Opinions differ as to the usefulness of using or not using a sub-domain for your website. Changing the architecture of your website too often between sub domains and sub directories can be overwhelming – not to mention the potentially disastrous effects on your SEO if you make the wrong choice – that’s why it’s important to start your website in the most efficient way possible.
Whether you are a connoisseur of sub domains, or still wondering what this term means, we offer you an overview of the debate between sub domain and sub directory.
WHAT IS A SUB DOMAIN AND A SUB DIRECTORY?
Each website can have a sub-domain, for example in www.dmtwebhosting.com, the “www” represents the sub-domain, just like blog.dmtwebhosting.com. A sub domain is therefore an alias of your domain name, having its own IP address making it a full-fledged site, it can therefore be independently controlled with its own hosting, CMS and architecture.
However, and because of all these factors, a sub-domain also requires more or less substantial maintenance work. In addition, the SEO gains for one sub domain will not relate to the others, so you will have to work double so that all of your sub domains rank well in the search results.
Your website is a set of folders containing the files for your site, so a sub-directory is one of these folders. So in this URL, www.dmtwebhosting.com/en, / is the sub-directory. Sub directories are much more integrated into your website than sub domains, thus sharing traffic, hosting and the SEO benefits collected by the different pages of the site.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SUB DOMAINS
There was a time when Google treated sub domains as fully fledged websites in its search results. Taking advantage of this practice, many people created a string of sub-domains for their main site, taking care to use targeted keywords to name them. This was therefore regularly translated into a single website showing up on the best results in a related search.
As you can imagine, it didn’t always work very well. Many sites were well placed in search results, especially because they were able to hack the system, but offered poor quality content in return.
A few years ago, Google solved this problem by starting by treating sub domains as an integral part of a website, now when a site should have 10 results for the same search, it does not have, in reality, only one. Some experts have even noticed a drop in their ranking when trying to use this old technique.
WHY USE SUB DOMAINS?
From a pure SEO point of view, there is no real benefit in using sub domains. However, there are several reasons why it is still useful to use a sub domain for your website.
For companies operating internationally, sub-domains are a common way of offering a multilingual version of its website. This will commonly result in a two-letter sub domain indicating the language, for example urdu.dmtwebhosting.com for Urdu, or english.dmtwebhosting.com for English.
If your company is present in several cities, each one having its own site, then the sub domains are a good solution to bring its own version of your site to each geographical location.
Franchise websites pretty much all have the same content, except for location, hours of operation, and what’s new. By using sub directories for its franchises, a company is likely to be penalized for duplicate content, due to having too many pages with identical content. By using a sub-domain for each franchise, there is therefore less risk of being penalized each page is considered as a site in its own right.
The debate is still open, and everyone agrees. And you what do you think, is there still a use for sub domains or should they be avoided at all costs? Do not hesitate to leave us your opinion in the comments.