Subdomain or subfolder, which is better for SEO?

Subdomain vs subfolder which one is beneficial for SEOs? — asks Deepak Kumar from Delhi, India

Should you place parts of your site under or in ?

We’ll answer that question and give some general tips in this video.

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Community Volunteer, Hiker, Gemologist, Veteran Startup Operator, 2012 Survivor. I look funny naked.

20 CommentsLeave a comment

  • We need data for this answer unfortunately since the counterpoint (subfolder is almost always better than subdomain if you're using it for a part of your site) is backed by pretty comprehensive case studies.

    Here's the perceived issue: and, for example, both use subdomains, but one is very much 'a part of an existing site' ( and one is very much 'a separate site' ( Most SEOs expect that Google's SERPs discrepancy, proven out by several comprehensive case studies that are easily findable online, are because the crawler has to intuit which intention your subdomain is pining for… whereas in the case of /blog, crawlers don't have to guess.

  • @googlewmc Can you go a little more advanced in this advice? Does what is on one subdomain have the same impact across an entire domain, as a subdirectory would? For example, a UGC forum on a subdomain vs sub folder: would spam and thin content in which location have more or less (or no different) impact to the rest of the domain?

  • You dodged the big question. Does Google see any link in a subfolder pointing back to the main index page as internal and therefore not give it as much importance as one coming from a subdomain which would qualify as an external link?

  • Hi John, So that's what you really look like. (I visualized heavier set from the um… WMT Profile icon or some grainy youtube screenshots?) I have just now seen your new "Series" of videos and I'm gonna have to check them out. I'd like to ask; You're a farmer arent you? (ie; known to operate a tractor / bushhog etc on a large piece of swiss land?) As Always, Thanks for all the awesomeness that y'all publish to help others succeed. And once again, after an algo update Im still shining. Quality and real content over Quantity all day and Thank Y'all (WMT Community and other Google Resources) again.

  • sorry, john, but your answer is useless… stop thinking about us as an idiots, if you dont want to give the good and clear information, maybe there is no need to make this videos at all?…

    i mean, that the question idea was: how this impact on this god damned SEO, but NOT about does google-shmoogle can index it…
    we already know that it can… for about 5 years or more, ok? we get it… google do can index subdomains and folders, so please, stop telling this for a hundred times in every video, answering that way for every question… :E

  • The main question (which I think was not answered) is: does this affect the overall domain authority/ranking? Does separating a site to 2 subdomains also separate the overall ranking for this site?

  • How do I continue my website in search console from HTTP to HTTPS without losing the old property. I don't want to add a new property.

  • Hi john muller if server having issues is there any effect in seo( it means due to server issue websites not opening, it effect the seo rankings)

  • How come all of the guys who are into SEO are gay? Is this a gay trend? Am I the only straight SEO guy? Maybe I should come out with a YT channel & call myself the "STraight SEO Guy". LOL

  • My blog has excellent organic ranking but my PHP not. Should I change my quizzes on PHP pages to my blog? I really appreciate your help.

  • Using it as a subfolder is always better. The subdomain is able to feed the next link to the main site, the subfolder on the UX side provides more efficient recycling. The subdomain that does not have the main domain domain affects negatively on the main site, and we observe it very often. John, meanwhile, the video quality is very high, the images are livelier and you look great, my friend.

  • They make videos and further spread confusions. Subdomains are awful! Google never indexed my pages well and rank them well until I switched to subfolders.

    Google treats subdomain as separate web sites and passes no link authority. Subdomains often have a higher server response time compared to subfolders residing on the same location where the rest of the site is residing. I appreciate you mentioned to keep all sub domains on the same server but you missed mentioning several important SEO benefits of subfolders over subdomains. This video should have been longer. Such crucial subject does not deserve an advice of just 2 minutes.

    Yes we know Google can index almost anything and we know that since a decade now. Please stop treating us like school kids and treat your audience more professionally by sharing golden tips rarely found online rather telling us "what Google can and can't!"

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