Posted by & filed under SEO, Web Development.

subdomain.gifI’m not the SEO guru, but that topic lies naturally in my interest because I’m admin of several websites. I notice that Simon (one on my friends) loves to use the sub domains for his project. That is not bad, so e.g. i love his and domain separation. It is wisely semantically and SEO decision. But is not so in every his project is i think :) . The point is we have to know how “Google & Friends” :) treats subdomains and how it treats subdirectories? In best case you get the answer from Google at selves.

What Google thinks about subdomains

“What’s the difference between using subdomains and subdirectories? When it comes to Google, there aren’t major differences between the two, so when you’re making that decision, do what works for you and your visitors. Following PubCon, our very own Matt Cutts … on his personal blog. In addition to those considerations, if you use Webmaster Tools (which we hope you do!), keep in mind that you’ll automatically be verified for deeper subdirectories of any sites you’ve verified, but subdomains need to be verified separately.”

Google say it does not matter what you use for them, gives you only some more headache with using of Webmaster tools, but they refer to Matt Cutts – highly cited CEO Guru.

What Matt Cutts thinks about sub-domains

Mat Cutts says in his Subdomains and Subdirectories article:

“My personal preference on subdomains vs. subdirectories is that I usually prefer the convenience of subdirectories for most of my content. A subdomain can be useful to separate out content that is completely different. Google uses subdomains for distinct products such or, for example. If you’re a newer webmaster or SEO, I’d recommend using subdirectories until you start to feel pretty confident with the architecture of your site. At that point, you’ll be better equipped to make the right decision for your own site.”

Even Google lies, we know that also Matt Cuts believe, that it does not matter what you use, but subdirectories are easier to maintain.


So this is a very good situation, when subdirectory and subdomain has no relevance in SEO sense. We can arrange them semantically and forget to consider strange optimisation rules you can find on the world wide web. Therefore i think sub-domains should be used to satisfy the following:

  • Separating of Responsibility. E.g domain is part of family’s domain. So when Simon does the administration for his subdomain, maybe his Grandpa does it for the
  • Separating of Subject. Subject must be in some own hierarchy. So e.g. of cause owns their product witch is good example of separation Subjects.

In other cases i would use subdirectories.

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  • Paul

    That’s funny I was just thinking about this topic and happened across your article while reading your Magento posts. Thanks for the insight and info. I had always suspected that was Google’s stance but hadn’t taken the time to research it. Have a great day!

  • shuron

    That’s indeed funny :) Cool that you found my articles interesting even in different topics 😉

    P.S. By the way, Magento release 1.0 is out! If I’ll find some time, I’ll write something about.

  • Dave from Welcome Back Rosenthal

    I think I’m going to HAVE to create some subdomains. I think the blog format in WP creates subdirectories for my categories and for SEO that’s fine. But Adsense seems to be really confused and pulls content from one subject and applies ads to different content. So basically none of my ads match. If I make subdomains that might help make each category a “different site” in Adsense’s eyes.

  • shuron

    Interesting point…
    Maybe it is a child disease of Google AdSense. If so, it will be healed yearly or later. But creating sub-domains instead of categories just to satisfy adAsense seems not to the right way to me.

    Good example of Sub-domain is a Blog of my wife:

    This Blog is in the root of our Last-name, which is semantically not so good 😉



    What about the fact that subdomain listings can show more than 2 listings for any given keyword search since it considers the subdomains variants to be multiple different sites ? and with that being said,if you arrange your internal linking properly, then you may benefit out of the internlinking SEOwise? any feedback would be appreciated.

    kind regards




    Oh yes just one question I forgot to ask you
    does Magentocommerce support subdomains ?

    thanks again



  • shuron

    Can you explain more detailed what do you mean by listing. Why should any keyword be listed twice? Where?
    Google treats sub-domains like sub-directories. That should not be different.

    P.S. I’m sure Magento is configurable on any valid URL. I think it is also possible to configure multiple shops on different subdomain. Don’t know exactly how to do this, cause not needed so far. :)