Whether you should use a subdomain or subdirectory for your website has been the subject of much debate in the SEO community for years. Even among experts, there are disagreements, with Google saying that it does not matter whether or not you use a subdomain or subdirectory while case studies can show a marked difference in SEO traffic depending on whether you use a subdomain or subdirectory. Given that the structure of your website can play a major role in its success, you want to ensure that you do what is best for you.
The fact of the matter in the subdomain or subdirectory debate is that both are good – it just depends on what you’re using them for. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between subdomains and subdirectories so that you can determine which is best for your purposes and your site’s SEO.
A Subdomain Vs A Subdirectory In Your URL
Before we dive into whether a subdomain or subdirectory is better for your SEO purposes, it’s helpful to break down the differences between them. Let’s use an example URL that has both a subdomain and a subdirectory in it to better understand what they are.
https:// blog . yourdomain . com / blog
https:// HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. This is a mechanism used for exchanging files on the internet; the protocol.
blog This is a subdomain.
yourdomain This is your domain, aka, your main website address.
.com This is your top-level domain (TLD). Depending on the type of site you have, you may use a .org, .gov, .edu, .net, or another type of top-level domain instead.
/blog This is a subdirectory.
In short, a subdomain is structured like subdomain.yourdomain.com, while a subdirectory is structured like yourdomain.com/subdirectory.
What Is A Subdomain?
A subdomain is essentially like another website that is associated with your main domain. You often see big companies and corporations using subdomains in order to target specific audiences. For instance, if you have a translation of your site in another language, using a subdomain is helpful to separate it from your main site so that it stands alone while still connecting to your main site. This would look like: language.yourdomain.com.
What Is A Subdirectory?
A subdirectory, also known as a subfolder, is a section of your main website. It has content related to your site as a whole. Subdirectories are used to organize your site while staying on the same domain. For example, it’s common to see subdirectories like: yourdomain.com/contact, yourdomain.com/blog, yourdomain.com/services, etc.
Should You Use A Subdomain Or Subdirectory For Your Site?
Whether you should use a subdomain or subdirectory for your site depends on many factors. If you have a big business with different entities, subdomains can make sense in order to separate the entities while still connecting them to your main domain. If you have a smaller business and are concerned about SEO, you’ll likely want to stick to subdirectories.
Whether you pick a subdomain or subdirectory can come down to personal preferences. Some people prefer the look of subdomains or subdirectories. However, if SEO is your concern, you will want to approach this decision with careful consideration.
Subdomain Or Subdirectory: Which Is Better For SEO?
Google states that it does not really matter whether you choose a subdomain or subdirectory for your site, and that you should do whatever is right for you. However, Google also acknowledges that case studies showing using a subdirectory instead of a subdomain can increase SEO traffic are indeed something that they’ve seen happen.
This is due to domain authority. Google crawlers try to find what belongs on your site, and subdomains are often treated as separate sites, which can impact your SEO results. Linking between subdomains and domains can help with SEO.
If you have a small business, you’ll want to stick with subdirectories over subdomains. This is because all your SEO efforts are combined on one site. If you have a blog, you will more likely than not want to keep that on your main domain, as blogs tend to be very content rich and can help with your SEO a lot.
This is because traffic to a subdirectory reflects on your domain as a whole, while traffic to a subdomain tends to reflect on that subdomain, rather than the domain as a whole. This is because subdomains are often treated as and used as separate sites. You’ll need to double your SEO efforts for a subdomain and a domain, while using subcategories allows the subcategories and domain as a whole to benefit from the same efforts, as they’re consolidated into one domain.
Ultimately, whether you choose a subdomain or subdirectory is dependent on the size of your business and what you intend to use the subdomain or subdirectory for. In many cases, subdirectories are better for your SEO, especially if you have a small business.
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