Subdomain Or Subdirectory: What They Are And How They Affect Search Engine Optimization

Published by Sofia ,

Subdomain vs Subdirectory

If you’re thinking to design and develop a fresh online site, do a key migration, or revamp a website, one of the foremost thoughts you may have is how to build your online site for SEO or also known as search engine optimization. Given the extensive discussion over using subdomain vs subdirectory, you may be not fully confident which internet site construction you must pick and how that selection will impact your SEO practices. Let’s have an in-depth look at What is Subdomain? What is a Subdirectory? How subdomain and subdirectory affect SEO? Which Is Better for SEO? and other related points.

Let’s begin…

What Is A Subdomain Vs. Subdirectory?

By far, the most asked query we get from most of the people who are thinking of their online site construction is whether they go for subdomains or subdirectories. Before diving into the sea to discuss which one works extraordinary subdomain vs subdirectory in SEO, let’s put a break to simplify what makes them different.

What is a Subdomain?

Internet site owners may utilize a subdomain to distinct a segment of a site from the origin domain. For instance, BBC has generated manifold subdomains that each cater to a diverse purpose:


Google considers subdomains as completely dissimilar internet sites. Any link between them is reliant on the interconnecting system an internet site owner puts in place.

What is a Subdirectory?

An internet site is usually made up of dissimilar types of sections and web pages.

Several years ago in HTML coding, a website designer would make folders and move the website pages into those particular folders. This is why they are known as subfolders or subdirectories.

This process is quite the same as how file storage usually works on a desktop computer, where you seamlessly make folders and move pictures or spreadsheet files into those particular folders.

When Is A Subdirectory The Good Option?

Generally, sub-directories are the excellent selection for a purpose: a sub-directory structure combines all search engine optimization efforts to one specific domain.

And even though the very well-known search engine Google’s official attitude is that it treats both subdomains as well as sub-directories equal, it has also acknowledged that there are several examples where search results will recompense subdirectories.

Moving to a subdirectory from a subdomain structure might enhance an online site’s ranking. This is only because Google generally considers all the diverse segments of a subdirectory internet site as a slice of a whole.

Google generally treats every single internet site in a subdomain-organized site, as a distinct unit. This could weak some link value. If an internet site makes a proper list of the five best firms in your realm and backlinks to an article/ blog post on your internet site that acknowledgment would only enhance the authority of your article, and not as much in the direction of a distinct community online site.

Combining appropriate subdomains into a subdirectory structure will merge the backlink profiles. Each single online site augments authority to the entire website—possibly improving your search rankings.

When Is A Subdomain The Good Option?

If your venture is on the bigger side, and you have a good amount of time as well as experienced staff to handle numerous dissimilar properties, then you should go for a subdomain tactic. Subdomains are outstanding a bigger-brands which surely have distinct, exceptional entities. They can even be simpler to execute from an operations perspective, particularly if you’re catering to diverse applications or platforms like:

  • Community forums
  • Application status report
  • Helpdesks
  • Wide-ranging content management systems (CMS)

Subdomains are usually considered if a brand has numerous big, separate entities that require their own internet sites.

If your brand is systematized around topics giant enough to secure their own domains, they may be stout enough to stand tall on their own individual backlink profiles. Merging such domains into a subdirectory structure would probably only disadvantage link equity due to shifting every URL.

Protuberant, strong interlinking between your subdomains is very significant to distributing out link value consistently. Links must be authentic, search methods to cross-link that are absolutely useful to a user.

Subdomains vs Subfolders: Which is Better For Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine Google declares that they equally treat traffic of both subdomains as well as subfolders.

Also, as per Google, making changes to online site structures, though, might manipulate search traffic on a provisional basis until things relax. So whichever direction you eventually choose to take, you must stick to it.

But not everybody approves.

Subdomains may work seamlessly extraordinary for an industry like BBC that has several diverse areas of operations that people are interested in such as news, sports, travel, culture, etc.

Because heaps of traffic are being come to each of the company’s subdomains, their general search engine optimization for each internet site is expectedly performing quite brilliantly.

Obviously, most folks don’t have similar resources or highly committed audiences as BBC.

If your attention is narrow, you might take advantage of using subfolders because they will increase your general search engine optimization traffic to your key domain, and that should perhaps be your objective.


Except you have a convincing business aim to generate subdomains for your unique content, your search engine optimization approach will be greater served with subdirectories. Having a single root domain usually collects your link authority in a single place, focuses collective keyword improvements, communicates a crystal-clear structure to Google, and retains your overhead low. Subdirectories are much simpler for you, relaxed for Google, and calmer for your visitors. Win. Win. Win.