Subdomain or subfolder: what’s your gut feeling?

One of my clients is thinking of putting up a secondary blog on their website (they already have one blog up and running!). So they asked me for an opinion on whether they should use a subdomain or a subfolder for this new blog. This question made me realize that for many bloggers it really is worth thinking about. So, what’s the right answer? Which one should you go with? With SEO in mind, both have their advantages.

Check out this video for one strong opinion:

Now, let’s start off with some common sense facts:

Fact 1: Strong subdomains ( and root domains ( always help out individual pages. The best supporting examples are websites like Wikipedia where any page would rank better simply because of how powerful the sub and root domains are.

Fact 2: A subdomain is a separate entity and you should assume that it will not inherit ranks from other subdomains you have. More so, it will most likely get no benefit from the root domain either. Blogging platforms are a great supporting evidence for this fact – not that it wouldn’t be really cool if we inherited all the good stuff from by simply putting up a blog a subdomain on WordPress.

Fact 3: Unlike subdomains, subfolders inherit everything from subdomains and the root domain.

Now, what’s the answer?

I personally prefer subfolders for blogs ( because the links the blog gets are naturally distributed to the main domain and all other subfolders under that domain. Also, a subfolder in terms of inbound and internal linking structure is more favorable. In many cases, a blog is a great source of outbound links and will improve the overall rank of a website, so it is hard to let this opportunity slide.

But there also are certain benefits to creating a sub domain instead of a subfolder. With a subdomain, the blog will be listed as a separate entity in the Google search results, which is good for owning the results and one’s reputation management. Common rules are that Google and other engines will generally not list more than two of these subdomains in the search results, unless those subdomains can prove to Google that they are independent and relevant entities. Look at it as it’s simply a bit harder than it used to be for multiple subdomains to rank well.

And, lastly, if you decide to go with a subdomain, remember that, by default, the links in the blog itself will all point back to the subdomain, not the main domain.

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  • Thanks for some great info. I have been looking at which way to go.

    Jim Clary

    August 31, 2009 at 8:42 am

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