Friday, April 23, 2010

Subdomains or Subdirectories? From SEO point of view

 First, let’s define what we are talking about: “” is a subdomain while “” is a sub directory or a folder within a domain.

A sub directory is used as a folder within one domain to organize smaller pieces of content, like a category of several pages. For most people they will only ever need subdirectories.

A sub domain creates more separation than just a folder, basically creating a stand alone site that could easily be it’s own domain. However, you may want to piggyback on the main domain name. For example, is the main site. Gmail actually lives at Google Maps lives at, and Google Documents at These are each stand alone sites and could be their own domains but they make more sense under the google umbrella.

How do sub domains effect SEO?

sub domains used to help with SEO because there was a chance AND would show up in results while there was (and is) a limit on two pages per domain in a search engine results page (SERP).

One strategy that could make sense would be to create a subdomain for a section of your business or site that could really be a standalone site. If you are a department store, you may have “” and use “” to create a site with great SEO specific to electronics, since the searches will see it essentially a stand alone site about electronics. Then use “” to target searches specific to food. If you had those things combined (along with ten others – shoes, jewelry, etc. ) the content is not as specific and may be confusing as to what the site is about. Meanwhile, they all still help pump up the image of the main domain “”. You have created several specific relevant sites all benefitting from the main brand of “”.

Which one should I use?

For most situations and for the average website, the easiest solution is a new subdirectory. If you are setting up a new blog, you can create a folder called “blog” install wordpress and you have your blog at “”. There is no reason to use a whole subdomain for that. I like the simple idea that if you could almost justify starting an entirely new (but related) site, then use a subdomain. If you are simply adding a new category of pages with similar content, then just use a subdirectory. Save the subdomain for something that is big enough and clearly separate enough that it needs to be its own site.

If you can afford the time an money required to develop out each subdomain and if your main domain would be too convoluted by having too much on it, I’d say yes. If not, save yourself the heartache and extra work. Just make your site easy to navigate, use folders and you should do just fine.

Drawbacks to using sub domains

Each sub domain would be looked at by search engines as a new site, which means you will need to do everything you would normally do for a new site.In short, creating back-links, battling the sandbox, and all other problems associated with domain development are still present. If this sounds like too much trouble, you may want to consider creating sub folders within the domain.This would look like

Benefits to using a sub domain

Let’s say you had a site that had many categories in it. If you were to submit to directories you could submit each sub domain as it’s own individual category and not get penalized. The links from the subdomains to the main domain would be looked upon as one way links from another domain.

If a sub,domain becomes banned will it effect the main domain?

The answer is yes. It may get the main domain banned if they are linked to each other. There has been proof of main domains being banned, yet i have heard of many instances where they have not.The main domain may not get banned under certain circumstances. The question shouldn’t be whether the main domain can get banned because of a sub domain, but instead, why would your sub domain get banned in the first place.If you want to experiment with untested or controversial methods, do so on a new domain.

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