacy of a folder domain as well as the plusses of being associated with a collective marketing opportunity but in addition the look and feel of branded individualism is available by redirecting a branded individualistic domain to a hub domain name that offers folder identities to members of the "family."
Regular link forwarding: Redirection may be done in such a way that the browser is able to track their internet journey by following the domain name and folder name changes as one migrates from one webpage to another.
Domain Name Cloaking: It may also be done in such a way that the browser is unable to see the true lower level location address of any given webpage. The latter process is know as domain name "cloaking." Simply put, the top level domain name cloaks or hides the underlying lower level portion of the domain domain approach.
With link forwarding your browser will reflect the full designated domain name ( the top level name and the lower level name) for all pages and the uncloaked approach will allow the user to follow the migration path and as such the "journey" is transparent. The cloaked approach "brands" the site with the top level domain name and cloaks/hides further name information. There are arguments for and against cloaking that may be akin to arguments for and against disclosing your family surname, club name, town name, country etc. There were times when cloaking was said to be frowned upon but hey, it seems pride in one's name has won the day over prejudice!
The internet was founded on an intensely individualistic approach within a global environment. Individual sites with unique identifiers were placed on the world wide web. More and more the benefits of association in one way or another such as by link swapping, directory listing etc are used to boost the visibility of individual sites on the web. As portrayed in the picture above; the shoal of small fish are more likely to be found on the web than a single big fish; a shop in a shopping mall may enjoy more passing traffic than the big conglomerate in an industrial park. So too we have seen the growth of country-coded domains and now trend spotters will see that this hub is but a community-coded domain name.
Domain Name Hypens, Prefixes and Suffixes
The use of hypens to introduce prefixes and suffixes is becoming more of a reality as traditional domain names tend to be taken. There are no guidelines issued by search engines on acceptability but one must bear in mind that search engine "Kudos" relate to ranking, a very important matter but human keyword selection drives the process. So if you were to say want to have the domain name cabernet for the wine that we produced we would find that the domain name:
www.cabernet.com is taken | Availability
www.Vinyard-Cabernet is available as is Think-Cabernet.com | Use of a Hyphen
www.CoastalCabernet.com is available as is www.AgedCabernet.com | Use of a prefix
www.CabernetSite.com is available as is CabernetOnline.com | Use of a suffix
When exploring hyphen, prefix and suffix opportunities one should bear in mind the ease of marketing and brandind building. Do not select a name that will be difficult to remember or brand. using prefixes, suffixes and hyphens opens the way to some exciting opportunities to be the answer to match keyword phrases entered by users into serach engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. In this area the concept of keyword density becomes important. If a user entered a keyword phrase in a search engine of " aged cabernet" the keyword density would be 100%. If the user entered only the keyword "cabernet" then the keyword density of our AgedCabernet domain name would be 75& because it has an 8 out of 12 strike rate. The higher the strike rate or keyword density the higher your site will rank in search engine rankings.
We suggest that you employ a few "golden rules" when exploring these opportunities; it must fit the nature of the business; it must render your site as a relevant search result; it must be pleasing to the eye ie have a good look and feel; it must be easy to remember; you must be able to build a brand identity with it.