Which is Better for SEO? - SubDomains or SubDirectories with keywords.

32 replies
  • SEO
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I am about to set up Word Press Multi Site.

Just wondering if the Sub domain option or the Sub Directory option will be best for SEO?

Can you WFMs help me out here?
#keywords #seo #subdirectories #subdomains
  • Profile picture of the author nicolastraffic2
    in my opinion subdomain is better for seo
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    • Profile picture of the author scott g
      I like subdomains, personally. IMO, some TLD's are better for subdomains than others.

      If you do decide to go with subdomains, you will have to install Wordpress on each subdomain. Because subdomains are treated completely seperate from the TLD - it is its own domain.


      CHEERS!
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      scott g
      "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve."
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      • Profile picture of the author Vic Smith
        Originally Posted by scott g View Post

        I like subdomains, personally. IMO, some TLD's are better for subdomains than others.

        If you do decide to go with subdomains, you will have to install Wordpress on each subdomain. Because subdomains are treated completely seperate from the TLD - it is its own domain.


        CHEERS!
        Wordpress 3.0 has a Multi Site or network option.
        You can choose either subdomain or subdirectory installation.
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        • Profile picture of the author scott g
          Originally Posted by getvic.com View Post

          Wordpress 3.0 has a Multi Site or network option.
          You can choose either subdomain or subdirectory installation.
          Thanks for the tip. I did not know that. You can tell I don't use Wordpress much
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          scott g
          "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve."
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        • Profile picture of the author Vic Smith
          OK,
          I have read all your input.

          I see that most of you say sub directories.

          How about if I have 5 subdomains linking to my main domain site. Each of the subdomains would be keywords I want to rank for with relevant content.
          The main domain could use each sub domain as backlinks that are unique if each of the subdomain sites are unique in the eyes of google.

          That seems like it is tooo easy to gain back links to be true.

          Is this thinking correct?
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          • Profile picture of the author scott g
            Originally Posted by getvic.com View Post

            OK,
            I have read all your input.

            I see that most of you say sub directories.

            How about if I have 5 subdomains linking to my main domain site. Each of the subdomains would be keywords I want to rank for with relevant content.
            The main domain could use each sub domain as backlinks that are unique if each of the subdomain sites are unique in the eyes of google.

            That seems like it is tooo easy to gain back links to be true.

            Is this thinking correct?

            This is correct. All the links to your subdomains juice up your TLD. If you're wanting to focus on micro niches within a micro niche, why not get ONE good domain and then branch off of that with subdomains to target each micro micro niche or your micro niche.

            Does that make sense?! Lol! It made sense in my head.
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            scott g
            "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve."
            Law firm marketing St. Louis SEO Financial Advisor SEO National SEO Services
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          • Profile picture of the author blackhawkup
            Banned
            yeah this is a correct way to think if you are looking for trouble...

            theres something called c class ip addresses. if you build a bunch of subdomains that link back to the root domain all of the ip addresses will be the same...you will get penalized some way shape or form...

            if it was that easy we wouldnt have to pay for bookmarking, articles, directories or anything else...we would just create 1 million subdomains and link to the root..lol nope not that easy sorry!


            Originally Posted by getvic.com View Post

            OK,
            I have read all your input.

            I see that most of you say sub directories.

            How about if I have 5 subdomains linking to my main domain site. Each of the subdomains would be keywords I want to rank for with relevant content.
            The main domain could use each sub domain as backlinks that are unique if each of the subdomain sites are unique in the eyes of google.

            That seems like it is tooo easy to gain back links to be true.

            Is this thinking correct?
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      • Profile picture of the author Vic Smith
        Originally Posted by scott g View Post

        I like subdomains, personally. IMO, some TLD's are better for subdomains than others.

        If you do decide to go with subdomains, you will have to install Wordpress on each subdomain. Because subdomains are treated completely seperate from the TLD - it is its own domain.


        CHEERS!
        Would you mind chiming in on my new question. Did Google change anything since December 2010 regarding this?
        New post:
        http://www.warriorforum.com/adsense-...ml#post5046453
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    • Profile picture of the author paulgl
      Originally Posted by nicolastraffic2 View Post

      in my opinion subdomain is better for seo
      Subdomain better? How so?

