Subdomains vs subfolders – which is better for SEO in 2020?

Subdomains vs subfolders

The debate over subdomains and their impact on SEO performance continue to dominate the internet. There’s been a long-standing debate over the use of subfolders compared to subdomains, and which one is better for SEO.

What is a subdomain?

A subdomain is a part of a website that works almost as an independent entity. A subdomain is what is to the left of the dot that precedes the root domain:


The purpose of subdomains originally was to offer a solution other than having to register 100+ domains. Instead of registering multiple domains, you create subdomains to host your content and you would host completely different content.

When to use a subdomain

A lot of website owners prefer to use subdomains, whereas others say that subdirectories are the better choice, even taking SEO efforts into consideration.

A subdomain leans to gather keywords independently of your top-level domain URL.

  • Subdomains are generally used when a portion of a website requires its own server.
  • A subdomain tends to gather keywords independently of your root URL. For example, ‘’ has its own bundle of keywords, separate from ‘’.
  • Subdomains are useful for audience segmentation as well.
  • A subdomain is also clear and to the point, in turn improving user experience. They tell a user exactly what to expect when clicking that link.

What About a Subfolder?

Subfolders are a more convenient site structure to set up and understand as they are the same as setting up any other folder on a website.

  • Subfolders are the easier site structure to set up and understand as they are the same as setting up any other folder on a website.
  • Unlike subdomains, there is no server partitioning involved with subfolders.
  • With this structure, all of the pages associated with IMPACT’s blog feed the authority of the main domain.
  • The keywords of a subfolder are owned (collect beneath) your main top-level domain which makes them an excellent choice if you want all the keywords on those pages attached to your main URL.

The main difference between subfolders and subdomains and is that subdomains are on the same level as the main domain while subfolders are under the main site. Google ranking factors are more than 200 things to determine the indexability of a web page. The URL structure is just one of them.

In this example, showing the difference between subdomain and subdirectory, the first link uses a series of subfolders: ‘/blog/blog-title’. The second link uses a subdomain, i.e. ‘’.

The subdomain vs subfolder debate is still ongoing.

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