When it comes to choosing between subdomains and subdirectories, there has always been a dilemma. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule that can help you to pick the better one. The decision is rather subjective, which means depending on certain circumstances and requirements, you need to make your mind. Well, in order to ensure that you make smart choices, you first need to understand the basic difference between subdomains and subdirectories.
Understanding Subdirectories and Subdomains
The best way to learn these concepts is through a real life example. Let’s say you have your own company’s website with a domain ‘myCompany.com’. Now, you want to add a different section of information through a new subdirectory. The new domain would look something like this: ‘myCompany.com/newSection’. However, if your website is an enormous one with hundreds of pages covering various topics and you want a completely different topic to be included in it, subdirectory may not be a great idea. This is because, when you add a subdirectory, the root directory remains the same. It is similar to adding a new folder in your hard disk, in order to make the information storage, more organized. However, if the website already contains plenty of information, it would not be a wise decision to add more. This may confuse the search engines, which in turn may affect your site’s rankings. Well, this is the time, when Subdomains can help you out.
The URL for a Subdomain as per the previous example will somewhat be like this: ‘newSection.myCompany.com’. This is considered as a separate website. Well, in that case you may ask why we need a Subdomain, when we can have an entirely new URL. The answer to this is ‘to increase your brand’s visibility in the market’. Subdomains can be a very good way to create links between your primary domain and other related websites. They are considered to be a smart choice for larger websites. On the other hand, for smaller ones, subdirectories are great to be integrated. Not only it helps to categorize your content for easy user accessibility, but also lets you utilize your existing page rankings to promote the newly added section.
A comparison between Subdomain or Directory, which is better and why?
There are well-defined sets of benefits for both the strategies. You need to choose the more suitable method, depending on specific situations. Here is a simple guide that may help you to choose between the two.
1. When you have completely distinct set of information, choose Subdomains
For content with an entirely new theme or idea, it is better to go for Subdomains. This will let you organize the information in a more logical manner, thereby helping the end users to access the content with great ease.
2. For organizing information on a small website, go for Subdirectories
One of the biggest advantages of using subdirectory is that each and every page of your website shares the same search engine rankings. Thus, it becomes possible for one to gain significant amount of web exposure within a short period of time. Moreover, it will benefit the entire site as well. However, you must ensure that you don’t go too much deeper, when it comes to creating level of subdirectories. At the most, two levels are recommended.
3. Get multiple listings in search engine rankings with Subdomains
For a single domain, search engines display at most two URLs per query. However, if you use more than one subdomain for your brand, it is possible to get listed several times for a single query. This can be greatly helpful, in terms of Search Engine optimization for your website.
Thus, there are different circumstances, which demands different course of actions. You need to identify your specific needs, before you choose between these two strategies. One simple rule is to go for subdomains, when you need to categorize your web content for small website. This strategy can prove to be quite helpful for small sites, as you are putting all your effort into one primary domain.
On the other hand, if you own a vast website with various distinct web contents, it is better to opt for a new subdomain, instead of adding to the complexity.