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Subdomain Or Subfolder?

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3 replies to this topic

#1 franco81


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Posted 10 September 2009 - 12:35 PM

We are launching a travel website in a few different languages - very new domain name. Wondering if we should tread down subdomains for the localised content:

domain.com (English)

Or to go the subfolders route:


Basically we are assessing:

is it going to make a difference to inbound link popularity?
are the subdomains considered separate?

Any advice appreciated!

#2 Randy


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Posted 10 September 2009 - 01:06 PM

is it going to make a difference to inbound link popularity?

No. Link Pop/PR is all about how pages link together. So it won't matter whether they're a subdomain or subdirectory.

are the subdomains considered separate?

Not with Google anymore. They used to be, but Google for the last year or so have been applying the same host crowding effect to subdomains as they did to subdirectories. It's not even that a page on a site won't rank better or worse, just that you only get a maximum of 2 bites at the apple in any SERP page.

Long story short, where Google is concerned at least it doesn't matter if you use subdomains or subdirectories. One works as well as the other.

#3 Michael Martinez

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 01:14 PM

Actually, subdomains are still considered distinctly from other portions of domains in many situations. What Google said was they are looking to see how similar the subdomains are to one another and/or to the mother site. If there is unique value in the subdomains they should still be treated as separate sites.

Of course, getting everyone to agree on "unique value" is problematic, and Google hasn't offered any clear guidelines.

However, I would not say there is much unique value in a site that uses the same boilerplate layout, page copy, and navigation across multiple subdomains.

Of course, the SEO community appears to overrate the value of "separate hosts" in the Google algorithm anyway. Google is the only major search engine that has publicly downplayed such metrics as being important to them.

#4 gsimerlink


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Posted 11 September 2009 - 12:09 PM

One site I work on confirms what Michael is saying. We have several district subdomains and each of them show up on the first two pages in the SERPs for our company name:


It does help that they all have different content and serve different functions.

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