Do you know that you should use subdirectories, not domains?

Last updated by Tiago Araújo [SSW] 10 months ago.See history

If you're building a website today, and your business needs to create addresses for different online directories, it can be hard to figure out the best way to go about it.

There’s a lot of debate about this topic on the internet, so the question to ask yourself is: “Should I use subdirectories or subdomains?”

Figure: Difference between subdirectories and subdomains

The general consensus is that if you are starting from scratch, it’s better to use subdirectories as they’re easier to maintain and less time-consuming in the long-term. However, if you already have a domain and a lot of legacy structures in place, using subdirectories could be a big change and might not be worth it. You would need to update your properties in Google Analytics, your Google Search Console settings, a lot of redirects, and much more.

Keep in mind, Google is now smart enough to work this out for you – it's just an extra step for Google’s bots. Watch the official video from Google Webmasters below on YouTube to find out more about this:

Video: ubdomain or subfolder, which is better for SEO? (2 min)

The impact of sub-directories and sub-domains on your SEO performance

Say you want to launch a new blog on your website... learn the pros and cons of sub-directories vs sub-domains and how they affect your Search engine optimization (SEO).

Here's a quick snap shot of the pros and cons:

✅ Integrates much better with the main-site for better user-experience
✅ Easier to track with Google Analytics
✅ Backlinks and social mentions generated from this link (e.g.: a blog) is better for Google juice
❌ Does not help generate backlinks for which the anchor text that you control (e.g. editorial links within a blog copy)

Sub-domain e.g.

✅ Verify sub-domains separately
✅ Might be technically easier to create
✅ Track performance per sub-domain
❌ Will not rank highly or as quickly as a sub-folder
❌ Needs to establish its own rep/credibility through backlinks from other sites
❌ Visits to sub-domain are not included in your original sites website visits (not included in Google Analytics)

In short, you may use the set-up that works for you and think about the long term plan. For SEO purposes, sub-folders are the recommended way to go.

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