April 20, 2024

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Subdomain vs Subdirectory: Which Is Better For SEO?

Subdomains vs Subfolders: What's the Difference and Which One to Use?

Having a well-designed website for your brand that promises good performance and user experience is a dream. For any new website, knowing which Australian domain to pick is the first important step. 

However, other than being aware of the different Australian domain hosts, knowing the best way to structure the website to improve search engine optimisation is key to improving the brand reach and growth.

There has been an ongoing debate about the use of subdomain vs subdirectory to improve the SEO of a website. To help understand each of them for better decision-making, let us discuss how subdomain and subdirectory impact SEO in this blog.

What is a Subdomain?

A subdomain is an additional part of an existing main domain or website. They are also considered separate websites altogether by Google. When it comes to content structure, it helps organise the content by categorising it separately on different sections of a website.

They are created by adding some content category or section-related prefix to the main domain name. Each subdomain has a URL that can be used individually to drive traffic to the necessary landing pages other than the main domain. Here’s an example.

Domain Name: freshhair.com

Subdomain 1: shopextensions.freshhair.com

Subdomain 2: haircaressentials.freshhair.com

What is a Subdirectory?

A subdirectory, also called a subfolder, is a part of the available main domain structure. It is commonly implemented to categorise the content for better content organisation in the main domain. They do not have separate entities as landing pages and are created using the domain name only.

It is done by dividing the folder name for content categorisation next to the domain name using a slash (/). This helps organise the content of the same category or bucket together, following a dedicated flow from one page to another. 

Here’s an example.

Domain Name: freshhair.com

Subdomain 1: freshhair.com/shop/

Subdomain 2: freshhair.com/clientstory/

Comparing Subdomain vs Subdirectory SEO

 SubdomainSubdirectory
IntentAdd-ons to the main domain as separate entities allowing direct navigationSame page but different folders on the main domain
Use CaseUsed to separate different categories/ products/ services/ information with different custom + domain namesUsed to separate different categories/ products/ services/ information on the same domain  
FlexibilityEach domain can run individual strategies, CMS, designs, and content flowEach directory or folder runs on the same strategies, CMS, designs, and content flow
ImplementationAdditional technical setup and support requiredThe same setup and support can accommodate all

Which is Better For SEO? 

The choice between subdomain and subdirectory regarding SEO cannot be definite as each caters to a different content structure management requirement. 

Regarding Google searches, the choice of SEO subdomain vs subdirectory is completely up to the owners as it has no direct impact on the search engine algorithms.

Based on the different goals and requirements, here are some key considerations to remember when choosing between SEO subdomain vs subdirectory.

  • End goal: If the main intention is to improve the main domain authority while improving the search engine results, subdirectories have a better impact. This is because all the efforts towards improving SEO for the main domain will also indirectly impact the overall website performance, including the subdirectories.
  • Targeting: A subdomain is a better option if you want to target separate services or products to a separate target audience. With this, you can individually market your products or services as per your chosen target audience by adding individual SEO efforts to each subdomain, which indirectly increases the rankings for the overall domain.
  • Search Engine Algorithms: Google does not differentiate indexing a subdomain vs subdirectory as a search engine. However, businesses or brands using subdomains must be more specific about their SEO efforts and better plan the content structure and quality to ensure results, as they are separate entities.

Conclusion

The choice between subdomain vs subdirectory is different from person to person. Each serves different purposes but contributes to improving the main domain SEO. Subdirectories are easier to set up and directly impact the main website SEO without amending SEO efforts fully. 

On the other hand, subdomains allow better targeting and a collective approach to improve SEO. Understand and assess your goals before choosing between either for SEO.