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Subdomains, Subfolders, Root Domain or Root Page?

Tanya Goodin
Tanya Goodin
12 December 2007

Aaaarh, what do I need to do with my site structure?

Following on from earlier chat this week from Matt Cutts on host crowding Vanessa Fox has posted some more details, in quite a lot of detail, on how SEO for sites is affected by the changes made by Google to the way they deal with subdirectories.

There are basically four ways you can set up urls and all perform different tasks. Of course, as always think of what makes sense for the user and for those managing the site. But if you do have a degree of flexibility then think about how you can get more out of your site by considering the options.

So for example, and we have used the example Vanessa used, if you have a widget site and you want to set up a blog here are the options:

Root Page – www.mywidgets.com/blogpost1.html
Subfolder – www.mywidgets.com/blog/blogpost1.html
Subdomain – blog.mywidgets.com/blogpost1.html
Separate Domain – mywidgetblog.com/blogpost1.html

So what is the best option for your site? In summary what Vanessa is saying that Google no longer treats subdomains as completetly separate domains. And as Google, and this is a generalisation but go with it, only return two results from each site per search you need to identify which pages you want to rank and make them the most relevant. So use the RootPage option.

However, if you  have a site with completetly differant topics then using a subdomain would make sense. Generally it best to stay using one domain rather than creating a new domain, but there may be occasions when you want to create a new site in which case use the new domain option. Subfolders are best used to organise content and are treated in a similar fashion as to how subdomains now are.

No matter what you do make sure you create a flat a structure as possible. While bots can crawl deeply, particularly on older and more valued sites, you don’t want to lose all that site juice through having really deep folders!

For those of you thinking of restructuring your site I recommend you read the full article here!



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