Subdomain vs Subfolder Which one is better for SEO?

By | September 3, 2019


Hey y’all! Welcome to another WordPress
Wednesday, my name is Kori Ashton and this is a weekly program where I get
drunk at my desk, and talk about WordPress-nerdy stuff. I’m kidding. I don’t get drunk. That’s
actually a shout out to Matt Bellassai who does his weekly “Wine About It.” If y’all haven’t caught that yet, its viral
off of BuzzFeed. Check that out. It’s pretty crass and ridiculous; but at the same time some of his episodes
are pretty darn funny. Alright now today we are talking about
sub-domain v.s. sub-folder. This is a hot topic! I’m sure that the thread down below is
going to blow up with all sorts of people who are highly, highly opinionated
about this topic. If you are looking to choose which one to
use for better SEO practices. Does using a sub-domain hurt your SEO? Or does it hurt your Google ranking? It is question that has been asked for all
of ages. People have asked this for years and years
and years now. Matt Cutts from Google answered it at one
certain point. I’ll give you the reference to that video. However, SEO companies and SEO individuals
who are specialized in this industry have for months and years even, gone back and
forth;
haggling over what is best practices for
your website. Today, I’m going to chime in with my two
sense and give you my opinion as to what I found
their opinions to be. If you have any questions on this further,
you’re more than welcome to put them in the description box below. Be sure to
subscribe to our YouTube channel and you can also checkout my class over
on WebTegrity.com. I’ll put that link in the description box
below on where you can learn more about the
basics of SEO if you’re struggling. This would be the basics “best practices”
of SEO. Alright. So, sub-domain v.s. sub-folder. Let me
talk to you about what these actually look like. A sub-domain would be this. Let’s say-blog.mydomain(name).com. Then a folder
would be- mydomain(name).com/blog. Alright. These are the two variations
that a lot of people struggle with.
They wonder if putting things on a
sub-domain like this will actually effect the ranking of my root domain (this,) or if having my root domain first and
then putting my blog over here in a little sub-folder would be better practices? Truthfully, this is a huge topic. If you
do a Google search for this, You’re going to see all sorts of highly
opinionated people chiming in. What is my preference? I’m going to chime in and say that best
practices for me and what we’ve found directly with our clients at WebTegrity is
go ahead and put them in a sub-folder. If you’re just starting out and you’re
able to manage a large blog (if that’s the way you’re going to grow it) with your
information based site or your business site. Having a blog inside of a sub-folder is
pretty fantastic. One of the reasons why I suggest doing
that is because that is the natural way WordPress allows your blog to be displayed
on your Website. So you can kind of cross market everything
very easily. You can have your most recent posts
appearing on your home page. You can have your categories running down
your sidebar. Everything can be kind of in just one spot. If you were to break these apart and put
your website (your blog rather) on a sub-domain and kind of have totally
separate install; sometimes it’s more difficult then to
cross-market the two and have the content from the sub-domain
actually appear on the root-domain. It takes quite a bit of coding to
make that happen. So I just want to throw that out there to
you. If you are in fact, already have a blog
somewhere else and you’re just trying to have them all trying to sit in the same
domain (in some sense,) then using a sub-domain would
probably be your better option. I’m going to show you a couple of
different, highly opinionated people. All of these are very recent. I went
through Google and made sure that the references that I’m showing you were in
the 2015. Of course, we’re just at the end of 2015
moving into 2016. So these would all be relevant still. Sub-domain v.s. Sub-folders: An SEO Guide
to the Facts. This guy, Michael Martinez here
once again. He slams MOZ and says basically that
they don’t know what they’re talking about. That using a sub-domain would work fine as
long as you do it right. So he talks repeatedly and references the
articles that I’m about to show you- which are these. This is from MOZ. If you’re familiar at
all with SEO, you’ve probably heard of MOZ. Especially with WordPress. This is just about the same time that the
other article was written and apparently they were referencing this article. They have white board Fridays and they talk about specifically
sub-domain v.s. sub-folder. If you were to read the transcript you’re
going to see right away that they do talk about Google-stating
that they’ve made strides in this area, but they definitely (if you read through
this entire article- I’ll put the link in the description box
below.) They definitely recommend that you keep
your blog in a sub-folder. Not on a sub-domain but on a sub-folder
in this style. They reference a couple of different
case studies that they followed. Even their own case study that they did
with their own website. They show you actual Google analytics
traffic. The result of the “crash” that happened
whenever they moved things to a sub-domain. The argument is that Google is smart
enough now to realize that a sub-domain is part of a
root-domain. And while Google is incredibly smart and
they’re progressively getting more smart. More intelligent on how to crawl your website. We’re still seeing people result better
typically with sub-folders. Another article that was on MOZ is all
about domains. This is just a great article for
best practices when it comes to purchasing a domain name or how to set up your sub-domain v.s.
sub-folder. Should you use a hyphen or not? Should you use a key rich domain? What does that look like? Does the history of your domain name
matter? Meaning; how long it has been active? Does that matter? There’s all sorts of questions that will
be answered in this really great article that I found for you. I’m going to put the link to this one
in the description box below as well. The other article that I found that was
highly (really a great reference for me) was this “I Want My Name.” Now both; this article from Michael as
well as this article from MOZ referenced this article. This is one of the case studies. Iwantmyname.com walks you through the case study
that they did when they switched their blog from a sub-folder into a
sub-domain. They basically tell you
(and you can see here) just the “nose dive” that their website
took. Unfortunate that we’ve learned our lessons
the hard way. We do all this and we do this WordPress
Wednesday to help y’all (in our WordPress world) make better choices. Hopefully have a better experience with
your online marketing v.s. what we do as professionals when we even get it wrong.
So I’m sure that everybody has their
opinion on this. If you have in fact done both, (a sub-domain as
well as a sub-folder) would you put your case study or your
experiences in the desription box below? Share them with our community here on our
YouTube channel. Again, Im just speaking from my personal
experience with our clients. Y’all chime up and let me know how you’ve
done with sub-domain v.s. sub-folder for best SEO practices. I hope you’re having a really great
Wednesday! I will see you next week on
WordPress Wednesday. Bye y’all!

