Subdomain vs Subfolder Which One Better in SEO?
Many SEO say that subfolders are better for Search Engine Optimization and insist on using them. But this is a myth based on old studies. Let’s look at how those in SEO who argue on this topic do it and how it works. But first, they need to remember why.
Matt Cutts of Google explains that there is no difference in how they treat subdomains and subdirectories. The thing is, the eternal subfolder subdomain question is not the right question. The answer to this question is that subfolders are an option. There are reams of case studies and evidence from third-party vendors that suggest that subdirectory is at least as good a subdomain for SEO purposes. There is no third option that would be better.
Is a subdomain vs subfolder better for SEO?
You will be much more robust if you choose a subdomain. Folders will work better, for example, when searching a subdomain. This will make it easier for users and search engines to navigate the website.
Some SaaS companies (looking at you, HubSpot) encourage the use of subdomains in situations where they are not ideal for SEO purposes, but their functionality still depends on the subdomain. The most important point to consider with a subdomain is that it should be considered and treated as a separate website. The content of the subdomain should not be more relevant than that of the root domain or any other subdomain.
If you have a special Microsoft support page, separate it into subdomains and treat it as if it were your website. If you have pages that are parts of your main sites, such as price pages or blog pages, use subfolders. The subdomain vs. subfolder debate is still ongoing.
Traffic Differences – Subdomain vs. Subfolder
If the answer is positive, consider whether Subdomain vs Subfolder works better for your site. If it differs from the root domain, then the subdomain is the most effective option for you. You can make the final decision once you have the answer to that question.
There is a lot of weight used by subfolders and subdomains. I have said time and again that Google uses more than 200 things to determine the indexability of a website. The URL structure is just one of them.
I think it’s your preference that makes the biggest difference that Google makes. You can choose the URL path for subdirectories, subdomains, blogs, etc. The URL can be used as you like.
Take a look at this video from Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller. He comments that subdomains don’t hurt website rankings because Google itself is smart enough to consider them connected to your main website domain so you can give them SEO recognition. Google says it crawls, indexes, and classifies subdomains and subdirectories in the same way that it is better at assigning appropriate domain authority to each form of the domain.
Google Classifies Subdomains
Whether Google classifies subdomains within a section as better because they are isolated is a matter of opinion. Whether this is for SEO reasons or to give a subdomain its rank is influenced by Google and vice versa.
I don’t know if this is for SEO reasons, but for example, by separating a section of a page on another topic from the rest of the page on that topic, so that the section is static and evergreen, while the rest is constantly changing. Separating the section from the entire site so that the publisher can control it is a recipe for not allowing the rest to influence or overpower it.
Create great backlinks
Great content that merits great backlinks and contributes to better SEO results is hosted in a subdirectory or subdomain. Subdomains with current relevance and authority are more attuned to the main domain. What happens when a subdomain inherits authority over content and linking relevance is that the migration of that authority, combined with the existing authority of the main site, leads to an increase in authority and resulting organic visibility that is greater than if the two were considered separate entities.
Nowadays, subdomains are treated as part of the same website, because they seem to be part of the same. I could give you countless examples of various subdomains appearing on SiteLink brands such as GitHub, LinkedIn, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, Netflix, Walmart, etc. Many case studies show that sub-folders are better than sub-domains, but I haven’t seen any that aren’t complicated by other changes such as additional internal shortcuts or the migration of multiple properties from one to the other. Google recently closed a vulnerability in one of the old domain hosting clusters, which has been updated.
It is a very specific element that penalizes subdomains because they are considered the same by Google, but I think the real way to get a subdomain is to inherit the authority to remain unique to the subdomain, and that authority cannot be transferred to multiple subdomains. It is well known that the weight of external links on a particular website or page influences its SEO promotion.
Regarding the structure of the website, subdirectories are more convenient and intuitive to use. The path between a web page subfolder and a domain is similar to the path in a file system. The directory name is separated from the previous one by a slash.
Web servers treat their subdirectories and subfolders like normal old folders in the file system. Setting up a subdirectory is quite trivial for a simple website. In Part 2, we will show you how to use Cloudflare Workers to convert a subdomain into a subdirectory.