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Subdomain vs. subdirectory

When MindTouch creates your site, it is set up as a subdomain, and for good reason. This article debunks the myth that subdirectories have any advantage over subdomains with respect to SEO and reveals why subdomains provide clear advantages with respect to ease of maintenance and speed of implementation.

The myth about subdirectories

Myth: Subdirectories have SEO advantage over subdomains.
 

The Facts

t's false that using a subdirectory has any advantage over a subdomain with respect to SEO. Furthermore, subdomains makes managing Google Analytics and general site maintenance easier. 

Google confirmed

As clearly and publicly confirmed by Google, there is no inherent SEO disadvantage to hosting website content at a subdomain versus a subdirectory. Given Google's advice and our experience implementing hundreds of customer websites, we have found the greatest SEO advantage stems from implementing sites as quickly and easily as possible. Subdomains achieve this requirement:

  • John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, confirmed this finding in a Google Webmaster Central office hours hangout. Watch the YouTube video.
     
  • Going further back to 2012, and revealing why some confusion has persisted about this issue in the market, Matt Cutts (at the time head of Google's webspam team) confirms the same recommendation and gives some historical context around changing perspectives. Watch the YouTube video.
     
  • Search Engine Roundtable published an article by the reputable thought leader Barry Schwarz who summarizes the current state of the subdomain vs subdirectory debate in 2016 and further cites Google confirmations.
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