SEO Subdomain vs. Subdirectory: Which is the Better Option for SEO?

Subdomain or Subdirectory? Cadence SEO

When it comes to optimizing your website for technical SEO purposes, there are a lot of different things that you need to consider. One of those things is whether you want to use a subdomain or subdirectory for your site. 

There are many debates about whether or not to use a subdomain or a subdirectory for your website. The truth is both options have pros and cons, so it’s important to understand them before deciding. This article will help you decide which option is best for your company.

What is an SEO Subdomain?

A subdomain is an extension of the primary website domain name. A subdomain is created by adding a prefix to the parent domain. It’s a part of a website that can be accessed from another part of the same site or an external link. Generally, subdomains do not have their own setup for SEO in content management systems unless specified by the owner to do so. 

An SEO subdomain is a subdomain on your website that is specifically used for SEO purposes. It contains all of the information about your company and its products, services, and contact information, as well as any additional content you want to add, such as blogs or other forms of social media. This way, people can easily find your site from search engines like Google.

For example, if your business’s website were seoblogs.com, its subdomains would be blogs.seoblogs.com or services.SEOblogs.com. 

A subdomain can be used to create a new section on your site that’s dedicated to specific content or products. It also gives you more control over how each part of your website appears in search results. This means that if you want one part of your site to show up higher in search results than others, you can make sure that happens by using one subdomain over another.

What is an SEO Subdirectory?

A subdirectory is a page on a website that’s stored in one of the site’s directories. A subdomain is a separate domain from your main site, such as: example.com and example.com/blog. 

A subdirectory differs from a subdomain because it uses a folder structure instead of directly connecting with your domain name. Subdirectories are often used to group like content together, such as when you have a blog and want to separate it from your main site.

For example, if your company has multiple sites on one server but all have different URLs, then each site would have its own folder like this: /business/blog/.

Key Differences Between SEO Subdomain vs Subdirectory

Subdomains and subdirectories are two different kinds of pages on your website. They’re both great SEO tools, but they have some differences that can affect your SEO strategy.

Domain Architecture

SEO subdomain and SEO subdirectory are two different types of domain architecture for a website. While the terms “subdomain” and “subdirectory” might sound confusing, but they’re pretty easy to understand when you break down their components. Basically, a subdomain is an extension of your main domain. 

For example, if your site is example.com, then pages would be technically considered part of that main root domain, example.com in this case.

 If the owner of example.com wanted to add a separate domain for their eCommerce store, they could do so by creating an entirely new domain. 

For example, if we wanted to create a separate eCommerce website called shop.example.com, then it would be considered a subdomain of example.com.

On the other hand, a subdirectory is essentially just another folder within your root domain. So if we were talking about a different kind of website with products under its own unique URL like example.com/products/, then this would be considered a subdirectory of example.com.

Domain Authority

In the world of SEO, you need to have a strong domain authority so that you can rank well in search engines. Domain authority is based on the number of links that point to your website from other websites. When a website links to yours, it shows that your site is important and credible. The more links there are pointing at your site, the higher your domain authority will be.

Subdomains generally have lower domain authority than subdirectories because they are usually part of a larger domain name. 

For example, if your website was called example.com, any subdomains within that would have lower authority than subdirectories with their own root domains (such as seo-subdomain.example.com or blog-subdirectory.example.com). 

This is because there aren’t as many backlinks pointing at those subdomains compared to if they were standalone sites with their own root domains.

URL Length

The URL length of a subdomain is shorter than that of a subdirectory because the root domain name (TLD) is not included in its path. URL length matters because short URLs are easier for people to remember and type into their browsers when trying to visit your site. Short URLs also tend to show up higher in SERPs than longer URLs do because they contain less characters and thus have less competition from other pages with similar names and content types.

Crawl Efficiency

The biggest difference between SEO subdomains vs. subdirectories is how search engines see them and what they expect from each type of URL structure. When Google indexes a website with a single domain, they expect all pages to be connected through links within the same site architecture (i.e., one parent directory). 

This means that if there’s no link connecting two pages, Google will assume those pages belong to separate domains and treat them as such when crawling and indexing those pages in their search results. This can result in lower rankings because Google will treat these pages as separate entities even though they might have similar content or target audiences. 

