Subdomain or Subdirectory Better?

  • Share
  • Sharebar

Subdomain or Subdirectory is a question always asked by many people starting to build their site/blog.

This blog was recently changed from a subDomain under the name “blog.createawebsiteincome”  to a subDirectory with the name  “createawebsiteincome.com/blog/”….why? When I first started this blog I always meant to have it set up only as a part of this website, just an element, not to be the main thing or even be a separate individual site because I’m planning on creating content for my main domain later, but recently I learned about the advantages/disadvantages of subDomains vs subDirectories and what I’m going to show you next is why I changed this blog to a subDirectory.

As you can see below if you perform a search about my blog, some of the links (1 and 2) have updated in Google and the rest (3 and the others) are updating one by one, just takes a bit of time.

Below you will see numbers (1 and 2) are now using the new subDirectory blog address (createawebsiteincome.com/blog/) followed by post name but number (3) and the others are still using the old subDomain address (blog.createawebsiteincome.com/) but they are updating soon.

 

Click To Enlarge

1) First of all, having a subDomain in the eye of search engines means that your subDomain is a separate site than your main domain and it is considered a completely different website.

This means that if you’re using something like CommentLuv and you think that your getting traffic juice by leaving your links on websites that allow do-follow think again, because if you have your blog set up as a subDomain, then your subDomain is getting all the juice not your main domain.

Search engines like Google will follow these links to your subDomain blog and wont consider these links when evaluating your main domain.

2) Page-Rank by Google for the subDomain and the main domain will be different depending on their popularity and they are each evaluated separately.

3) However on the other hand, if you check Alexa rankings for a subDomain and then check for the main domain you will find that they match and are exactly the same, but that’s due to the way Alexa evaluates your site.

4) If you have enough content to support a standalone website then using a subDomain in this case is valid as long as the content is close to the main theme of your main domain.

5) You have to be very careful when using SubDomains because if the content on your subDomain is too close to the main site, and since search engines look at subDomains as separate sites, it will degrade your rank because it will consider this as multiple sites with the same content.

6) Dealing with content inside sub-directories is easier to handle than if the content belongs to different subDomains. You can easily move content without having to worry about server permissions and modifying your .htaccess where if you had a subDomain, it will have its own .htaccess since its considered a separate site.

 

When to use subDirectories?

  • Same Content - If your going to talk about many things that still fall under the same category then your best move is to organize them in sections under sub-directories, this is also search engine friendly.
  • Organization - Sub-directories are awesome for making your content links look good and at the same time search engine friendly, on top of that its easy to work with.
  • Building a Name - When you put all your content in one location organized by sub-directories, your actually building strong ties with search engines and over time your site becomes trustworthy and you start to rank higher.

 

When to use subDomains?

  • Different Content - If your website talks about many different things that are unrelated or not very close related, then go ahead and set up a subDomain for each one, of course you cant expect to rank high and get a lot of traffic if your focus is divided between many topics since Google will always favor those with websites that are focused on one topic, so creating many sections about different topics isn’t the fastest way to gain traffic.
  • An Example - Google have their maps under the address “maps.google.com” while their news under “news.google.com” which is perfectly fine since both topics are different and also unrelated to Google’s main purpose which is search engines.
  • Extending Your Main Domains Power To New Sites - If you have a powerful site and you would like to create a new one that isn’t very close to your main domain but you want to still benefit from your main sites credibility then use a subDomain.
  • Selling Parts Of Your Site - You can create subDomains on your main domain and either sell or rent it to your visitors, that way they benefit from the popularity of your site and at the same time you can make some nice cash :P .

 

How Do You Transfer a SubDomain to SubDirectory without losing your link/traffic Juice?

This one is a little bit tricky but extremely easy to apply. First you have to think about what are you losing when your doing this because remember your whole blog changes its address and at this point anyone that have linked to you in the past would get an error, on-top of that if you have any high quality links on other blogs/websites then you lose it all, not to mention you lose your indexed posts in search engines.