19 thoughts on “Subdomain vs Subfolder Which one is better for SEO?

  1. funny cartoon Post author

    HI Kori

    i am mohamed and i just need to understand how can i setup many domains on the same host service
    and thanks again and again

    Reply
  2. surquiyo Post author

    hI kORI.  great CHANNEL!  I have a question. if I  upload a large picture to my media, and I used it for a featured pic or a thumbnail. will wp lower the resolution if its show smaller . Or the visitor is actually downloading the full pic?Lvoe your channel Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  3. Dog Files Post author

    In a recent video, you mentioned a great portfolio plugin that you use. Can you tell me the name, since I can't remember the video it was in?

    Reply
  4. Betty Johnston Post author

    very clear information….i think as a sub-folder is better…. thank you Kori… ♥♥♥

    Reply
  5. EveryDay StuffHD69 Post author

    Hello,good day!
    I was researching about WordPress & found your channel,very useful information you have here!
    But I need assistance,can you help me?How do I configure my site to have the featured images of my posts to be linked to an external url so when someone clicks on the image of the post,wether on the main page or in the post itself,it opens that url linked to the image in a new browser tab?I've tried to implement that very specific action on my sites,but haven't been able to do it,I want to request if you would be so kind as to tell me how it's done,please.
    Hope to hear from you a.s.a.p.,thanks in advance

    Reply
  6. Aya's Travel - Nexion Post author

    Kori thank you for clearing up the confusion on subdomain vs. subfolder. I agree that subfolder (my opinion) is better practice. This practice follows the tree structure that has existed for decades.

    Reply
  7. Hawaii Loves Art Post author

    video idea – what are seo best practices on wp theme pages. not all those details about what words, google analytics etc. just key areas to place seo stuff or how it works on a wp theme page. in html page design you go to <head> and post terms in categories like description, keywords, etc. on wp you don't have access to that.

    Reply
  8. Kiandra Plummer Post author

    Love the energy and info, I'm about to create a site and was wondering which is better. Thank you!!!

    Reply
  9. Marcelo Bufáiçal Post author

    Hi Kori! What a great video! I have a company in Brazil that imports cars from the US and Europe. The site is all about the company and shows the whole thing about the services and cars and stuff. I need to call the attention of my future clients to new cars and I thought about setting up landing pages for each model. For example: a specific landing page for a Ford Mustang, inside my company's website, so if people Goolgle for "import mustang" in Brazil, they would be prompted with my landing page for that car specifically. Do you think that is a good strategy? How do I set up a subfolder for each one of my landing pages? How do I do this?
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  10. Adeola Poroye Post author

    Let me quash all your arguments once and for all. Infact, two points should do it. You can not register google analytics for you websites as it will not accept "/". Secondly, have you ever tried indexing for a journal, they will not accept a subdirectory structure. I can go on and on. The case made for SEO on seeing a drop in the graph when moved from subdomain to subdirectory cannot be ignored but i am not seeing that especially on a small scale.

    Reply
  11. Merriment Post author

    I have created a subdirectory. And I have two wordpress installed, one in root and the other in subdirectory. Both of them contains posts and pages. I want to access both and it's happening. But when I am hiding the subdirectory slug from the post URL by modifying the .htaccess file, the sub directory name got hidden as per the requirement but the posts of my main domain is inaccessible and getting 404 error. I want to access the post from both root as well as subdirectory. Please suggest.

    Reply
  12. Nastassja Rodriguez Post author

    Thanks for the video! can I have a wordpress bog as a sub/folder on a squarespace site???? Thanks

    Reply
  13. josefin schwartz Post author

    Hi! Thanks for uploading videos and helping us out. Is a subfolder the same thing as a subdirectory?

    Reply
  14. Bryce Peterson Post author

    I totally agree that subfolders are much better for SEO rankings, but I have a more complex issue: our company creates subdomains for our sponsors, who purchase our software and distribute it to teachers for free. We have a good reason to use subdomains so those sponsors can keep their branding on our microsite for them; is there a way to do this without subdomains?

    Reply
  15. DS Post author

    subdomains will always be better ! if you really know how to buiild them )))

    Reply
  16. Your Cloth Diaper Post author

    What do you think, if any, is the seo implications of using wordpress multisite with domain mapping?

    Reply
  17. Thomas Greenbank Post author

    Can anyone advise me please?
    I have one main site, and four niche sites. I'm thinking of moving all the content from the niche sites to subs on my main site.
    I was assuming that these subs would all work towards the overall authority of my main site, but it seems from what I've read this isn't correct.
    Would a site primarily set up in MMO niche look too spammy if it had subfolders like "best XXX, or How to XXX" ?

    Reply
  18. Satisfied User Post author

    That looks awesome Kori! Thanks for the heads up.

    Reply

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