August 14, 2018 Jesse Bickerton
Part of the discussion around creating an effective website often involves the discussion of subdomains versus subfolders. Do you host separate sections of your website in different subfolders or do you create separate subdomains?
First of all, let’s make sure we are on the same page. For example, a subdomain would look something like http://subdomain.website.com, where a subfolder (or subpage) looks like http://www.website.com/subfolder. The decision to create a subdomain over a subfolder depends on your goals. What’s more interesting is how the community differs in opinion.
On one hand, Google has consistently said that regardless if you use subdomains versus subfolders, you will rank the same. Interestingly, Google has said the same thing for years. Consider the video How Should I Structure my Site from 2012 to the video Subdomain or Subfolder from 2017. Google’s has consistently stated that regardless of subdomains versus subfolders, the pages should rank the same on Google.
Ask any one else on the Internet about the subdomains versus subfolders issue? They thoroughly disagree with Google. Many sites on the website have run their own tests, one in specific is the “I Want My Name” blog. They experimented with changing their blog from a subpage to a subdirectory. The full story can be found here but ultimately, they found that their content performed better on a subpage. This is the case in many sites across the Internet.
SEO experts would argue that for larger businesses that have multiple functions to separate content on subdomains. Smaller companies can keep content on a subfolder. Since subdomains are treated as unique websites, link building would have to be redone for each subdomain.
Bottom Line: SEO experts warn against using subdomains. Subfolders are best for SEO. Subdomains are useful for different languages or different content. Therefore, you can rely on subfolders on your website.
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Jesse Bickerton, RAVEN5, August 2018