Should you use a subdomain or subdirectory to improve your blog’s SEO?

You’ve decided to set up a blog… You’ve created brilliant content, found the perfect pictures to illustrate your posts, and now you’ve got to make a critical decision: should you host your blog as a subdomain or a subdirectory?

To answer this question, let’s first start by defining the difference between these two options.

What is a subdomain?

A subdomain is a subset of a website which operates almost as an independent website. It typically appears before the domain name in an URL, for example https://blog.example.com.

Subdomains are generally used if a section of a website is vast enough for it to require a separate hierarchy, or if part of a website requires its own server (if you are using a different programming language for example).

What is a subdirectory?

A subdirectory is a pathway within your site. Think of it as a subfolder that lives under your parent (Home) directory.  Subdirectories are useful to organise content in a way that’s easy to understand and manage.

 Subdirectories appear after the domain name in an URL, for example https://example.com/blog.

So which option is the best one for your blog?

Well, this is kind of a tricky question, as there is no right or wrong answer. According to Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst, both options work fine:

Google crawls, indexes, and ranks subfolders or subdomains in exactly the same way. The answer to the subdomain v/s subdirectory debate therefore lies in your company’s reality.

If you have a large entreprise with multiple product offerings or business lines, using subdomains can make it easier to navigate your site. This leads to a better user experience, which could result in better engagement, ultimately improving your SEO. For example, Google uses several subdomains such as analytics.google. com, maps.google.com, earth.google.com, drive.google.com etc. It therefore comes as no surprise that Google chose a subdomain for its blog: blog.google.com. Because a huge amount of traffic is being driven to each of their subdomains, their overall SEO for each site is (predictably) performing very well.

However, most companies don’t have the same resources and highly engaged audiences as Google. If your business has a smaller niche, using subdirectories may be a better option as it will improve your overall SEO traffic to your main domain. Your blog will also inherit the authority of your parent site, so new articles can rank immediately for terms within your posts. Higher domain authority also leads to better search rankings.

Conclusion

If you are a startup or small business looking to optimize your SEO, we would advise choosing the subdirectory route.

On the other hand, if you have big plans for your company or if you have an enormous amount of information, the subdomain route is probably the best one for you.

As a final note, remember a very important information shared in Google’s video above: Changes made to sites’ URL structure tend to take a bit of time to settle down in search. So whichever route you ultimately decide to take, make sure you stick to it!

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