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Over the past few years, there has been a division of opinion over subdomains and subfolders. Which is better for ranking in search engines. The reality is that providing they are optimised for search engines properly there is no difference.
The problem online business owners have been having, particularly sites that have a lot of pages – we’re talking over 10,000 here – are not sign posting their content for search engines to categorise it, nor providing a clear structure of relevance within the overall domain.
One issue that some face with subdomains is that they end up outranking their primary target pages as they are ‘too relevant’ (Google has not picked up the intent as such). Therefore, it’s very important that you make it crystal clear when using subdomains, as to their purpose and who they are meant for (and you keep either a customer journey or a content type very clearly in that section / subdomain).
Search engines cannot index pages if they do not know what content end-users can expect to find on said page. Those pages obviously rank low and do not receive traffic.
As far as search engines are concerned, it is the content and structure that is the most important aspect, not the type of domain the page has. It doesn’t matter then if you use a bolt-on blog as a subdomain or build a website from a blog domain like WordPress.com and create subfolders.
However, as webowners and marketers, you may prefer one method over the other, purely from an operational point-of-view depending on the size of your website.
What are subfolders and subdomains?
Your principle domain (url) is your main folder and every other page is a subfolder. A typical subfolder url will look like this: nameofwebsite.com/products. They are the best way to organise your products and services into categories that can be easily indexed by search engines.
A subdomain has its own address and typically links into your principle domain. They are used when you want to create an additional part of your website for a particular category rather than creating a subfolder.
Subdomains are therefore better suited to businesses that have multiple arms or stores in different locations. For example, Debenhams can have a primary domain, but create subdomains for each of its local stores. Other useful ways to utilise subdomains is if you have two or more very separate types of customer persona and customer journey. Effectively, you are keeping people on their side of the fence and ensuring that the content is most suited for their journey through your site.
Bertey SEO Services
Bertey are a boutique digital marketing agency with a love for organic search (and in particular technical SEO). We don’t dilute our efforts by working with a large number of clients, and provide a granular service with attention to detail. If you have experienced problems with SEO on your site, get in touch and we will take a look with a view to providing you with an initial mini SEO audit free of charge.