Which subdomains and subdirectories are more conducive to SEO?

A few days ago I saw a post by Barry Schwartz, which recorded the arguments of SEO staff and internal Google staff about subdomains and subdirectories which are more conducive to SEO. It is very interesting, here is a look. It is not how much SEO value this issue has, but it is quite interesting to argue about changes in roles and opinions and changes in the two sides.

Subdomains and subdirectories should have been discussed before, and my opinion has not changed much since now. To put it simply, it is usually recommended to use subdirectories, such as the following subdomains:

  • The content under the subdomain is enough to be an independent website. Such as the sub-station of classified ads.
  • Product line differences are large enough. Large brands also often use independent domain names.
  • Sub-station of each country or region of a big brand. Of course, you can also use an independent country domain name.
  • Brand, user or product needs. For example, the user’s home page of the B2B platform, many users prefer subdomains.
  • Chinese website, want to make full use of Baidu’s home page advantage.

In short, there are specific needs, subdomains for clear reasons, and subdirectories for other situations. There is no big difference between the two technologies. The reason why the subdirectories are usually used is that the subdomains are basically treated as independent domains by the search engine. Using a subdomain is equivalent to promoting a website. If the content topics are concentrated and there are not many pages, why bother to distract?

This is the case. John Mueller, who is now responsible for communicating with the webmaster community, said in a video titled “Subdomain or subfolder, which is better for SEO?”, using subdomains or subdirectories, according to your business needs and server settings. Just do it, both are very good and can get the ranking. Sometimes it’s more convenient to use the directory, and Google crawling is easier because you know that the pages are on the same server, and users can easily judge that these pages are part of the same website. Sometimes it is more convenient to use subdomains, such as adding blogs or malls on the website. Using subdomains can be quite troublesome. The most important thing is to suit your situation and long-term plan.

This answer is consistent with Google’s consistent style in recent years. It is quite normal, quite general, and can’t pick faults. It doesn’t make much use.

Rand Fishkin, who is about to leave Moz , expressed disappointment on this answer on Twitter, arguing that subdirectories are almost always better for sub-domains.

Next, John Mueller and Danny Sullivan joined the debate. John Mueller probably asked around inside, insisting on his answer on Twitter, and said that Google has no reason to hide anything on this issue or mislead SEOs.

Then someone asked what Danny Sullivan had just joined Google. Danny Sullivan replied that John Mueller’s video is the latest to explain the issue, which is the official opinion.

Rand Rishkin stunned Danny Sullivan on Twitter: If it was a year ago, you would definitely say that the video didn’t explain the problem clearly, and didn’t even answer the real question. If you are not convenient to disclose, you can say it straight. If you say, sorry, it involves the working principle of the system, no authorization can not say more, 99% of SEO is more willing to accept.

Danny Sullivan replied: The core of the problem you think is which ranking is better, you think it is a subdirectory. (Danny Sullivan is very clear about the core of the problem). Sometimes this is the case, sometimes it is not, depending on your own situation and user needs. (In other words, I’m going back around, and I’ll see the details.)

There are a few SEOs in the back that ask which one is good. Danny Sullivan’s answer is basically to look at the situation. The situation of each website is different. I used to be at that time (before joining Google, as a SEO leader) I will think so, ask this question, and now I am looking at a more comprehensive perspective. Indeed, the specific situation varies widely.

Also, people who watch the excitement are not too big to continue to ask Danny Sullivan. If it was six months ago, would you recommend a subdomain or a subdirectory? Danny Sullivan replied that I would recommend the right approach for your situation six months ago. In many cases, it is a subdirectory, and in other cases, a subdomain. (Is it going back?)

The most interesting is Danny Sullivan’s position. I have seen the SEO of the previous Danny Sullivan article, the SMX conference host, etc. Danny Sullivan is a person who likes to ask questions, and the questions are also very sharp. After joining Google as an insider, I guess I must have gone through public relations training, what should I say, what should I say, what to say, and now I am merging with other Google employees. In general, their answers are all-inclusive, don’t say anything to death, and finally they all boil down to what they should do for the user, let yourself look at it.

In fact, this is understandable. Our SEO can’t hope that the search engine staff will be very clear about what is good for SEO. It’s too vague to say that so many people are taking advantage of it. It is even more troublesome to say it clearly. So sometimes, we need to listen to the words of the people inside the search engine, carefully understand, plus even guess.

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