Monday, September 26, 2022
HomeSEOSubdomain vs. Subdirectory: Which is the Higher Approach to Construction for search...

Subdomain vs. Subdirectory: Which is the Higher Approach to Construction for search engine optimisation Functions?

It’s a debate that’s been raging in search engine optimisation circles for years (and doesn’t appear to be near ending anytime quickly); which one is best for search engine optimisation functions, subdomains or subdirectories? 

Many individuals ask whether or not it’s a good suggestion emigrate, for instance, a weblog or eCommerce retailer from a subdomain over to a subdirectory as a substitute. Additionally, will it enhance your SERP rating on Google and different search engines like google? 

Extra importantly, what’s Google’s tackle the topic, and do they crawl and rank a subdirectory (subfolder) in a different way than a subdomain, or vice-versa?

To reply these questions and (hopefully) make clear them for you, The HOTH presents this useful information to the distinction between a subdomain vs. subdirectory. We’ll have a look at what they’re, how they work, and a few real-world examples of the search engine optimisation variations they supply.

What’s the Distinction between a Subdomain vs. Subdirectory?


A straightforward option to perceive a subdirectory is to consider it as a file cupboard with completely different file folders. All the folders are saved in the identical cupboard, however all of them have completely different info. (That’s why subdirectories are also referred to as “subfolders.”)

With a subdirectory hierarchy, the basis area URL will all the time be adopted by the subdirectory. Utilizing The HOTH for instance, our area identify is If you wish to signal as much as be a member, the subdirectory for that’s In case you wished to drill even deeper and turn out to be, for instance, an search engine optimisation reseller, that subdirectory is

Image of the Hoth URL

You possibly can hold including extra subdirectories advert infinitum till all of the content material you need is nested collectively. (Not that it’s best to, however you possibly can. Extra on why you shouldn’t drill down too deep later.)


The simplest method to consider a subdomain construction is to consider each folder as its personal, separate web site, with separate content material administration, analytics, and many others. Slightly than nesting inside each other, subdomains stand subsequent to one another.

With a subdomain, as a substitute of following the basis area URL, it precedes it. Though The Hoth doesn’t use subdomains, if we did, they might seem like this:

Discover the distinction? Slightly than all folders stemming from the primary area URL, every has its personal area, and all are on the identical degree. 

None of them have subdirectories (or only a few in the event that they do) as all of them take care of one particular a part of the general entire and nothing extra. One other option to clarify it’s that, as a substitute of all folders in a single file cupboard, each folder has a separate cupboard.

Subdomains are used for quite a lot of causes which are comparable from one group, entity, or enterprise to the subsequent, together with:

  • Weblog websites. (One of many extra controversial matters of the dialogue.)
  • Cell websites. Cell content material is structured far in a different way than desktop content material.
  • Intra and worldwide web sites
  • eCommerce websites
  • Types of completely different sort

A straightforward option to perceive the distinction between a subdirectory and a subdomain is {that a} subdirectory is one other web page on a web site, whereas a subdomain is a separate web site altogether. 

And once more, a subdirectory will all the time be positioned after the primary area URL (, whereas a subdomain will all the time be positioned earlier than the primary area URL (

Be Cautious of Utilizing Too Many Subdirectories

We talked about earlier that you might use subdirectories, or subfolders, to your coronary heart’s content material when you like when structuring your web site. Frankly, nevertheless, utilizing too many subfolders will not be the perfect concept. The explanation why is twofold; person expertise and search engine crawlers.

Let’s begin with person expertise. The perfect web sites make it straightforward for guests on the location to navigate from one web page to a different when they should discover completely different content material, info, and many others. Nonetheless, when you use too many subdirectories, you begin to intrude with that person expertise and, in reality, make it tougher with each click on an web searcher makes. 

For instance, the URL string can turn out to be extremely lengthy when too many subfolders are used. That, in flip, provides to a searcher’s confusion when in your web site and creates the chance that, on the subsequent click on, they turn out to be so confused and annoyed they click on away. Recreation over.

Search engine crawlers are subsequent. If you use subdirectory after subdirectory, you make it an increasing number of troublesome for these crawlers to search out new content material in your web site as they should hold burrowing additional down to search out it. (Be aware to self; do internet crawlers get drained?)

In each situations, your search engine optimisation suffers, you threat dropping guests, shoppers, and gross sales, and any progress you might need made together with your search engine optimisation goes out the window.

For these two causes, it’s finest to not go too deep with subfolders. Use them, after all, however use them sparingly. Your backlinks might be preserved while you do, and any authority you’ve constructed together with your area will stay additionally. 

Advertising a selected internet web page stays easy while you don’t overdo it with the subdirectories because the URL string stays quick. Lastly, the web page authority you create in your numerous subdirectories stays intently linked to the basis URL area, important to rating extremely on Google and different search engines like google.

Why and When Must you Use a Subdomain relatively than a Subdirectory (Subfolder)?

One of many largest factors of rivalry many have when discussing subdomains vs. subdirectories is that if subdirectories are higher for search engine optimisation, person expertise, and search engine internet crawlers, why trouble with subdomains?