Don’t worry though…This can all be solved with a simple: 301 PERMANENT Redirect!

Whats a 301 Redirect and how would it benefit me?

Simple, a 301 Redirect is a permanent redirect link, which means it tells search engines that the targeted page has moved permanently to a new location, not only that but since its a redirect, if people click on the old links it will redirect them to your new ones without any errors.

You have to set up a 301 Redirect for every page/post on your site/blog, and you will see that overtime (Usually within about 1-2 weeks) search engines such as Google will start replacing the old links in their search results one by one to their new proper location. You can set up your 301 Redirects through your C-Panel for every page/post.

This way if you have old links on other blogs it will still work, and all links in search engines not only will work but will also switch to the new locations little by little.

You can easily find all posts/pages that Google indexed about your site by simply visiting Google.com and typing (site: followed by the full URL of your site WITH NO SPACE IN-BETWEEN). For example: site:http://createawebsiteincome.com/ after that take all the posts/pages you need and create a 301 redirect for each one in your c-panel.

After your done with your redirects, DO NOT FORGET to resubmit your new address to Google and your new site-map to Google’s webmasters, it helps index your new locations faster.

Hope this post helped a bit for anyone who starting a new site/blog, or doing a switch between a subDomain to a subDirectory. :)

This entry was posted in Design, General Info, Search Engine Optimization and tagged , , by Sayed. Bookmark the permalink.

Subscribe To Get My New Posts!

I respect your privacy, NO spam I promise.

Be Cool And Show Some Love, Share!

Pin It
About

I'm a Computer Science Major at York University (Toronto). I Love programming and creating websites, my goal is to one day have my own set of Plugins/Themes created from scratch, for now I'm focusing on learn about SEO and Blogging. :)

Connect with me on:

31 thoughts on “Subdomain or Subdirectory Better?

  1. Wow! Its a great post and well worth discussion. Love you Sayed!

    What frightens me when thinking to change a subdomain to subdirectory is the loss of back links and 404 Error. Though there is 301 solution but it really takes a big effort. I’d like to learn bit more about how easily you could switch to sub-directory and how much 301s you’ve configured.

    A big thumb up for this quality post!
    Suresh Khanal @SEO MMO Tips Blog recently posted..How to upgrade your wordpress blog manually?My Profile

    • Hey Suresh thanks for visiting man :)

      I was scared and worried before I did it too, but it turned out fine, and it was very easy, I had to make sure I redirected all my pages/posts to the new location.

      The way to do that is through your c-panel, for me I use HostGator so here’s what I did:

      1) That sub-domain was in a folder called “blog” but I wanted to to use that name for my new sub-directory, so I made the sub-domain refer to another folder called “blog-redirect”.

      2) Inside “blog-redirect” you have to edit your .htaccess to redirect any links that go in there to the new location, but you can do that from c-panel directly by going to “Redirect” under “Domains”.

      3) Now is the tricky part, to create a redirect for every page/post, go to “Google.Com” and type “site:http://www.seommotips.com/” this will show you all the pages on your site that has been indexed by Google, you can leave out pages that don’t make sense such as comment # pages and such made by WordPress but for every link for your other posts/pages copy it and put in in your C-panel under “Redirect” and make it redirect to the corresponding new location of that page and make sure under “Type” to choose “Permanent 301 Redirect”.

      That way when people click the old link the sub-domain goes to the new folder and find a redirect in the .htaccess for that link with the new one and little by little Google will update to your new links.

      This way you don’t lose the old links and at the same time, you do a permanent 301 redirect to all your pages/posts.

      For me it was easy because my blog isn’t very big, so I only did about 40 redirects because that’s how many pages/posts were indexed by Google, might take a bit more time for bigger blogs, but its pretty easy and fun. just make sure to type (site: followed by any address you want WITH NO SPACE!) and it will show you all pages/posts from that site then just copy paste that into c-panel under redirects one by one.

      If you have any more questions please let me know, was good seeing you again man. :)

      Take care.