      If all things were equal, they would be equal.

      A subdomain, however, is looked as a completely unique website.
      A subdirectory is just another part of a website.

      IMHO, it is wiser to use subdirectories. Much easier to get a handle
      on and pass PR to. A subdomain would need another set of efforts
      to promote it. Do you want to promote more than one website? If so,
      then buy another domain.

      Should I build an addition to my home, or do I need to have two homes?

      Paul
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      If you were disappointed in your results today, lower your standards tomorrow.

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      • Profile picture of the author Jagua
        Good insight and great analogy!
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        • Profile picture of the author blackhawkup
          Banned
          great useless post that made no sense used to boost your post count!:rolleyes:
          Originally Posted by Jagua View Post

          Good insight and great analogy!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mikedb
    Hi,

    disregard all above messages.

    Sub Directory are part of your total site.
    Sub domains are total NEW websites and have NOTHING to do with the main URL in terms of SEO.

    So for SEO ALWAYS go with Sub Directories.

    Regards,

    Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author scott g
      Originally Posted by Mikedb View Post

      Hi,

      disregard all above messages.

      Sub Directory are part of your total site.
      Sub domains are total NEW websites and have NOTHING to do with the main URL in terms of SEO.

      So for SEO ALWAYS go with Sub Directories.

      Mike

      Where did you get that from? Subdomain having nothing to do with the main URL in terms of SEO... I beg to differ sir.

      You guys are right about subdomains being seperate entities (i said that above your post Mikedb). If you've got a good TLD (main URL (or whatever you want to call it)) then why not work with subdomains if you're targeting different keywords?

      IMO, subdomains are more appealing. Especially when the addition of a subdomain + main url = an EMD for what that subdomain is targeting....

      Just make your sure your subdomains have subdirectories and the directories of the root directory has subdirectories on the main domain's subdomain directory?!

      You copy that?
      Signature
      scott g
      "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve."
      Law firm marketing St. Louis SEO Financial Advisor SEO National SEO Services
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  • Profile picture of the author Mikedb
    Totally agree with Paul!

    Regards,

    Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author millerb7
      Mike and Paul speak the truth.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Hocking
        Sub domains are effective new websites and require promotion and link building for each one.

        If you use sub directories, they benefit from the overall promotion of one website.

        Personally, my approach would be based upon the keywords you plan to target.

        If all you keywords are based around a common theme (ie: Gardening) it would be better to use sub directories.

        If your keywords are on lots of unrelated topics, it would be best for seo to create a sub domain for each related theme.


        Having your keyword in your domain/subdomain will give you some boost but in general, I would recommend the sub directory approach most of the time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wesley Atkins
    It's a known fact that subdomains are seen a totally new websites...

    Use subfolders for sure...

    Also make sure you utilize internal links from the root domain to the new subfolder
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  • Profile picture of the author amrish2338
    subdomain is best for seo
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  • Profile picture of the author bruse
    Sub Directory are part of your total site.
    Sub domains are total NEW websites and have NOTHING to do with the main URL in terms of SEO.
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    • Profile picture of the author blackhawkup
      Banned
      Exactly..i have found that sub directories will rank in the serps just because they are getting seo benefits from the root domain. ive actually seen that in an abundant amount of affiliate sites..based of of my personal research....

      BUT..

      I have also found that subdomains do work as well...they just take a tad bit more to rank as well..but the good thing is this..**take notes here** because the site is seen as a seperate entity you can actually get a exact match subdomain..then make all of the subdirectories based around s keyword that you want to target.

      now you have a subdomain that has all of the seo benefits of a subdirectory...but unlike the subdirectory. your subdomain has multiple seo optimized webpages (subdirectories) based around that keyword.


      so instead of just having 1 subdirectory ranking...you now have 10 subdirectories on one subdomain ranking and earning you money...

      think about how this will change your life! Im just saying...it makes sense to me!

