Subdomain vs. Subdirectory

Subdomain vs. Subdirectory- Which is Better for SEO

Ashkar Gomez
11min read
Table of Contents

Most SEO people go through this doubt “Is a subdomain or subfolder better for SEO?”, Subdomains and subdirectories serve different purposes and both are useful for websites.

We will dive deep into subdomain vs. subdirectory, their use cases, and which is better for SEO.

What is a Subdomain?

A subdomain is the subset of a domain name known as the extended part of the domain for specific purposes.

Subdomains are always considered as separate domains in the Google’s point of view.

For Example:

There will be one main domain and three or more subdomains for a website which serves various purposes.

Main Domain:


Here is the main domain and others are subdomains in which the can be used for blogging, can be used for educational purposes and can be used specifically for services.

What is a Subdirectory?

A subdirectory is a folder that is located within the website, It is also called a subfolder or pathway of the website.

Subdirectories are used to organize and structure files and content, making it easier to manage and navigate through a hierarchy of information on a website.

For Example, 

Main Domain:


Here website stores files in separate directories and all those folders are related to the main domain.

Subdirectories are used to organize and structure files and content, making it easier to manage and navigate through a hierarchy of information on a website.

You can link subdirectories via internal linking techniques that can enhance the main website’s authority.

What is the Difference between a Subdomain and a Subdirectory?

To be simple, the main difference between a subdomain and a subdirectory is their location within the URL structure of a website, both serve the same purpose of organizing the content.

Here are some easy-to-remember differences between a subdomain and subdirectory


  • A subdomain is a part of a larger domain.
  • It appears before the domain name in a URL, separated by a dot.
  • Example: “” where “blog” is the subdomain.
  • Subdomains are often used for organizing different sections or services of a website, or for creating different web addresses for specific purposes


  • A subdirectory is a folder located within the main directory or folder.
  • It appears after the domain name in a URL, separated by a slash.
  • Example: “” where “blog” is the subdirectory.
  • Subdirectories are used to organize content within a website or file system,  for categorizing different types of content, or for separating sections of a website.

Subdomain vs. Subdirectory- Which is Better for SEO

For SEO, both subdomain and subdirectory works well, some SEO experts’ opinion is that the subdirectories are better because they are seen as part of the main website’s structure.

Content within subdirectories will contribute to the overall authority and relevance of the main domain.

Backlinks pointing to the main domain can benefit the content within subdirectories

On the other hand, Google treats subdomains as separate entities from the main domain, requiring separate SEO efforts.

Backlinks to the main domain may not have the same impact on subdomains because they are treated as different websites.

According to John Mueller, the subdomain vs. subdirectory will not affect SEO, He conveys that Google search bots process both in the same way.

Subdomain vs. subdirectory

This is the statement of Mueller while explaining subdomains and subdirectories.

So, use the one that aligns with the purpose of your website. If you need a separate domain for educational purposes which should not correlate with your main domain, then go for the subdomains, If you are a small business, go with the subdirectories.

Use cases of Subdomain and Subdirectory

We will discuss some use cases of both subdomains and subdirectories, which will help you to choose the best for your website.

Use cases of Subdomain:

Multilingual websites: 

The subdomain can be used to create versions of the website in different languages, such as for English, for French, and for Spanish.

Specific services or products:

Companies can use the subdomains to showcase the various services or products they offer.

For example, might focus on a company’s services offerings, while might highlight their products.

Blogs or Forums: 

Websites often use subdomains to host blogs or forums as separate entities from the main website.

For example, or may provide dedicated areas for discussion or posting blogs.

Testing and development

Subdomains can be used to test new features or improvements without impacting the main website.

This allows developers to test independently without affecting live sites, such as or

Use cases of Subdirectory:

Content Organization: 

Subdirectories are often used to organize content within a website, making it easier for users to navigate through sections. 

For example, might contain all blog-related posts, while might include product posts.

SEO and Link Building:

Subdirectories can contribute to the overall authority and SEO performance of the primary domain, as backlinks from subdomains might be indirectly directed to the main domain.

Ecommerce  Purposes: Online stores often use subdirectories to categorize products by category or brand. 

For example, and can act as subdirectories for different products.

Resource Library:  

Websites offering resources or documentation may organize them into subdirectories for easy access. 

For example, or can provide centralized repositories for documents.


After exploring subdomain vs. subdirectory, hope you have a clear understanding of what are subdomains and subdirectories, their differences, and use cases.

Do not worry about SEO, choose the best that aligns with the purpose of your website, even the subdomain with a good site architecture and SEO effort ranks well. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is subdirectory better than subdomain?

Subdirectories are considered better because they are seen as part of the main domain. Search engines treat all content on a domain as a single entity, so any SEO benefits gained by one part of the site can benefit the entire site. 

Subdomains, on the other hand, are treated as separate entities, so they may not pass as much SEO authority to the main domain.

Is subdomain or subfolder better for SEO?

Most SEO experts believe subdirectories are better than subdomains because Google often views subdomains as separate websites, and subdirectories are seen as part of the main website.

Are subfolders bad for SEO?

No, subfolders are not bad for SEO. They are often preferred because they can contribute positively to SEO efforts.

Does Google rank subdomains?

Yes, Google ranks subdomains just like it ranks any other web pages  However, subdomains are treated as separate websites from the main domain.

Do subdomains have SSL?

Yes, subdomains can have SSL certificates, just like main domains. Each subdomain can have its own SSL certificate installed to enable secure connections (HTTPS) for users accessing content on that subdomain.

Picture of Ashkar Gomez

Ashkar Gomez

Ashkar Gomez is the Founder of 7 Eagles (a Growth Marketing & SEO Company). Ashkar started his career as a Sales Rep in 2013 and later shifted his career to SEO in 2014. He is one of the leading SEO experts in the industry with 8+ years of experience. He has worked on 200+ projects across 20+ industries in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, UAE, Australia, South Africa, and India. Besides SEO and Digital Marketing, he is passionate about Data Analytics, Personal Financial Planning, and Content Writing.

Table of Contents

Related Articles

Your Business
Starts Here

Let’s Have a Cup of Digital Tea

Request Your Free Quote

Book Your Free Marketing Consultation

Your Monthly ads spend