Which is best for blog SEO: separate domain, subdomain or subfolder?

Where you host your blog relative to your main site is one of the more important decisions involved with setting up a blog.

If you get the decision wrong, you may fail to get the hoped for SEO benefits you have worked hard to convince your colleagues about. But, if you get it right you can almost immediately see new, incremental visits you wouldn't have attracted without the blog.

The 3 main blog hosting options

The three options are straightforward. Let's take some examples:

1. Subfolder - http://www.domain.com/blog e.g. http://www.econsultancy.com/blog

2. Subdomain - http://blog.domain.com e.g. http://blog.zopa.com

3. Separate domain - http://www.newdomain.com e.g.  I can't find a good example - can you?

So which is the best blog hosting option for SEO?

I often ask this question in my SEO classes and ask for a show of hands to see what folk think. It's a bit of a trick question since there is no right or wrong answer - it depends whether you or your colleagues take a short or long-term perspective. That said, most people say Subfolder is best and this is what various Tweets and Facebook comments on a recent question on subfolder or subdomain in the Smart Insights Linked In Best Practices group showed.

But you can argue each case, particularly if you look beyond SEO at branding benefits you may get from a separate domain. Here are the pros and cons as I see them. What do you think?

1. Subfolder

+ Google will crawl new blog posts typically within days of launch

+ Blog inherits the authority of parent site so can rank immediately for terms within posts

+ Backlinks and social mentions generated by the content on the blog can help other contain on the domain i.e. product pages rank more highly

+ Integrates better with main site for better user experience (although often will have a different design)

+ Easier to track with Google Analytics - a minor point - see end of post

- Doesn't help generate external backlinks for which you control the anchor text, e.g. editorial links within blog copy

2. Subdomain

+ Maybe technically easier for some setups

+ Has some of the benefits of subfolder in inheriting parent domain authority and separate domain in providing backlinks to main site, but...

- Needs to establish its own reputation through backlinks from other sites so...

- Will not rank as highly or as quickly as a subfolder

3. Separate domain

+ Helps you control and generate external backlinks for which you control the anchor text, i.e. editorial links within blog copy back to category and product pages

+ Can create a more differentiated brand identity which can be seen as independent from the main site so generates more engagement with it's audience potentially

+ Can target a different country, i.e. I have seen UK companies launching a US hosted blog

- You may not rank competitively at all for weeks or months depending on the quality of the content you create. This may be hard to sell to your colleagues investing in it - it's an act of faith...

- Will require a long-term commitment to content creation and backlink development

So, to summarise 1 is the safe option, but if you create exceptional content which creates a lot of backlinks then 3 can be valuable in providing links back to the main site from a separate authority site you control. What do you think?

An "experiment" to test subfolder vs subdomain

In 2008, before we launched Smart Insights I setup a new WordPress blog to replace my legacy blog, which backs up what I'm saying.

Initially I set it up on a subdomain http://blog.davechaffey.com.

I pointed all my run-of-site nav links at this sub-domain.

I think I felt that the longer-term benefits of being on a sub-domain and pointing back to the main site might give some SEO benefits.

I used this earlier discussion on Subdomains vs subfolders for SEO to inform my decision. There's clearly no right or wrong answer.

After a week it was in the index, but not featuring for any 3-4 keyword searches, so I lost patience and 301 redirected the sub-domain to http://www.davechaffey.com/blog and changed all the run-of-site links and links from other sites to this new address.

Within 4 or 5 days i was starting to appear for long tail 5 or 6 keyword searches and within a fortnight appearing on first page for blog titles/shorter searches.

So based on that, I'd recommend subfolders is the way forward for blogs if you want to swiftly pull in visitors based on the authority of your existing domain.

That'll be obvous to many, but I wanted to trial it and that's what I've found.

Subdomains and subfolders for Google Analytics

When I taking my Google IQ qualification recently I thought of another minor benefit of the subfolder approach.

Since Google Analytics serves first-party cookies for each different domain or sub-domain, this will mean that sub-domains aren't tracked as part of an integrated whole site. But they are integrated if they are part of a subfolder.

With a subfolder as the one on this site, it's recommended that a profile is setup with an include filter for a subdirectory ^/blog/ so you can still isolate traffic for that part of site.

  • Ankit Trip commented on January 26, 2015

    hey there , we have subdomain in our website, kindly check it and please suggest if we are on right track

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  • kajadeen commented on January 24, 2015

    We also use sub domains for SEO chennai, it’s sometimes required more back links for increasing traffics compared to original.

  • excellent explanation, love the writing.

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  • Amela Jones commented on December 12, 2014

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  • Gmak1 commented on December 10, 2014

    Hi Dave, I have a quick question. We build many sites and have many blogs on domain.com/blog, however, technical issues have began to arise regarding security issues and hacking of the wordpress blogs on domain.com/blog. The recommended fix for this has been to move the blogs over to blog.domain.com. We are all agreed that domain.com/blog is still the better location for a blog when it comes to SEO however the change to blog.domain.com may not be possible to avoid – do you know of any technical workarounds when it comes to redirects, server software or non-wordpress blog systems that may help with to move to the subdomain?

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  • I believe the backlinking benefits are to important to ignore. What do you think Dave? I now have my blog at http://kratomgardens.com/blog but am seriously thinking about putting my effort on a spereate domian?

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  • waseemmachloy commented on November 24, 2014

    also thinking to make sub dmoain for webrita.com

  • cmsfaridabad123 commented on November 6, 2014

    Nice article! The advantages of sub domains for SEO are tangible, however they
    also have drawbacks. For instance, sub domains are harder to set and
    Thanks for posting!

  • Hi Dave, another quick question if you don’t mind. First, thanks for the good articulation. I’d created a site and then added a blog several months after http://www.onlinekratom.com/kratom-information/truth-about-kratom . As you can see it’s 2 layers deep per the URL. The link name to reach the blog is “Read our Blog” with similar title tags for the link above. I wanted to know if it would be better to remove one level so it would be http://www.onlinekratom.com/ and then /truth-about-kratom/ ? Additionally, would you recommend the link leading to the blog be something different? I’m kind of playing clean up now with this to allow me to start actively creating more blog content to maximize its potential. The blog is essentially integrated with the site itself. It’s not an addon or separate blog site. Thanks Dave. Much appreciated & keep up the good work 🙂

  • Hi Dave,
    Great insights. We have debated a lot about it, especially for an ecommerce. At the end of the games looks like subfolders are better also because readers don’t need to shift to another domain. Also, if you write rich products page content and quality blog posts, you don’t need to rank two different domains. As you said, it’s also related to the goal a business has.

  • Jennifer Taylor commented on September 17, 2014

    Hi dave,
    I have tried the subfolder approach in site, it ahve been giving me some results just not as much as i expected. What i wanted to ask was would it be better to switch to a sub? as it would have the added beenfits of backlinks. (its a comparitively new site)
    so what are your thoughts on this?

  • Ganesh Paul commented on September 2, 2014

    All though I have confusion. What is the best for SEO, sub-domain or sub folder for a blog.

  • Prashant commented on August 27, 2014

    I am researching at present to decide about the URL strategy of my business http://www.indesinc.com which deals with various segments like ecommerce development, magento, mobile apps, java programming, .net programming etc. I already have domains for all these but I am looking for best strategy and a conclusion for selection between sub domain and main domain. I surely will not go for folders.

  • Arridesoft commented on August 26, 2014

    This is my personal experience in website blog that we have to always make sub folder on the website and make blog like- /blog. The benefit of the sub domain is that we can improve the indexing of the website. The all blog post pages added in our website pages. This improve the website website quality on the search engine and give benefits in SEO. ….Good and informative post.

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  • A. Thomas commented on August 21, 2014

    Here’s a explanation from Google’s Matt Cutts – he says they (subdomains versus subfolders) are “roughly equivalent”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MswMYk05tk

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  • Great article, however what about websites that have a blog built in as a page? or has a blog included like wordpress?

  • Emil Lamprecht commented on August 10, 2014

    Hi there, thanks for the article! We had to move to migrate the blog to a subdomain for a technical reason, but obviously I have concerns from an SEO standpoint, some of which you mention above. Recommendations on how to counter any losses in a subdomain setting? Our blog is used to drive traffic and a targeted audience to our business.

    Additionally, this article is now a couple years old, what’s changed and what would you recommend as reading on this topic?

  • Hi Dave. Rand mentionned in a recent WhiteBoard Friday that everyone should avoid sub domains.

    Speed up at 7m30s: http://moz.com/blog/10-tactics-to-improve-blog-readership-whiteboard-friday

  • great topic and nice explaination.

  • Robin Hamilton commented on July 28, 2014

    Hi Dave,

    Looking for some advice from yourself or anyone else for that matter.