      Sayed.

  2. Awesome post. After reading this I think having a sub domain is better. This means that you get traffic both from the main site and from the sub domain site which will do a lot in making your blog rank higher.This post has really been informative.

    • If you have content that’s going to be different than your main domains topic but at the same time a little related then subDomains are awesome to use.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • Hi Raj,

      Each subDomain is looked at as a separate website, this means that you can set up a separate FTP account for it and give it certain credentials with a different username/pass than your main FTP account.

      By doing this you can rent or sell if you want the rights to that FTP account and people can upload their files using this account in order to use the subDomain.

      This can benefit users since subDomains and main domains share certain things such as Alexa Ranks and getting indexed faster which would give your subDomain an advantage over new starting out websites due to the main domains high popularity/traffic.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • Hi Sayed! This is a very interesting post and informative too. I did not know that we can transfer a sub domain into a sub directory so easily. Yes, like everyone I was worried about the traffic and backlink stuff. Regarding the selling or renting of a subdomain, is it secure to rent or sell your sub domain. And if you have it like blog.createawebsiteincome, does the purchaser get the same name? That would give a wrong message to your readers and they think that is your site while you are still operating the main domain. What do you say?

        • Hey Christian,

          Renting a subdomain is secure since once you create it, it will have its own credentials for logging in and using that portion of the server, meaning you can give the username/pass to anyone or even sell it and they can login using any ftp software and upload their own pages. It has nothing to do with the rest of your website and main domain so it should be secure.

          Also Subdomains are considered a separate website, take for example free hosting companies, they let you create any name you want and that name is a subdomain followed by the main domain. If you rent or sell subdomains you can make that public knowledge, that way people will not mistake your subdomains as part of your main website, and everything should be fine.

          Thanks for taking the time to comment Christian.

  3. Pingback: profitblogcom

  4. Congrats Sayed. what a great post. It’s not that i haven’t read about sub-domains and sub-directories before but have never come across such a detailed post. You have provided every single bit of information and that too in such an easy to understand manner. Thumbs up man.

    • Not if you use permanent 301 redirects, at this point Google views this as your location being permanently moved and thus is safe to remove the old locations from their indexes.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  5. I actually went through this a few months back. I decided to go with a subfolder or subdirectory. I thought about a subdomain for awhile. I did some research and one of the other things was you could potentially pull two spots in a google search. One for your main domain and one for your subdomain with two listings each. With a subdirectory you would only get one. I just figured it wasn’t very likely that I would rank for both anyway. I think I made the right choice.
    Ray recently posted..Google Pagerank Update November 7th, 2011 Follow-upMy Profile

    • Yup you’re right Ray, and also the best part is that if you enjoy working on your blog a lot then any traffic/ranks you get to your blog will apply to the main domain as well, which was the main reason I switched over to a subfolder.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)

  6. Hello Sayed,

    Thank you for a very logical and well presented explanation.

    I recently read a blog post where the author seemed convinced that using a subdomain would pass PR and authority from the main website. Didn’t make any sense to me whatsoever.

    Your article makes a lot more sense – so cheers for that.
    Hamish recently posted..Kindle Touch vs Nook TouchMy Profile

    • Thank you Hamish, PageRank is calculated based on each page on your website individually, each page can have a different PR, they are not related.

      Although the homepage is usually the one with the highest PR since it has a lot more back-links with other websites than any other page on your website.

      And you’re right, The main domain does not pass any PR juice onto subdomains or subfolders either. Each page is evaluated based on its own popularity and back-links.

      Thanks for commenting. :)

  7. Pingback: Should I set up my blog on subdomain or in a subfolder?

  8. Previously I don’t know the difference between subdomain & subdirectory. But from your article I find there is huge difference. Subdirectory is Google Search Engine friendly. I prefer subdomain most. But from your content my thought all changed. Thanks for sharing an exclusive post.
    Ahsan recently posted..How to Make More Money While Blogging OnlineMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge