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  • Writer's pictureMordy Oberstein

Subdomain, Subfolder, ccTLD: Which Should You Use?

An age-old debate in SEO has been about how to structure your domain: Should you use subfolders or subdomains? If you're in the international space, maybe you should be using ccTLDs? Alain Machado shares his thoughts on this timeless SEO question.


  • The challenge of advising clients on subdomain vs subfolders (or ccTLDs)


  • Considering the ins and outs of a CMS when deciding between subdomains vs subfolders (or ccTLDs)




Which Is Better For SEO: Subfolders, Subdomains, or even ccTLDs?

SEO Rant Podcast Banner with Alain Machado

Sometimes in SEO, we go in circles debating the same thing day after day, year after year. Nothing epitomizes this more than the debate about using subdomains or subfolders. No matter how many times Google's John Mueller says that either is fine (some caveats included) we don't seem able to give up this question. Unfortunately, it all trickles down to the client.


Subfolders, Subdomains, or even ccTLDs: It Depends


There's no one true as to whether you should use subdomains or subfolders or ccTLDs. As Alain points out, it really depends on the client's needs and goals. Personally, and perhaps for some reason, this is a hot take: I think Google gets when a subdomain is or isn't fundamentally a part of the "core" of what the domain is all about. If, for example, you had your knowledgebase under a subdomain I'm pretty sure Google isn't treating it as a separate website (all things being equal). Looking for proof? Google often lists subdomains as part of a set of indented results on the SERP. Beyond the client, there are considerations around the CMS the site is on. Certain CMSes have idiosyncrasies that may be the deciding factor when all else is equal.


 

Resources


 

For more of the SEO Rant Podcast check out our previous episode on: What does good keyword research look like?

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