Matt Cutts Talks Subdomains Vs. Subdirectories

By: Chris Crum - October 31, 2012

Google’s Matt Cutts posted a new Webmaster Help video about subdomains vs. subdirectories. It’s a topic Google has talked about various times in the past, but as Cutts notes in the video, it’s been a while, so perhaps it’s worth revisiting.

The user-submitted question he’s responding to is:

I’m interested in finding out how Google currently views subdomains — whether there’s any difference between a site structured as a group of subdomains and one structured as a group of subdirectories.

“They’re roughly equivalent,” says Cutts. “I would basically go with whichever one is easier for you in terms of configuration, your CMSs, [and] all that sort of stuff.”

You can watch the video for a more complete answer.

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • Nick Stamoulis

    I have always preferred subdirectories to subdomains. I think it makes it easier for visitors to remember because it fits right in with the rest of the site structure and how people expect URLs to work.

  • Eric Scism

    I totally agree with Nick! I always prefer subdirectories. To me it makes sense organizationally. It’s just like organizing files on your computer. You make sub folders and place them in there. Just makes more sense to me.

  • Kate

    I also prefer subdirectories to subdomains. There is a logic behind it but I do it for my personal liking because I think subdirectories look more appealing.

  • David Carley

    This was discussed in detail at SearchLove London 2012, mainly in respect to targeting customers in different countries. The outcome was to stay away from subdomains and stick with subdirectories; but naturally that isn’t the end of the discussion, there’s also some handy code to add to the head of the site’s code to really ensure the site operates to its optimum in these markets.

  • Ajay Jhunjhunwala

    I also prefer subdirectories Nick Stamoulis. It looks smart and decent to use sub directories. It is easy to maintain for me and i observed the search result pattern about listing urls from sub domains and main domain. Google is smarter than us so, I always remain a white Hat SEO.

  • Brian Gomez

    I prefer subdomains for sites that need to target various geographic locations and directories for sites that are ecommerce or targeting only city.

  • craig

    Matt makin sense again.. I prefer sub directories, but as he says, it don’t matter.

  • brian

    How would you apply this to an international company with a corporate site based in Europe, and individual country sites in many countries? Should the US site use a:
    subdomain like,
    subfolder like,
    country TLD like,

    I think most country sites would go with the country-specific TLD, but that doesn’t have the same impact in the States as a .com.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks so much,

  • Austin Movers

    It saves on your ssl certificate to use subdirectories as you don’t need a wildcard.