The difference between root domain, subdomain and URL level explained

By Nicola Carey August 23, 2013

In Majestic Site Explorer and reports, users have the opportunity to look at sites on the root domain, subdomain or on the individual URL level. In this post we’ll be looking at what these different terms mean and why you might want to be able to analyse sites on these different levels.

Reports and Site Explorer queries taken at the root domain level will return results for the whole of the website being analysed. The root domain is the overarching structure which contains the subdomains and every URL. If you want the data for an entire site, sticking with the root domain will likely be the easiest way to access this data. An example of a root domain would be

Root domains are sometimes subdivided into other smaller domains called subdomains. Common reasons for this might include different subdomains covering different languages or regions.  Examples from Majestic would be our French site at the subdomain or our German site at If you’re looking for data only on a specific subset of the root domain, you may be best served doing your analysis on the subdomain level. These subdomains are smaller parts of the root domain so you’ll see fewer backlinks and referring domains on the subdomain level.

Looking at the URL level will let you see the data for any individual page within a site. If you were interested in just the data from a specific page on a domain, this would be a great way to get focused information on just that page. An example of this would be These pages make up the content that populates the domain and subdomains. You’ll see fewer backlinks and referring domains for individual pages than for the subdomains or domains in which they sit.

Posted In: General

8 Responses to “The difference between root domain, subdomain and URL level explained”

  1. Brent Roake said:

    August 26, 2013 at 4:01 am

    If the root domain is what is considered? Does is have any seo benefit to have everything pointing to over Thanks in advance.

    • Andrew Mucci said:

      August 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      > I’m pretty sure Google reads both and with or without hyperlink. The SEO benefit would be giving the user a direct click.

  2. Bilal Sarwari said:

    August 26, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Thank you Nicola for sharing basic tutorial it’s good for beginners, If you share your views by adding pictures / screenshot it will be better.

  3. Franchesca said:

    September 23, 2013 at 1:02 am

    This excellent website definitely has all the information I wanted about this subject
    and didn’t know who to ask.

  4. Steve Maitland said:

    September 28, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Hi There

    When purchasing expired domes with age and quality back links, which of the two settings should one focus on Root or URL,

    • Dixon Jones said:

      September 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      I would look at Trust Flow, at the ROOT level. I would also worry if Citation Flow was (say) 2X higher than the Trust Flow as it suggests the domain would have been part of a link farm at some point and may need some cleaning up.

  5. Gabor said:

    October 02, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Any idea why the sub-domain and root domain results differ?I mean when I’m checking the same domain name with root domain settings I’m getting different results than if it sets to sub-domain.

    • Alex said:

      October 03, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      You are getting different results because you are using different scopes of analysis – root domain shows everything for the root domain (this includes data for all subdomains on that root domain), subdomain level will only analyse links pointing to that exact subdomain, which is typically less than all data on root domain level.