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I'm an Associate Director of SEO at Rosetta, a dedicated husband, dad, part-time crooner, lover of mafia movies, eternally tortured Cleveland sports fan, digital marketer, blogger, and WordPress aficionado.

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Blog Placement for SEO: Subdomain vs. Subdirectory (and Other Options)

Jacob StoopsJacob Stoops
UPDATE – October 31, 2012

I’d recommend disregarding everything below the video. Though they once seemed to agree with my positions, it seems Matt Cutts has announced that there is no difference in the way that Google treats sites built on subdomains versus those in subdirectories in terms of their overall value. As a consequence, the best advice that I can give is that every site and its content must be able to stand on it’s own merit – regardless of where it lives.

That being said, it is still more valuable from an SEO perspective to have your blog live on-site – whether it be subdomain or subdirectory – versus on an external domain which likely won’t have the overall equity of the main root domain.

In my last article, you learned about the benefits of having a business blog if you’re a large corporate brand. Making the commitment to have a blog is simply the first and maybe toughest step. This is a step that over 50% of corporations still haven’t taken.

Once you’ve made the decision to adopt a business blog for your brand, there are a lot of things that have to be done pre-launch in order to make it successful. I’ll discuss in an upcoming post why there are many more things to take into consideration as a corporate brand in order to launch and run a good business blog. However, the first question is typically fairly simple, but can have a number of SEO ramifications. That question is:

Where should the blog live in order to get the maximum SEO benefit?

This is a question I’ve gotten many times, and it can relate to a blog or to regular websites (with franchises or many offices). I’m sure there are many differing opinions on this topic, and if we were talking about regular sites and not just blogs I may have varying opinions on a case-by-case basis. However, I’ll list the scenarios in order of most to least impactful based on what I know and my opinions about SEO and blogging.

1. Blog Placed in Subdirectory (Ex: yoursite.com/blog)

This situation for me is the most ideal from an SEO standpoint. I prefer to use a subdirectory (or “subfolder”) over a subdomain or external site any day.

Matt Cutts agrees with me:

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 news.google.com or maps.google.com, 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.”

Rand Fishkin agrees with me too, but does go on to detail compelling usage examples for subdomains:

Starting a blog? I almost always recommend yoursite.com/blog over blog.yoursite.com.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

2. Blog Placed in Subdomain (Ex: blog.yoursite.com)

This is the second best option in my opinion for SEO. A subdomain is basically a separate or third-tier website that just so happens to be residing off of the root domain. Search engines typically view them as wholly separate entities. I would only use this if the blog was completely separate to your services (or if your site infrastructure does not allow you to add blogging software to the root domain).

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

3. Blog On External URL (Ex: someothersite.com)

Having a separate site as your blog – while better than nothing at all – is the least ideal solution of the 3 solutions discussed. Again, I would only use this option if the blog was completely separate to your services (or if your site infrastructure does not allow you to add blogging software to the root domain). A great example of this would be if your company had an unrelated sponsorship that had enough interest to warrent its own blog.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

4. No Blog

Okay, so you’re one of the over 50% of corporations that still aren’t utilizing blogging for your business. If you read my last article and still aren’t convinced of the benefits of blogging, where is your head at?

If you review the advantages I’ve detailed and still feel as if there isn’t a direct business impact that can be made to correlate to being worth your time, then maybe you’ll never understand. If that is the case, here is the advantage to not having a blog…

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Just get a blog folks – it will make everyone happier!


Original image credit: Deviant Art

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I'm an Associate Director of SEO at Rosetta, a dedicated husband, dad, part-time crooner, lover of mafia movies, eternally tortured Cleveland sports fan, digital marketer, blogger, and WordPress aficionado.

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