Why Subdomains are Bad For SEO

Why subdirectories, not subdomains, are better for SEO.

At one time, subdomains were all the rage in the web development and digital marketing industry. For those of you who aren’t familiar, subdomains are a section of your whole domain that is most likely dedicated to a section of your site. For example; blog.example.com, shop.example.com, wholesale.example.com would be subdomains of the domain example.com.

Although the idea of keeping different sections of your site separated by intent may seem desirable at first, it can genuinely hurt your online presence in the long run.

How eCommerce Sites Suffer by Using Subdomains

It may seem like a great idea to set up your eCommerce website by using subdomains. Many people believe that subdomains could be setup for each product line to help boost the overall brand awareness and brand association. But on the contrary, Google treats all subdomains as separate domains.

Therefore, the product lines you set up as subdomains will be reindexed and seen as completely separate from the overall brand. Which means that SEO will have to be handled per subdomain without any brand association help from your main domain. So if it’s crucial to separate your product lines, you’re better off creating two totally separate domains since they’ll be viewed that way anyways. You may also just work around the issue by keeping the regular domain.

How B2B and Content Sites Suffer by Using Subdomains

B2B sites often times have blog or resource centers that are set up as subdomains. Like we talked about earlier, subdomains act independent of each other and the main brand domain. We recommend setting up blogs or resource centers as subdirectories (also known as subfolders). Subdirectories are similar to subdomains in the way that they signify a different portion of the site, but they play off the SEO of your main domain. A subdirectory would look something like this: www.example.com/blog. Subdirectories can also simplify your user experience and increase your visitors overall time on site. Subdirectories make it easy to bounce from one site section to the next, while subdomains take you to a new site. Subdomains often require extra web development from internal or external developers.

Ultimately, the choice to use subdomains or subdirectories is ultimately up to you. One choice may make more sense to your business plan and give you the organization that your company needs.

Other Resources About Subdomains vs. Subdirectories: