Subfolder vs. Subdomain for SEO: Which is Better?

After deciding what type of content to host on your website, you’re going to quickly be asking another question: “Should I host my content on subfolders or on subdomains?”

Subfolders are the classic option. The internet was built on subdirectories and folders, and their basic structure means they’re easy to understand since they directly resemble traditional computer files and directories. In short: they’re easy to grasp and use.

Subdomains are not new, but their use is growing alongside the rise of remote web services like Google’s Cloud Platform or Amazon Web Services. The simple reason for this is that subdomains interact more easily with remote services compared to traditional subdirectories, an advantage that will only grow larger as remote services continue to grow.

So, does the advent of remote services mean that you should choose subdomains instead of subfolders to organize your website’s content? Or is the simplicity of subfolders still the gold standard?

We’ve produced today’s guide to break down the issue from our perspective to help you choose the best option for your new website.

What is a Subfolder?

It’s easy to tell you’re on a website using subfolders just by looking at the URL: Hushly.com/blog is a subfolder, the /blog at the end is the name of the folder, while Hushly.com is the domain.

Most websites are set up with subfolders by default. They work like the file folders on your computer, with many smaller web pages all being linked to one main page.

When you navigate to a subdirectory on a website, you’re usually navigating to a folder that contains an HTML file. In this way, subdirectories are structural pieces of the website associated with the domain name.

If the website is PHP-based (WordPress), the subfolders are virtual. However, they are still part of the file structure of the site itself.

What is a Subdomain?

A subdomain looks like this: resources.hushly.com. Hushly.com is the main domain, while resources.hushly.com is actually an entirely different website. In fact, anything that comes before the main domain is considered a subdomain, even “www.”

Google has long considered subdomains different websites, and they treat them as such. They even require subdomains to be separately verified in Google Search Console.

According to Google’s SEO webmaster, the search algorithm takes a few days to learn how to crawl subdomains (as compared to subfolders), but he assures us that this is mostly just a formality.

Subfolders vs. Subdomains: Similarities and Differences

There are some good reasons to consider subfolders as well as subdomains. In this section, we’ll compare the two and point out some key similarities and differences.

Why Subfolders Are Useful

A website with subfolders is the most common. This is because most basic websites have this structure as soon as you acquire them, which eliminates the need for additional setup or to verify each subdirectory with Google Search Console.

The early internet was organized on the principles of subfolders.

Until fairly recently, most websites you navigated to were hosted on physical servers. Finding a subdirectory meant you were downloading and opening an HTML file which was the webpage. The internet is still largely structured this way, which makes subfolders a natural option for the structure of your website.

Subfolders are also useful because search engines consider each subfolder part of the main website. Content on mainsite.com/BlogA and mainsite.com/BlogB will both contribute to mainsite.com’s SEO rankings. This means the site will be seen as more authoritative, even if its content is spread around different subdirectories.

Why Subdomains Are Useful

While the early internet favored subfolders, the advent of remote services means that many modern websites are switching to subdomains.

Remote services are easier to manage when used with subdomains.

The technical reason for this is that DNS records, which are necessary for remote services to function, only work on the domain level. This doesn’t include subdirectories.

If the blog at mainsite.com/blog is hosted remotely, the traffic to the hosted blog won’t count unless the traffic is sorted through a reverse proxy. Setting up a reverse proxy is not a minor endeavor and will generally require the use of special web tools like NGINX or another reverse proxy host.

A reverse proxy will also slow the performance of your website since it’s adding an extra step for each client that connects.

Subdomains avoid this problem by existing on the domain level. A DNS CNAME record is usually all that’s needed to link the subdomain to the host of the blog.

Subdomains are also useful as maintenance tools: a test website can be established, which allows you to make and test changes without affecting the main website.

Separate domains also make sense if you’re building a website in another language. Your English keywords aren’t going to rank in Spanish or German, so establishing different domains for those will make more sense.

Are Subdomains or Subfolders Better for SEO?

In 2017, Google Search Central’s YouTube channel stated that both subdomains and subfolders are fine for SEO.

In fact, their webmaster made the point that the only difference is a minor change in the time it takes to crawl a new subdomain, generally on the order of “a few days” according to the video’s presenter.

So according to the main source, there is no difference between the two.

Yet there still exists a lot of debate around the web, and the conventional wisdom is usually that subfolders are the stronger option simply because Google will treat each subfolder as a piece of the main website – thus bolstering your main domain’s overall rankings.

However, this is only one piece of the puzzle that affects your SEO results and is absolutely not the most important one.

Another piece of that puzzle is how quickly clients are clicking away from your website, which is directly impacted by its performance. Subdomains perform better in this regard because they don’t require reverse proxies.

Choose Based on Stability

Beyond the content itself, the management of the content is another reason subdomains have the edge on subfolders. Making constant changes to your website affects your SEO, and it’s recommended that you keep major changes to a minimum to stabilize your rank.

Subdomains are simply easier to connect with remote services. Since the use of those services is only likely to increase as more clients are connecting to the web from more diverse places around the globe, subdomains may be the most stable choice for the future.

Hushly Makes Creating Subdomains Easy

This is an old debate among website creators and a topic that doesn’t have one correct answer for every situation.

There are a lot of factors that should inform your choice, like how your content will be hosted, your experience as a webmaster, and the type of website you aim for.

At Hushly, we favor subdomains and believe that 25+ years of search algorithm optimization means subdomains perform just as well, if not better, than subfolders.

Hushly’s content curation platform makes use of subdomains to quickly connect with remote services. Our self-nurturing landing pages are subdomains. We also facilitate the easy creation of subdomains on our platform.

If you’re interested in a service that utilizes subdomains frequently, check out our video guide to see how Hushly lets you create a hub for content in just a few clicks.

Contact us and find out how we can help make your content creation, marketing, and sales process simpler.

How to Use B2B SEO for Your Company’s 3 Essential Pages

B2B SEO

Everyone knows B2B SEO matters for bringing leads to your website.

However, do you know how to make it work best for the individual pages on your site?

If you treat each page the same way, your SEO efforts are going to fall flat.

Here’s How B2B SEO Work for Your 3 Most Important Pages

Instead of applying the same principles to each page, here’s how B2B SEO works best for each of your three most important pages.

1. The Homepage

B2B SEO for your homepage is actually relatively simple. That’s because, for the most part, it’s your other pages that will decide how well it does in searches. The better you optimize each page – which points back to your homepage – the better that all-important homepage will do with Google.

Still, there are two simple steps you can take to help it attract more visitors.

First, add your most important keyword to your homepage title. Make it something like “Anderson Co. – Corporate Consulting” or “ACME – Human Resources Software.” That will give Google more to work with when deciding about your page.

Second, do your best to ensure that not a single page on your site is more than three clicks from the homepage. Shorter URLs aren’t necessarily signals that Google relies on, but the search engine does appreciate sites that will be easier to navigate. If there are only two pages standing between a homepage-visitor and the information they want, you’ll enjoy better results.

2. Your Products and Services Pages

Similarly, B2B SEO for your company’s services and/or products pages mostly comes down to creating relevant blog posts that will rank well, so you can link to the pages that show off what your company actually sells.

Nonetheless, don’t waste any opportunity to put relevant keywords on your website. In fact, while you should have one main page for each of your products/services that are linked to your homepage, create multiples for even more opportunities to put those keywords on your site. Just be sure you don’t use any duplicate content and try to focus on different keywords for each page. Then, interlink those pages for even greater navigability.

3. Your Blog Posts

Every B2B company should publish blogs. Among other things, they’re your best bet for sending Google’s attention to your homepage and service/product pages, as we’ve already mentioned.

However, this will only work if you know how to use B2B SEO to attract that attention first.

You’re probably already familiar with SEO keywords. So, let’s look at how to use keywords in your blogs.

The first rule is to focus on just one keyword per blog, two at the most. After that, you’re chasing too many of them and your content runs the risk of becoming thin. Your blog posts will then always lose out to any blog focusing on just oneof the three or more keywords you’re chasing.

Once you have your one or two keywords, make sure they’re included in each of the following:

  • Title Tag
  • Meta Description
  • Headers
  • Content
  • URL

Think about the intent of your post, as well, because intent and keywords go hand-in-hand. Don’t try to shoehorn a high-volume keyword into a post that isn’t a good fit, or you won’t see any traffic. Take the time to understand why people are searching for the keyword, and you’ll know what to write to bring them to your page.

Finally, use your blogs to link out to other sites. Google loves this because it makes its job a lot easier and turns your blog into a better resource for visitors. Just be sure you link to high-quality sites.

Bonus: Everything Else

Obviously, your B2B website probably includes a lot more pages than the three types we just covered. You probably have an About Us, for example. Hopefully, you’ve included some case studies, too.

Whatever the case, the rest of these pages serve similar purposes. Where appropriate, include keywords. When Google scans your entire site─ the more relevant keywords it finds, the easier a time it will have identifying what it is your company does.

As we already covered, interlinking is important, but be sure that your other pages bring visitors to one of the pages above. A case study linking to another case study is fine. Just make sure it also links to the relevant product page.

Earn a Better ROI on Your B2B SEO

With the right B2B SEO plan in place for all of your site’s different pages, you’ll soon enjoy the reward: a lot more traffic.

However, will you be able to capitalize on it?

Make sure you turn those visitors into leads by leveraging the power of Hushly. Contact us today and we’ll show you how our platform increases conversions by 51% – guaranteed.