Sub-domain or Sub-directory?

Filed in SEO by Matt McGee on February 14, 2007 1 Comment

You’ve got a lot of content. Your site is as wide as it is deep. Do you do sub-domains or stay with the traditional sub-directory structure? Conventional wisdom in SEO circles for some time has been to go with sub-domains if you have enough content to justify them. If you don’t, stay with sub-directories.

I don’t recall seeing any official search engine comments on the issue, at least not until a post last night by Adam Lasnik in the Google Webmaster Help discussion group. Says Adam:

I’d recommend thinking of subdomains more as separate islands; let’s just say that if there’s just one page (rather than a set of pages with good content) at location.example.com, that’s not gonna look too great.

Note, however, that many sites rank well on both sides of the fence… those using primarily subdomains and those using primarily folders. For those Webmasters who already have a successful implemention using one or the other, I’d be loathe to change it. For those folks starting out / doing a major rewrite, I’d probably lean towards the folders unless the volume of quality content per section is substantive.

So that pretty well confirms the conventional wisdom. I had a client last year where the debate was “sub-domain or brand new domain?” My suggestion was new domain, but in this client’s situation, it was pretty much a 50-50 split either way.

[tags]seo, subdomains, web sites, web site architecture[/tags]

Comments (1)

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  1. sheseltine says:

    We had the same discussion about 6 months ago and went with the subdomain approach. Was it the correct one? For our particular situation, yes.

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