Subdomains and Subdirectories are vastly different in their relationship to a root domain. In this post we will explain what distinguishes one from the other and which
What is a Root Domain?
A root domain is simply your registered domain name, such as “prominentweb.com” where .com is the Top Level Domain (TLD) extension. Other examples of root domains would be apple.com, bmwusa.com and ikea.com.
What is a Subdomain?
Simply put, a subdomain is name that is created to associate a separate, but related website to the root domain website. For example, https://turbotax.intuit.com where “turbotax” is the subdomain of the root domain, intuit.com.
Why Use a Subdomain?
Creating a subdomain is an effective way to manage the relationship of additional content that is related to the content of the main website. This can be helpful when a business has different product lines for marketing and branding purposes.
Take the earlier example of https://turbotax.intuit.com where intuit.com represents the software company itself and the subdomains represent the different brands of software programs or applications that intuit offers. In this case, the subdomain, turbotax, is where the website content for their tax preparation software can be found. Another example of this would be https://mint.intuit.com where the subdomain provides related website content for Intuit’s money management app, Mint.
What is a Subdirectory?
A subdirectory, or subfolder, is essentially just another web page within the main website, under the root domain. An example of this would be https://prominentweb.com/blog/ where “blog” is the subdirectory of prominentweb.com. When you visit that subdirectory, you will find that it is the blog page (which is itself just a web page).
Why Use a Subdirectory?
Since a subdirectory is part of the same website associated with the root domain (unlike a subdomain), this should be beneficial from an SEO perspective.
That is because the content within the subdirectory and any backlinks to it, can help to improve PageRank for the website pages of the root domain. PageRank is metric that Google uses to measure link popularity as a means to determine the relative importance of a web page.
Should You Use a Subdomain or Subdirectory?
There is no right or wrong answer. It just depends on what you are trying to accomplish. In fact, many well-known business websites (such as those of Intuit, Apple, Ferrari, etc., actually use both subdomains and subdirectories.