    Our business is made up of 3 sister companies each with their own domain. Soon we’ll be creating a parent domain that highlights all 3 companies. It will have a blog and will have 3 categories, each relating to 1 of the sister companies. Ideally, we’d like each sister company to have a feed of it’s respective blog.

    For example:

    http://www.parentwebsite.com/blog – main blog with 3 categories

    http://www.company1.com/blog – has the posts and comments from its respective category
    http://www.company2.com/blog – has the posts and comments from its respective category
    http://www.company3.com/blog – has the posts and comments from its respective category

    We’d like them to be linked so if someone posts a comment on company1.com/blog (for example) then it will automatically show on parentwebsite.com/blog. Any idea if this is possible? perhaps using a RSS feed? Will this be bad SEO practice for duplicate content?

    Hopefully that all makes sense.
    Kind regards,

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  • john commented on July 19, 2014

    In my opinion for all time separate blog are trust worthy to do seo. When you select blog separately moreover you can effortlessly promote that blog using best seo strategy.

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  • Portman commented on July 16, 2014

    I appreciate you specifically mentioning small business owners. You have provided us with an excellent checklist to get started. I just hope more will take the time to follow your advice and get to work, even if it is just for a few minutes each day. Many will be surprised at how much better their sites will do, just by getting the basics of SEO in place.You do a great job, thanks for your research and time.go here

  • ketul commented on July 11, 2014

    Thank you for sharing great post.

  • Tess commented on June 20, 2014

    Hi Dave, this was very useful thank you.

    I have a quick question about blog posts. My company are just about to invest in a blog but it appears it will be one long page of posts. I imagined we would just have a summery of the article on the blog main page and click through to read the full article to a different page. This would be more user friendly, however which would be better from an SEO perspective?

  • Daisy commented on June 13, 2014

    Thank you Dave for this valuable information. I think we cannot give a wrong or correct answer for this question.


  • ziyamarshal commented on June 7, 2014

    Hello Dave, Perfect timing I got perfect work. I really appreciated your work. I was in dilemma because I post the daily blog and very relevant but all in vein, because I want traffic to my website using that blog . my blog is http//blog.enukesftware.com. I have searched a lot in the last I found the best. Really I did not know that this blog links will be counted separate from my website. so I am going to create a subfolder domain and redirect to that. Same like you. I again thank you so much. You helped me a lot.

  • Nithin Prathapan commented on June 5, 2014

    Hi Dave,

    I have a real estate site and I am rewriting all the codes and making a new website from scratch.

    The site basically offer properties from 14 localities in a state.

    Currently i am planning to have a separate sub domain for each locality.

    example.com – list all properties from 14 localities
    locality1.example.com – properties from specific locality
    locality1.example.com/property1 – a single property routed through respective locality (eg: property1 posted under locality1, even it is accessing from main domain, user will be redirected to sub domain)

    Do you suggest sub domain or sub folder in my scenario?

  • Lisiane Winkler commented on May 26, 2014

    Hi Dave, what if I migrate websites which are currently under separated domains to subdirectories, will this change affect my SEO?

    e.g.: from sitename.de
    to sitename.com/de

    We have sites in different countries and they always had different domains, now the idea is to have a standard website, where we would have a subdirectory per language.

    Many thanks!


    • Dave Chaffey commented on May 29, 2014

      Hi Lisiane, thanks for the question.

      Unfortunately when a migration occurs there is usually a negative impact even if there is a 1 to 1 page mapping through 301 redirects.

      However, if the subfolders are then part of a more authoritative domain you may, in time, attract more traffic via these.


      • Lisiane Winkler commented on May 29, 2014

        Thanks a million Dave!!!! 🙂

  • Spook SEO commented on May 18, 2014

    Great post! I am very glad to read your blog. It is very helpful. Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have. Keep it up with the good stuff about SEO you have.

  • Liza Pierce commented on May 17, 2014

    Is there any update on this with all the new things going on with Google? I am very curious because I am in the process of deciding on what to do separate blog or within website …

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  • Tanya Sharma commented on May 2, 2014

    What about a wordpress website that has the ability to have the blog right inside the website – no sub domain or sub directory… i have not seen this covered anywhere…

  • Kelly Hansen822 commented on April 11, 2014

    I agree with all information.I just say would like this information.It’s very useful for my seo agency site..My question is how to change my subdomain to subfolder? please anybody help me…

  • it’s very attractive to create subdomain or subfolder directory .it has most possessive results beyond .thanks Dave.

