How to use Hostname Visibility Data in the SISTRIX Toolbox

Hostname visibility information can reveal a lot about a business and its online activities. It can show strategies that are working, expose business practices and help monitor and analyse visibility development across a large site. The SISTRIX Toolbox data, updated and archived since 2010, offers hostname lists (sometimes known as sub-domains) to allow to you to perform quick analysis, for any ranking domain.

Where can I find the hostnames ranking under my domain?

Hostnames, sometimes called sub-domains, are an integral part of the SEO module in the SISTRIX Toolbox. You can find them in two locations.

Top Hostnames in the overview page of the SISTRIX Toolbox

You’ll find a pie chart of the most successful hosts of the domain in its overview page, which will appear after typing the domain you want to analyse inyo the search bar.

However, to reach the detailed hostname data, search for a domain 1 and click on the entry “Hostnames” in the menu at the left of the screen 2 .

Data options

This section offers you some options in order to personalise the data available.

SISTRIX Toolbox: options for a directory ot subdomain analysis
  • Mobile/ Desktop: choose if you want to analyze desktop or mobile data and visibility.
  • Export: export the table as a CSV file. To do this you’ll need to use some credits.
  • Shortlink : share the table on Social Media.

You’ll find these features at the top right corner of the page. But don’t forget that the icon at the top right corner of the chart will offer you even more options and functions.

Options for hostnames' chart in the SISTRIX Toolbox

Select different date: the data for hostname desktop visibility has been crawled and saved since 2010 (mobile data since 2015 in the UK), giving you the possibility to check how their status was in the past. By clicking on this entry you’ll open a drop-down menu with all the different dates available: pick the one you are interested in and the graph will quickly change.

Show more pins: the Toolbox automatically inserts a pin in the chart if there’s a likeliness that a Google Update could have impacted the visibility of the analysed domains. However, to see all our research on Google updates, you can click on “Show more pins”. On the contrary, “Hide all pins” will give you a clean chart, while “Edit pins” will let you decide which pins, including your own, that you want to see in the graph.

Add pin: add your own personal pin to the chart. This pin will be visible only to your account. To learn more about pins in the Toolbox you can read the tutorial: Document Developments with Event-Pins.

Download Chart: lets you download the chart (and the graph if needed) as a PDF, PNG or CSV file to analyse it later or share it with your stakeholders.

Compare data in chart: the Toolbox automatically lists the biggest paths in the chart. With this entry you can add hostnames from your own website, or you can compare hostnames from different domains, seeing their visibility changes and their historic development.

Add to Dashboard: adds the chart and the table to a dashboard.

Add to Report: adds the chart and the table to a report.

Export table: lets you download the data as a CSV file, that you can later import into tools such as Excel, Sheets or Google Data Studio.

Hostnames analysis

Hostnames chart in the SISTRIX Toolbox

The chart shows the visibility of the three biggest hostnames of the given website in Google search for the chosen country. The data is shown on a weekly basis and gives you the possibility to evaluate three major points:

  • What is the ranking performance of each hostname on Google
  • Are there any visibility problems caused by a technical issue (during a relaunch, for example)
  • How did the hostnames develop in the past or were there any changes in the domain structure

All these questions can be important, not only for your own domain, but also for your competitors’.

Hovering the mouse on the hostnames' chart will show you its values

If you hover the mouse over the chart, the Toolbox will show you the data for that week.

Click on the right mouse button to see the hostnames' keywords

You can also right-click with a mouse and select click through to the ranking keywords for that date.

If you need to focus on a specific period of time, you can zoom into a specific date-range by holding the mouse button down and selecting the range you would like to focus on.

Directly under the chart you’ll find a useful table containing all the hostnames of the website 1, their visibility index 2, the number of Top-10 and Top-100 keywords 3 and the quantity of Top-10 and Top-100 URLs 4. This gives you the possibility to quickly check which hostnames the website has and how they’re performing at the moment.

The order of the table is based on the number of Top-100 keywords rankings of each hostname. If you want to change it, you’ll just need to click on the column heading of the value you are interested in.

Click on the checkboxes in front of the top three hostnames to show and hide each line in the graph above 5. As mentioned above, if you’d like to change the hostnames shown in the chart, you’ll need to click on the  menu on the top right corner of the graph 6 and select the entry “Compare data in chart” 7, typing the hostnames you would like to compare.

Deepen your analysis

Click on the hostname to further analyze it

Every hostname you see in the table can also be analysed in detail if you click on it.

The Toolbox will highlight the part pf URL you can open and analyze

You can actually use this method in every table of the Toolbox that contains a list of URLs: if you hover the mouse on the URL, the different parts of it will be highlighted, allowing you to easily click on the one you’d like to analyse (like the hostname, in this case).

Write the hostname in the search bar to open its overview page

Alternatively, you can also type the hostname you want to examine directly into the search bar.

Overview page of a hostname in the SISTRIX Toolbox

Either way, you’ll reach the overview page specific for that hostname, where you can see its most important KPIs both for desktop and mobile, like the Visibility Index, rankings, links and social signals.

When evaluating a hostname, all menu items on the left hand navigation will only relate to the subdomain you are currently evaluating.

Hostname visibility study: tesco.com

If we use the tesco.com domain, we can list current and past business activities that can expose useful information.

tesco.com hostnames in use

Tesco runs most of its e-commerce and content activities on the www and realfood hosts but take a look to see what else is still ranking today. One can assume, by looking at the ranking URLs for the host, that secure.tesco.com is the old Tesco Clubcard host. It’s currently a broken website ranking for 75 Clubcard-related keywords in the Top 10. Meanwhile, Tesco are trying to launch Clubcard Plus. A broken website won’t help that campaign.

Other hosts there are either historical or leaking to Google where they shouldn’t. Tesco could be giving away information to competitors, and hackers here. The m.tesco.com host looks like, according to its link profile, to have been hacked in the past.

old tesco site links

Historical domains should always be checked for link redirects and this is where the SISTRIX historical data becomes very useful.

Using the method shown above, change the date for the data-set and view the hosts that were ranking on that date.

tesco hostnames 2014

In this case we’ve exposed some of the historical hostnames (sub-domains) that Tesco used. It doesn’t take too many clicks to find out that redirects from phone-shop.tesco.com, a formerly successful host, are largely broken.

Rolling back the date even further reveals the original direct.tesco.com host that was later moved to a directory, and then shuttered in 2018. Having found the information about the directory, we can now re-create the visibility graph for the project, including the host move, and the https implementation, over the 10 years of data.

tesco direct website history

We also see the orchard.tesco.com domain. Orchard was a product testing site that ran from 2013 to 2017. Analysis reveals a lot of links that are now going to generic Tesco pages. This information could be a link-building opportunity for Tesco, who still run product testing programs.

More ideas for using hostname / subdomain data

  • Planning and tracking a move to, or from a hostname
  • Compare hostnames for visibility performance. What content works?
  • Get insights on past and present business activities from competitors.
  • Secure (or gain knowledge from) hosts that have SEO leaks. E.g. Supplier portals and under-construction websites.
  • Find ranking competitors an a per-host basis
  • Graphical comparisons against other hosts, domains, paths and URLs
  • Automate in external tools via API
  • Learn from host-based internationalisation strategies