Linking Efficiency

The main difference between an SEO subdomain vs. a subdirectory is that a subdomain is a website within a website. In contrast, a subdirectory is simply a page on the same server as the main site. This means that if you have an SEO subdomain, it will be linked to the main page of your site. If you have an SEO subdirectory, it’ll be linked to your site’s root directory.

This has implications for search engine optimization (SEO) because Google likes to see multiple links from other sites pointing at a single page. The more links there are pointing at any given page, the higher that page will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

So if you have an SEO subdomain and another website links to it from their homepage or elsewhere on their site, then Google will count that as one link. 

If you have an SEO subdirectory and another website links to it from its homepage or elsewhere on its site, then Google will count that as two links—one from each server.

How To Choose Between an SEO Subdomain vs. Subdirectory

If you’re new to SEO, you may wonder what the difference is between a SEO subdomain and a subdirectory. Or maybe you’ve already chosen one of these options for your website, but now you’re not sure it was the right choice.

The answer is: it depends! There are many factors that go into choosing which option is better suited to your needs as an SEO professional or business owner. Here are some things to consider when deciding between these two options:

The type of content you’re trying to optimize. 

If you’re trying to rank for an exact match keyword, such as “seo subdomain vs subdirectory,” then a subdomain is your best bet. If you’re trying to rank for a broader term like “how to choose between a SEO subdomain vs subdirectory,” then a subdirectory may be better suited.

The purpose of your website and the site’s audience. 

If your site is solely used for business purposes and has no social media presence, then a subdirectory may be more appropriate since it can help with branding and create an easier path for search engines to read through each page on your site. 

However, if your site has social media accounts or blogs where people are posting content regularly, then a subdomain may be better suited because it will allow users to easily find those posts through searches on their social media accounts or other platforms like Google+.

Your site’s branding and marketing goals.

 If your site is used for business purposes and has no social media presence, then a subdirectory may be more appropriate since it can help with branding and create an easier path for search engines to read through each page on your site. However, if your site has social media accounts or blogs where people are posting content regularly, then a subdomain may be better suited because it will allow users to easily find those posts through searches on their social media accounts or other platforms like Google+.

The user experience on your site.

If you have a lot of content on your site and want to make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for, then a subdirectory may be preferable because it will help you organize all your content in one place. If you want people to create their own accounts or log into yours when visiting, however, then a subdomain may be the better option since users will only have to go through one login process instead of two.

How the search engines interpret URLs.

If you want to make it easy for search engines like Google to understand your site and its content, then a subdomain may be the best option since it will help them better understand your site’s structure. Suppose you’d rather have some control over how people find your content on social media or other platforms. In that case, a subdirectory may be preferable because it will allow you to change URLs without affecting search engine rankings.

Get SEO Expert Advice From CadenceSEO

Choosing an SEO subdomain or an SEO subdirectory depends on your website’s current state. The subdirectory is probably best for you if you have a large site with many pages. If not, then the subdomain will serve your needs just fine. Whatever route you decide to take, make sure that it fits into an overall strategy for improving your SEO performance—and don’t forget about our unique and personalized approach!

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to use a subdomain or a subdirectory. While we hope that this post has helped narrow down your options, we still recommend getting in touch with a technical SEO consultant when making this decision.
CadenceSEO provides comprehensive SEO services for small businesses, startups, and enterprises. Contact us today for a free audit.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Receive our weekly newsletter full of SEO tips, insights and guidance. 



More Posts

cadence seo chrome tool recommendations

11 Free SEO Chrome Extensions To Help With Your SEO Strategy

Share via: 56 Shares Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email More SEO can be a tricky business. That’s where SEO Chrome extensions come in. With these handy tools at your disposal, you can make sure that your website is optimized for search engines so that potential customers can find exactly what they’re

email marketing

Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing in 2023

Share via: 79 Shares Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email More Building your digital marketing strategy for 2023 and beyond requires you to investigate the many available channels that allow you to connect with your ideal audience and to build on those relationships. One of the most beneficial channels available is email

How To Write SEO Headlines That Will Stand Out

Share via: 58 Shares Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email More So you’ve decided to start writing content for SEO. But how do you write a headline that will get people to click?  With so much information on how to write great SEO headlines, it can take a lot of work to

What Our Clients Are Saying

Free LIVE SEO Audit

Let our expert team walk you though your website!

Share this post with your friends

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

83 Shares
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap