SEO & Google Fight Over How Google Treats Subdomains vs Subdirectories

Jan 24, 2018 - 8:15 am 43 by

Google Submarnie

We are now off the 302 redirects fighting and now onto fighting about how Google handles subdirectories vs subdomains. In short, part of the SEO snippets Google video series, one of the videos released a month ago was named "Subdomain or subfolder, which is better for SEO?" Google's John Mueller basically said do what is best for your business and server set up and then explained how Google treats them - saying both are fine, both rank. Again, the video is from a month ago.

Here it is:

Here is the transcript also:

Today's question is an evergreen one.

Deepak from India asks us subdomain or subfolder, which one is the most beneficial for SEO. Google web search is fine with using either subdomains or subdirectories. Making changes to sites URL structure tends to take a bit of time to settle down and search so I recommend picking a set up that you can keep for longer. Some servers make it easier to set up different parts of a website as subdirectories, that's fine for us. This helps us with crawling since we understand that everything's on the same server and can crawl it in a similar way. Sometimes this also makes it easier for users to recognize that these sections are all a part of the same bigger website. On other servers using sub directories for different sections like a blog and a shop can be trickier and it's easier to put them on separate subdomains. That also works for us.

You'll need to verify subdomains separately in Search Console, make any changes to settings and track overall performance per subdomain. We do have to learn how to crawl them separately but for the most part that's just a formality for the first few days.

So in short use what works best for your setup and think about your longer-term plans when picking one or the other.

Now, Rand Fishkin posts on Twitter that the video was "disappointing" and Google answered it wrong:

So now Googlers like John Mueller and now Danny Sullivan have to go in and debate it. To them, it doesn't make sense. John did the internal research and has no clue why the SEO community thinks he wants to mislead them:

Danny Sullivan also:

Rand calls out Danny:

They get into it:

Some SEOs who are okay with it:

The debate goes on and on, I cannot list them all here.

Don't you just love this industry?

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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