      Originally Posted by bruse View Post

      Sub Directory are part of your total site.
      Sub domains are total NEW websites and have NOTHING to do with the main URL in terms of SEO.
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      • Profile picture of the author theultimate1
        Originally Posted by Rich Jackson View Post

        Exactly..i have found that sub directories will rank in the serps just because they are getting seo benefits from the root domain. ive actually seen that in an abundant amount of affiliate sites..based of of my personal research....

        BUT..

        I have also found that subdomains do work as well...they just take a tad bit more to rank as well..but the good thing is this..**take notes here** because the site is seen as a seperate entity you can actually get a exact match subdomain..then make all of the subdirectories based around s keyword that you want to target.

        now you have a subdomain that has all of the seo benefits of a subdirectory...but unlike the subdirectory. your subdomain has multiple seo optimized webpages (subdirectories) based around that keyword.


        so instead of just having 1 subdirectory ranking...you now have 10 subdirectories on one subdomain ranking and earning you money...

        think about how this will change your life! Im just saying...it makes sense to me!
        You bring an interesting perspective Rich. Could anyone else please validate the same from their understanding and/or experience?
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      • Profile picture of the author scott g
        Originally Posted by Rich Jackson View Post

        Exactly..i have found that sub directories will rank in the serps just because they are getting seo benefits from the root domain. ive actually seen that in an abundant amount of affiliate sites..based of of my personal research....

        BUT..

        I have also found that subdomains do work as well...they just take a tad bit more to rank as well..but the good thing is this..**take notes here** because the site is seen as a seperate entity you can actually get a exact match subdomain..then make all of the subdirectories based around s keyword that you want to target.

        now you have a subdomain that has all of the seo benefits of a subdirectory...but unlike the subdirectory. your subdomain has multiple seo optimized webpages (subdirectories) based around that keyword.


        so instead of just having 1 subdirectory ranking...you now have 10 subdirectories on one subdomain ranking and earning you money...

        think about how this will change your life! Im just saying...it makes sense to me!
        This is EXACTLY what I am doing right now. Subdomain + domain.org = EMD and I've been having some good results. I would have purchased seperate domains for each site that I am making b/c each site is different in itself and targets completely different topics/keywords. With the TLD I am able to sort of "brand" my sites and all the juice from my subdomains trickles through to my TLD.

        You know how people are like "xxxx.about.com - well it's about.com so i must be good" I WANT THAT!! LOL!

        CHEERS!
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        scott g
        "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve."
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  • Profile picture of the author RhythmClick
    Hey,

    I have not really used subdomains before, but it believe they are mostly treated as separate sites.

    Good point Rich, but it was my understanding that the subdomain name does not give the EMD advantage of an actual domain. I though it used to at some point, but was changed a couple of years ago.

    A few other points to consider:

    Some ranking factors are page specific and some are site specific. As such you overall link building is helping to build you sites authority and trust, that to some degree carries across the whole site. This is basically what is largely being lost when using a subdomain.

    Some of the authority and trust however is niche specific so you do see a lot of strong ranking sites that use subdomains for very different topic areas. e.g.

    laptops.myreviews.com
    guitarcourses.myreviews.com
    ...

    Another point is that you often see sites that can fill up the front page through the use of subdomains as G seems to treat subdomains differently in terms of limiting the number of results per page. (and could therefore probably fairly easily get say 6 or the top 10 entries on a low competition keyword that was you domain name).
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    • Profile picture of the author blackhawkup
      Banned
      haha yeah you can definitel get EMD advantages with subdomains...as long as the exact keyword is anywhere within the url you are golden.

      but on a different note i have proven that time and time again...that theres only a few things that really matter...

      title tags, keywords within the content, keywords in the description, keywords in the internel links..and most important is the (right kind of) backlinks pointing to the site.

      so really it doesnt matter if you use sub domains or not you can still rank good with the right backlinks.

      As a test in 2008 (which I actually started by accident, lol) i got a site to rank for a word that wasn't found anywhere on my site at all...and after 5 months i actually got that site to the number 1 spot. for that keyword...

      the only thing i did was build the right kind of backlinks to the site. just remember quality over quantity. but a quantity of quality backlinks is what you really want.

      anyway that was somewhat of topic but the point was quit worrying about sub domains or not...it really doesnt matter. i know people with subdirectories that can out rank your sub domains and i know people with subdomains that can outrank your subdirectories...

      it doesnt matter..

      Originally Posted by RhythmClick View Post

      Hey,

      I have not really used subdomains before, but it believe they are mostly treated as separate sites.

      Good point Rich, but it was my understanding that the subdomain name does not give the EMD advantage of an actual domain. I though it used to at some point, but was changed a couple of years ago.

      A few other points to consider:

      Some ranking factors are page specific and some are site specific. As such you overall link building is helping to build you sites authority and trust, that to some degree carries across the whole site. This is basically what is largely being lost when using a subdomain.

      Some of the authority and trust however is niche specific so you do see a lot of strong ranking sites that use subdomains for very different topic areas. e.g.

      laptops.myreviews.com
      guitarcourses.myreviews.com
      ...

      Another point is that you often see sites that can fill up the front page through the use of subdomains as G seems to treat subdomains differently in terms of limiting the number of results per page. (and could therefore probably fairly easily get say 6 or the top 10 entries on a low competition keyword that was you domain name).
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      • Profile picture of the author Girard
        It seems Scott G is the only one who states that he is doing it and seeing good results.

        But Rich makes a good point about backlinking.

        I was just recently over at Brad Fallon's blog asking the same question, which was, all other things things equal would you choose for example:

        TheDietSolutionProgramReview.com/ -> keyword in domain
        BestDiets.com/The-Diet-Solution-Program/ -> keyword in page
        TheDietSolutionProgram.BestDiets.com/ -> keyword as subdomain

        He said guessing on his experience he'd choose the subdomain approach for this example. One thing in this example is that the main domain is relevant to the subdomain.

        Logic tells me this should help. Even though a subdomain is considered separate from the main domain, it still is attached and therefore has "some" relationship. How you use it, I would think, is what matters.

        Anyone else who has tested subdomains...please add what you can.
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        • Profile picture of the author blorky
          Quick question: Who is doing the dietsolution program? -This guy is nothing short of a pro. Hats off.
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  • Profile picture of the author clickbumped
    I agree with both Mikeb and Paul on this one. Subdomains should only be used for completely new parts of the site. Example: ezinearticles.com and blog.ezinearticles.com. Notice that they created a subdomain for the blog of their own site. For SEO purposes, you'll actually want to have multiple pages for the topic or you may be flagged for removal or spam. Either way will work, just keep in mind that a sub directory will have all your efforts from link building helping to push it to the top, a sub domain will not.
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    *I am not Scott Blanchard. I just thought this name was cool. =p

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  • Profile picture of the author rasel786
    I want to go with SubDirectories because i am sure that it is better than SubDomains.

    SEO TIPS
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  • Profile picture of the author DonMecca
    It all depends on your strategy. If your main goal is to promote or pass on the pagerank from your top level domain then your best option is to use sub directories. But if you are trying to really promote individual niches, which google will treat as an individual website for the most part and can help with EMD score of the URL subdomains is the way to go.
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  • Profile picture of the author DynaPass
    I have worked both ways and I see points from both end that sound good but I believe that a subdomain should be used if that part of the website is about a different topic but as people said it will need its own specific campaign. I believe subdirectories are good if the topic is similar or part of a large group.

    The only reason I say this is because in essence each website should be about a topic and a subdomain is kind of treated as a new website in Google's eyes... and I wouldn't want to pay for more domains either if I don't have the separate IP's for hosting.

    So an example would be if I am talking about Financial topics then my whole site could be in directories. If I were speaking about Financial, Insurance, Hobbies, Sports, etc... I would probably want to split those between subdomains and build out directories for each lower breakdown of the specific topic.

    Think of it as being organized.
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  • Profile picture of the author DynaPass
    And the other part that has been left out, domain name branding... with new domain names you lose branding so I can see a benefit from having subdomains instead of separate ones.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joseph Denali
    Paul and Mike's comments nailed it.

    Use KW rich directories for the most SEO value. Sub domains splinter your link equity across the multiple "properties" and directories keep it all for your root domain.
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