  • conversion rate optimization commented on March 8, 2014

    That’s really good stuff. My buddies at work will definitely be
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  • matt commented on December 18, 2013

    so then you really think subfolders are better or did you just not give it enough time?


  • saurabh commented on November 29, 2013

    I guess from the SEO point of view there should be no difference. I run it on the same directory for example http://www.xowned.com/blog and it runs fine and I see no difference in terms of SEO as running it separately as I do to my other side which runs on blogger.

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  • Joshua Thomas commented on November 6, 2013

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on SEO , but you
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  • BushmanSteve commented on October 21, 2013


    I appreciate this is an old post but want to ask, Does this apply to landing pages?

    My company are looking at using a third party which essentially captures leads through forms etc and integrates with salesforce. You can either embed their forms on your landing pages hosted on your site or alternatively use them to create the landing pages and host under a sub-domain.

    My understanding is that hosting on your own site would always provide higher SEO for various reasons, but would appreciate your input Dave as well as any thoughts from your followers.

  • Very nice article, Super explanation and this is what I am exactly facing with my present blog : Type and see
    http://howtotackleproblems.blogspot.in , You will be re directed to another domain.

  • Nice article again Dave. How do you think this is today? I read a recent article by Jeff Bullas and he suggested the subdirectories / folder approach too ahead of the subdomian. Would be interested to see if there were any recent stats on this,

  • Another helpful post for those who are not quite sure which domain to use for their blogs. Learning from this post will help blog and website owners determine the best way to keep up with what is happening in the SEO world. Thanks for the info!

  • sonusmith commented on October 1, 2013

    Thanks for the sharing tips . Amazing Tips it is very beneficial for us.

  • tomwilliam commented on September 19, 2013

    I read your blog post with real interest and I wondered if you could help me with a question relating to sub-domain vs domain blog please?

  • Ben Harry commented on September 7, 2013

    I’ve always had subdirectories which I have found to work well such as http://www.bodykitsonline.co.uk/blog & http://www.bodykitsonline.co.uk/impreza_shop/

  • Nancey John commented on August 2, 2013

    I found the reading great and I think choosing the best hosting option for SEO depends on one’s own perspective.

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  • Nancey John commented on August 1, 2013

    Thanks for providing the great info in this blog and I wonder why JC penny denied responsibility in this matter.


  • Sheamus Warior commented on July 31, 2013
  • The 3 main blog hosting options
    i would like to share these blogs in my account.

  • giri123 commented on July 18, 2013

    I reecnetly make a subdomain http://tech.rapidrat.in of my main domain http://rapidrat.in . Your post is showing very nice explanation on subfolder and subdomain. over 15 days I have not recieved much traffic as my concept was not clear. thanks I should change it to subfolder for that what you are saying..

  • Mustafa Ehsan Aloko commented on June 9, 2013

    Hi Dear,
    How to make a sub-domain? I need a very beginner resource. Can you help me with it?

  • Dwidjaya commented on May 28, 2013

    Hi, Dave.

    I found yours when I was searching for “top subdomain” on Google’s. And I do have a question:

    #1 Did you set up your subdomain SEO’s same as you did to your domain?

    #2 If you did redirect your subdomain to your domain’s directory why I get the same result when I go to davechaffey.com, blog.davechaffey.com and davechaffey.com/blog?

    Thanks for your time to respon my question.

  • Ashu Gupta commented on May 2, 2013

    Thanks Very much for this article. Earlier I was thinking to create different subdomains for my website http://www.wpcPuzzlesOnline.com but after reading this article, I feel that I will keep my folder structure intact.

  • hi dave i have a blog named as indianjobsnrecruitmentportal.blogspot.com is it good? i mean due to the this long name can’t i get traffic?

  • Hi Dave,

    Just thought I would say thanks for the info.

    I am a former student of yours (University of Derby 2000 to 2003) your lectures on e-commerce and IT as part of my Marketing degree were my first exposure to the subject. I have since climbed up the ladder and currently run the marketing department for a global auction company, selling over £20m of equipment online every year. http://www.apexauctions.co.uk

    So thanks! 🙂



    • Thanks for the message Adam, sounds like you’ve done well – maybe we could connect on LinkedIN – your company sounds interesting as a case for my books or maybe a blog post.


  • Realman commented on November 18, 2012
  • Alexandre commented on August 6, 2012

    Hi Dave, I’ve got a trickier question: I prefer using my company’s blog in a subfolder but we will have to host it in a different machine and use redirects. Will Google ignore this hosting matter or it might have a huge impact in what was planned? (I was wondering that if Google sees that the subfolder is actually in a different host, it will not make justice to the pros you just stated above)

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Hi Alexandre, that doesn’t sound ideal, but if it is permanent 301 redirects Google should index it and rank it. With 301 redirects some of the value/link equity is removed.

      • Alexandre commented on August 7, 2012

        Thanks Dave, I’m not sure what will be the procedure adopted by the tech team but mysite.com/blog will be hosted somewhere else than mysite.com, so besides the redirect there will be some other configurations I’m still not aware of.

        Thanks again. My happy greetings from Brazil!

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  • link building UK commented on July 31, 2012

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  • Dave – Would you alter your assessment for a B2B vs. B2C? I hear you saying if you want to hit the ground running with positive SEO, host your blog as a subfolder. But for longer term benefits, consider a sub domain or seperate domain. Would that be different if you are B2B vs. B2C?

    • Hi Gregg,

      I don’t think it’s affected by B2B vs B2C – it’s a short-term vs long-term decision for every company.
      If you’re thinking long-term there are some B2B strategies I’ve seen, e.g. a UK company with a UK site hosting an independent blog in the states to better target that market or using a different brand name for a blog to target those keywords.
      What were you thinking?


  • uu2123 commented on June 27, 2012

    Hi Dave, I just have a quick question. Im thinking of going subdomain or subfolder. But when I look at big banks and how they use their blog, i see most of them use subdomain instead of subfolder for an example blog.commbank.com.au and blog.aussie.com.au

    Why do you think they approached this method?

    • Hi – I think it’s because there is no right or wrong answer here.

      Banks have probably taken this from a tech perspective rather than an SEO POV like an SME might.

      As, I say – it’s a balance – in simple terms subfolder is best in short-term if you want to drive traffic. Subdomain or external blog can be better in the long-term if you’re able to attract links.

      • For a new website that wants to enhance SEO and increase traffic, would you recommend folder over subdomain?

        • Hi Max,

          In a word “Yes” for the reasons mentioned in the post – you will attract links to the blog folder which will help the product/service content elsewhere on the same domain rank higher. Otherwise attracting links to the new site will be a problem unless it’s a major tech launch.

    • Andrew Thomson commented on August 17, 2014

      We also use the subdomain option for our business and, although it’s early days, we are having some pretty good results. blog.lilysflorist.com.au/

  • Hi Dave, great post, thanx so much for info. Just a clarification. I have a site along with a blog in a sub folder. Will creating a sub-domain with a 301 redirect to this sub-folder affect my SEO?

  • Edmond commented on May 20, 2012

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the informative post. I have one question here though. I’m a newbie and have a travel blog. I want to use the Expedia affiliate program on my website, the white label option for hotel booking. So which is better for my website – a subfolder or a subdomain?
    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Dave Chaffey commented on May 21, 2012

      Glad it’s useful Edmond. I’m not familiar with that programme and its terms of service. But if you have an established site/domain the subfolder option is best to attract visits to the subfolder more rapidly. If it’s a new site as you suggest, the subdomain may be preferable to keep the affiliate content separate.

      • Edmond commented on May 21, 2012

        Hi Dave,
        Thanks a lot for your reply. I’ll follow your advice.

  • DHost commented on May 17, 2012

    i will go for Sub folder or Sub directory…really appreciate your work

  • Pippa Nash commented on February 10, 2012

    Hi Dave, I read your blog post with real interest and I wondered if you could help me with a question relating to subdomain vs domain blog please? I’m search manager for a high street retailer and the current blog is hosted separately from our main website, our aim is to use this blog as both an SEO asset and for our customers. So there is an interesting trade off here from creating SEO content for search and content that our customers would want to read, such as in-house previews and celebrity fashion styles. Competitors use either sub folders and subdomain but not SEO content, so I’m interested in the pros/cons of this. Should I recommend both, one targeted for a shopper to interact with the product and company (sub domain/folder) and one for SEO target keyword content for off site link building? Would subdomain or subfolder be damaging to the crawl rate of pages on an already high volume website?

    Hope you can help me, I look forward to your reply.

    • Anonymous commented on February 13, 2012

      Placing the blog on subfolder/sub-domain/separate domain is a common question on SEO courses and a tough business call to make. It’s definitely a trade-off of attracting visits through content or the backlink value of links from the blog to your category or product pages depending on the strength of the existing brand.

      There isn’t really a correct, optimal decision for this question since it depends on timescale and strength of brand against competitors.

      If you have a short term POV, using a subfolder is definitely best since you will generate traffic for your posts immediately (within days), based on the strength of your brand-domain authority. I don’t think there should be an issue with crawl rate – in fact a blog could encourage more regular crawls benefitting the main site.

      If you have a long-term POV, using a sub-domain or separate domain is best in terms of back-links since, as you know, these are treated more by the engines as separate domains, so that the editorial anchor text has a bigger impact. The downside of this approach is that you won’t immediately receive traffic = return for the investment. You also have to work at building authority for the new domain and the link equity won’t directly benefit the main site. I believe this is the best approach, but it needs a big commitment to build reputation of a separate domain – http://blogs.asos.com/ is one example of the commitment where they have built a PR of 5 FWIW for the subdomain.

      Given these trade-offs it’s interesting you’re looking at a hybrid approach – that could be best of both worlds, but difficult for customer journeys and resourcing unless you have distinct positioning.

      Thanks for your question Pippa and all the best for making the right call – I hope I’ve given some ammunition to convince yourself or colleagues. What do other readers think, what have you done?

  • Im currently thinking this over regarding something that i have planned, i have already asked a question relating to this http://answers.onstartups.com/questions/33841/blogging-to-start-customer-discovery but it’s not so much to do with the seo benefit but the fact that i intend to start a blog before a product/service is actually built, basically to connect with the target market before offering/providing a solution to them.

    It has been suggested to me elsewhere that i could buy a domain for my main site and another of the same name with the word blog added to the domain, as it was pointed out to me and i was already thinking this myself that if i setup a blog on a subdomain or sub folder of the main domain, start blogging but had nothing on the main domain that it would probably confuse people as i imagine that most people would expect to find a main site at the main domain.

    My reasons for wanting to blog first, before building a product and the main site make sense to me and would be a part of the customer discovery process, but i would still like to hear opinions from any of you regarding this.

    So far, having 2 separate domains does seem like the better idea, basically starting the blog on one, then when im ready to get the site built i could link to the blog domain from the main domain, i know that over time there would be the benefits from the blog content being in place and indexed by the search engines before the main site and product is built, but its not my primary reason for doing it that way.

    And regarding the 2 separate domains it would be like this mysite(.)com and mysiteblog(.)com

  • Denis R commented on April 26, 2011

    Nice article, I opted to go with Subdomain and here is my reasoning …

    I have over 1500 domains that will domain-mapped to their individual blogs using WP networks. I am not worried about them ranking quickly because my main domain is not ranked at the moment and might take some time to rank since it’s a .co.

    Here are my questions:

    1. Was it wise to choose a .co for my main site and have subdomains created that will be branded to their own niche EVEN though I will be Mapping the Domains? (I’m worried that even though i domain map them, that I might not get the SEO deserved since it is a .co – most of my mapped domains are quality .com / .net / .org domains with good SEO already)

    2. Would it really matter in regards to SEO if I choose subdirector or subdomain if I am Mapping the the domains anyways?

    3. I know this is almost off topic, but will Mapping Domains in WP penalize my sites in SE’s?

    Looking forward to some comments / opinions.

  • Interesting article. However, you didn’t really include any data about completely separate domains. We set up our blog on a separate domain to try and get backlinks to our main site and I would be interested in your views on the pros and cons of this in relation to your experiments.

    • Thanks David, I haven’t any specific data on a separate domain, but I think it’s a sound strategy if you invest in the content and generate backlinks and engagement. I have listed the pros and cons above. I think it’s a higher risk, but higher reward approach than subfolder – do good on you for thinking out of the box!

    • Is that for the brandboost site? If so, i noticed that you didn’t buy a separate domain for the blog, also i see that your site is hosted on a UK server but the blogger blog in the US, are there any particular reasons for your choices?

  • Wayne commented on April 15, 2011

    Hi Dave,

    Great write up! Well I’m new to SEO but after setting up my SubDomain and finding out the hard way it is working slowly. I’m glad I can to this site. My question is can I change my SubDomain to Subfolder? If so will there be any issue down the path, currently I’m hosting in Godaddy!

    Thank you so much


    • Thanks Wayne, yes you can switch from sub-domain to subfolder if you set up a 301 redirect to the new pages in a subfolder. As I describe in the post, that what I did and when I switched I saw new visits straightaway, i.e. within a week.

  • Hi Dave… My blog is hosted by Blogger.com (as I am sure many others are)… am I better from an SEO perspective to use the Blogger address, or to bring it ‘in-house’ amd use the folder approach? This has always been main issue from me.

    • Hi Guy, yes that’s a fourth option on this post and a common approach as you say.

      I’ve personally no experience of this, but I’m sure it can be made to work for you since you do see Blogger and WordPress blogs appearing in the SERPs – in fact when I was researching this post yesterday I noticed that a Blogger / Blogspot blog was top for the intensely popular http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=dating+blog.

      I would say that for a new blog, it’s best to put on own domain subfolder than on Blogspot since it has to build up its reputation, but if its been there a while, then maybe minor benefit to transferring.


  • Adam Lee commented on April 11, 2011

    I agree with your conclusion and its something I’ve been recommending to clients but I’m wondering what you think about the value of a sub-domain on a top level domain’s rankings, or vice versa.
    For instance if I used blog.noporkpies.com how much weight would Google pass from the top-level (www.noporkpies.com) onto the blog in a subdomain?
    My personal view is not very much at all. My logic behind this is if the top-level domain offered vast amounts of ‘authority’ to the sub-domains then blogs hosted on blogger and other similar sites would have a massive benefit over personally hosted blogs.
    For instance noporkpies.blogger.com would gain loads of authority from blogger.com meaning it should rank better than blog.noporkpies.com as noporkpies.com has less authority than blogger. I’ve seen no evidence to show this is happening so personally believe a sub-domain is treated very similarly to a separate domain with virtually no authority.

    Would be interesting to hear you thoughts on this

    • Yes Adam, I agree with ” sub-domain is treated very similarly to a separate domain with virtually no authority” – that’s why most comments on Linked In, etc have come down in favour of subfolder.

      This change dates back a while, I think, possibly to 2007 = ancient history http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/015621.html. Although it doesn’t mention the deweighting of sub-domains I *think* it happened then.

  • I was confused in which way should I go but your post has helped me in taking the decision. Thanks.

  • julia commented on January 30, 2011

    Interesting discussion! Does it matter if the sub folder or sub domain where the blog is to be held is on a different server to the main site? I have literally just set up a blog as a subdomain with the ultimate aim of drawing more traffic into the main site it supports and raising profile in the search engines. I am now questioning whether the subdomain is the right approach. The main site is set up using a sitebuilder programme. I had asked for a subdomin to be pointed at a separate server so I could self host a wordpress blog

    • Hi Julia,

      Which is the best approach really depends on whether you want to take a short or longer term approach.

      For the short-term, sub-folder is best since this inherits the authority of the parent site more than a sub-domain which has to establish its own authority in the eye of the search engines by gaining backlinks. This means that to get the most from a subdomain (or blog on a separate domain) you have to work at building backlinks.

      If you’re able to do that in the long-term through creating a lot of quality content or discussion that attracts links, then the subdomain or separate domain will have more value in linking back to the main site with anchor text promoting products and services. But that’s only true if you manage to create a good set of backlinks which will take time. So for most cases where the blog doesn’t receive a lot of backlinks I believe that a subfolder is best.

      I hope that helps, Dave

  • caroline commented on January 12, 2010

    This is probably a stupid question. But I am still learning. How do you make a subdomain?

    I have my domain name. But I still don’t get how to make a subdomain for my blog.

    Any answers would be appreciated.

    • Reply, no question is stupid if you need to ask, so no problem Caroline.

      The method will depend on your web hosting provider company.

      You will have to create a sub-domain in the control panel and then map your application / blog to this domain.

      Each hosting provider has a different control panel layout so you will have to check their FAQ.

  • I agree with what the individuals before me said, but I also feel as though all the pages created via a blog will be interpreted as being a part of the site, giving the site more content, whereas a subdomain is often seen as a completely separate domain.

  • Hi Dave, great post thanks and I see it’s lasted a good length of time which is always a good sign 🙂

    I understand you recommend the folder over the subdomain but does it matter what you call the folder? Is it preferable to call is /blog or would it matter if it was called /exerciseblog ?

    Thanks in advance!


    • Thanks – yes labelling the sub-folder with a term you’re targeting could help if you get sufficient backlinks to the blog where the URL is “naked” which I do find for my blog.

  • Shot commented on October 18, 2009


    i’d appreciate any advise. After, much investigation i haven’t found any conclusive answers to the whole sub-domain versus sub-directory debate in terms of using a bog for SEO.

    I want to increase the PR of my main domain by using a blog because it will be much easier to generate back-links and reciprocal links for a blog than to my main site.

    I understand there are various options such as hosting the blog as a subdirectory – i.e. mainsite.co.uk/blog – or as a sub-domain – i.e. – blog.mainsite.co.uk

    Basically, in terms of generating back-links and increasing PR to my main site which is better?

    I want to use a blog that will have ever-changing content and provide reciprocal links to other sites. However, the way my site is configured only allows me to set up a blog using a sub-domain – i.e. http://shotblog.shotfilms.co.uk
    But i also have the option to do a redirect so that the blog can be found at http://www.shotfilms.co.uk/shotblog – but does this mean my blog is still technically a sub-domain as far as google is concerned.

    Will links to my blog actually increase my main site’s PR even though it’s hosted on a subdomain?

    What if I interlink my sub-domain blog with my mainsite? Does than mean the links to by blog (on the sub-domain) are treated as links to my main site?

    Any advise much appreciated


  • Sam Khan commented on October 4, 2009

    Does this hold true for sub-domains vs. sub-directories and web content separation for products/services (e.g. camcorders.mysite.com, mysite.com/camcorders) on your site?
    I understand and agree with your article above and plan to use this approach but just wondering if this it’s the same for plain content.

    • Hi Sam,

      The same principle applies, so most would use subfolders in that situation.

      It did used to be more common to use subdomains, e.g. see Different categories on Howstuff works. It could be wortwhile here as a long-term play on different topics where each subdomain generates its own backlinks.

  • Google takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the sites indexed. Also sometimes it loads the backup data without any notification to us. So it’s usual task that you may see the same old site even after indexing the new site before few days.


    • Hi – it’s true there is a delay, but length of time depends on frequency / priority with which Google crawls site – pages higher in the hierarchy can be faster and lower slower!

      • Very true, I’ve had some webpages indexed within hours while other took several weeks.

  • Savvy commented on September 8, 2009

    I always using subfolder due to easy installation and handling in future. Honestly I don’t have any blog using subdomain since i believe treated as subfolder for main domain is much better than been treated as a new single site by using subdomain. Thanks for your sharing your experiment with subdomain and subfolder here. 🙂

  • Jim Clary commented on August 31, 2009

    Thanks Dave!! I am rebuilding my site to incorporate numerous blogs and I was wrestling with which way to go.

  • Blogbal commented on August 9, 2009

    I agree with what the individuals before me said, but I also feel as though all the pages created via a blog will be interpreted as being a part of the site, giving the site more content, whereas a subdomain is often seen as a completely separate domain.

  • Nick commented on February 11, 2009

    Dave, I agree that sub-domains are the best place to install a blog on an existing website but I’ve heard evidence from many people and read lots of information that Google et al treat sub-domains as individual folders within a website and don’t give it as much importance as something sitting at .com/blog for example.

    As an idea a low level network of blogs sitting on different IP addresses is an easy, cheap and quick way to quickly improve a central sites SEO rankings. I don’t think many people know about the importance of not sitting hosting environment.

    Liking the new blog, Thesis is great isn’t it.

    • Thanks for your comments about new blog format Nick – appreciated.

      My conclusion which must have been unclear was that .com/blog is better than subdomain since that doesn’t have the immediate trust from G that a subfolder does.

      Like idea of hosting on separate sub/domain and different IPs perhaps with a sub-brand. If you only have one blog though, it wouldn’t do any harm and would give some benefits to have it as a fresh domain on same IP.

      • Dane Westo commented on September 11, 2013

        Hi Dave,

        My question is in regards to subdomain. I’m setting up subdomains to target geographical locations. But, subdomain urls can confuse users.

        I want to set up Mate of Mine the same way as LinkedIn. I.e. they target by geographical location with subdomains. e.g. my profile is au.linkedin.com/in/danewesto‎ but after you click on the link your taken to TLD http://www.linkedin.com/in/danewesto

        How the hell do they do this?

        In my case I want to taget countries such as untied states with us.mateofmine.com but when they click on the link they are taken to http://www.mateofmine.com

        Other landing pages like http://us.mateofmine.com/business/view/2575 to http://mateofmine.com/business/view/2575

        Any help is much appreciated.

      • kris commented on July 21, 2014

        Thank you Dave for the knowledge that you are sharing. I am wondering earlier if I will be creating a subdomain or will I just create my new website on the subdirectory. I am planning to do internet marketing so I realize now that it is hard to attract traffic when I created a new subdomain.

        Thanks Again and More Power!


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