The Great SEO Argument – Subdomain or Subfolder?

When you are building a website it is possible to put content on either a subdomain or a subfolder within your hosting setup. You could, if you wanted to, put an entire website on each subfolder or you could use an all-in-one approach. The question is, which is better for SEO?

The answer is; it depends.

Depends on what?

It depends on the structure of your business and how much time and money you can put into your SEO.

A company that has many departments or small subsidiary companies that do pretty different things may find the subdomain structure more beneficial. The subdomain will allow each company to have a website “of its own” that can be SEO’d and maintained as a separate entity from the main group website. If you do the inter linking properly, each of the subdomains can get some link love from the others and all the subdomains will benefit from each link built to any one of the other subdomains.

A company that offers a range of services will probably do better to use a subfolder structure. For one, this offers a more consolidated view to the website visitor. For SEO, each link built to any one subfolder will benefit the entire website as a whole. Since the services will likely be related, the links garnered will be relevant, in some way at least, to all the services and to the company.

Over and above this consideration, each subdomain is treated like a separate entity while a subfolder is treated as part of a whole. This means that each subdomain will need to have its own SEO strategy and budget while the subfolder approach can take a more consolidated approach and achieve good results with a lower budget.

For a more precise explanation on this, have a look at the article by Jenny Halasz on Search Engine Journal.