The reply is that, in some cases, it’s higher (or needed) to have a subdomain.  For instance, let’s say your group has a large quantity of on-line content material, a lot content material that internet hosting all of it on one web site would merely be untenable. 

In that case, having a number of subdomains would unfold that content material round and make it simpler for searchers to search out what they’re in search of quicker.

Disney is a good instance. The Disney company is so large that placing all of its content material on one area would in all probability make it the most important web site on the planet. For that motive, Disney has damaged up their content material into subdomains to make it simpler for its thousands and thousands of consumers, shoppers, subscribers, and searchers to search out what they want.

Thus, Disney has subdomains for its movies, parks, completely different properties (Marvel, Pixar, Fox, and many others.), and several other extra. By the way in which, all of those subdomains are handled by Google as utterly separate entities or web sites. The onus of linking all of them collectively falls to Disney itself, utilizing hyperlinks from one to the opposite. 

Infographic on When to Use Subdomains

There are a number of different causes to make use of subdomains, which we touched on briefly above. Beneath we’ll take a more in-depth have a look at them, together with:


Earlier, we briefly talked about that blogs are a important level of rivalry within the subdirectory vs. subdomain debate. (Some consider that they carry out higher when positioned in a subdirectory, and stats appear to again up this declare.) 

That being stated, some corporations and organizations select to host their weblog on a subdomain after they plan on, for instance, having numerous content material campaigns. On this case, it’s truly doable to serve a subdomain as a subdirectory and get the perfect of each worlds. Subdomains are additionally helpful for constructing authority inside a sure area of interest.

eCommerce Shops

Organizations that promote merchandise together with their different providers and merchandise usually select to host their eCommerce websites on a subdomain to make it simpler for patrons. 

In some cases, relying on the kind of eCommerce retailer they host, it’s needed, as some use code incompatible with their important area.

Buyer Assist

Relying on the product or providers you promote, having your help web page as a subdomain generally makes extra sense. This alternative is normally because of web site construction variations however may also be because of desirous to compartmentalize the help part of their web site and hold it other than their important web site.

A number of Geographic Areas

Many companies use subdomains to separate their group by completely different nationwide and worldwide areas. That is usually the results of language variations from one area to a different however may also be for areas broadly separated by house and sensibilities. 

An organization that has places on the east coast, west coast, and midwest may select to make use of subdomains for this very motive. One with places in the US, Germany, and Hong Kong would do the identical.


This final class normally applies to large firms and entities like Microsoft. They’ve so many occasions and in so many places, having their occasions web page as a subdomain makes extra sense than a subdirectory.

A Web site Can have Each Subdomains and Subdirectories

Earlier than we go additional, a fast word {that a} web site can have each subdirectories and subdomains. Usually, nevertheless, a subdomain can have far fewer subfolders as a result of the depth and breadth of the data might be far lower than with subdirectories.

What Impact do Subdirectories and Subdomains have on search engine optimisation?

We saved the meat and potatoes of the subdirectory vs. subdomain debate for final. 

Deciding which presents the perfect search engine optimisation outcomes is the most important problem. Why? As a result of Google says one factor concerning the two classes (that they’re judged equally) whereas statistics say one other (that subdirectories get extra site visitors from Google and thus higher search engine optimisation outcomes and better rating).

Many search engine optimisation consultants declare that Google’s internet crawlers routinely mistake subdomains for utterly completely different web sites, which is problematic so far as search engine optimisation, web page authority, hyperlinks, and so forth are involved. Most significantly, they argue that this designation as a separate web site places an enormous harm on their Google web page rating.

Alternatively, Google says that, apart from a slight lag-time for subdomains, their crawlers index and rank subdomains in the identical method they do with subfolders. In a (now well-known) video, Google search advocate John Mueller states that “Google internet search is okay with utilizing both subdomains or subdirectories.”.

Image of John Mueller's video on Subdomain and Subdirectory

Nonetheless, as identified by numerous search engine optimisation consultants over the past a number of years, statistics present in any other case. There are dozens of examples of blogs beforehand hosted on subdomains being transferred to a subdirectory and, nearly immediately, seeing a large improve in natural site visitors.

Sure, in some circumstances, utilizing subdomains is a greater technique. Nonetheless, subdirectories would appear to be the higher alternative for smaller corporations with much less content material, smaller budgets, and few or no, in depth verticals. 

Remaining Ideas on Subdomain vs. Subdirectory

For almost all of organizations and companies, utilizing a subdirectory hierarchy is a more sensible choice than one based mostly on subdomains. They supply a greater person expertise, rating, and search engine optimisation outcomes. 

Subdomains nonetheless serve a vital goal, although, particularly when internet hosting kinds, help facilities, and even blogs when the purpose is to rank for a distinct area of interest. 

In case you have extra questions concerning the variations between subdomain vs. subdirectory, we’re right here to assist. E book a name with certainly one of our search engine optimisation consultants immediately to be taught extra. 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular