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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist Azam.net's Avatar
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    Exclamation What's better for SEO: using a sub-domain or directory of a domain name?

    Let's say your main American site is xxx.com

    What would be better for the Australian site from an SEO perspective please?

    australia.xxx.com or xxx.com/australia

    Thanks.
    Azam Marketing, Inc.
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  2. #2
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    In this example I would say the sub domain. The main question here would be is if this a translation of the site, or is it a completely different website? Seeing how it's Australian/American I am assuming it's not a translation but rather a different site that serves a different function.

    Search engines see sub domains as different sites, but like a child of the main site. Sub folders are generally considered a sub part of the main site, rather than a separate site. I would recommend the sub domain route for a couple different reasons:

    (1) You could use an Australian host to host the sub domain and keep it more local.
    (2) If you're submitting to a lot of local Australian directories or catalogs, it won't clash with your root level link building campaign(s) other wise cause confusion.

    Again, the flip side is if you're just making a slight variation - for example a store that charges in AUD instead of USD, or different model numbers but the same product, then your best bet would be to do it in a sub folder rather than a sub domain, autoredirect based on Geo location and perhaps block the folder via robots.txt so your Australian content isn't considered duplicate content.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
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    I think here you'll get your answer from matt cutts, ......mattcutts.com/blog/subdomains-and-subdirectories/

  4. #4
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azam.net View Post
    Let's say your main American site is xxx.com

    What would be better for the Australian site from an SEO perspective please?

    australia.xxx.com or xxx.com/australia
    I would generally avoid subdomains altogether. The principle reason being that the majority of web surfers struggle to type in a normal domain name and can't cope with anything that doesn't begin with www.. It's annoying enough when I'm giving someone a URL to type in and they ask "Do I need to type www dot?" even when it doesn't matter, but if you've got a subdomain then it does matter and anyone typing www.australia.xxx.com is going to get a honking big error message.

    A few other factors that mitigate against using subdomains are:
    • Re-use of resources. If you've gone for subfolders then you can easily reference images, stylesheets and scripts with eg href="/global/style/theme.css", whereas if you've gone for subdomains then you have to include the full domain name in the URL for any shared resource – while it isn't a huge deal, it will have an impact on your site's performance.
    • Lots of places will automatically convert anything they recognise as a URL into a clickable link – word processors, email clients, text messages, forums and social media websites etc. But that only works if the URL starts with http:// or www.. If you have a subdomain then to make those links clickable then you need to type in the (rather ugly) http:// at the start of every one, whereas with subfolders you can go for the simpler www. instead.


    OK, I haven't mentioned SEO much (except that the more times your URL is automatically linkified around the web, the more links to your site there are), but that's because I really don't think it matters. Google wants to give surfers the best sites it can. That isn't going to be affected by whether you've got example.com/australia, example.com.au or au.example.com – it makes no difference to the quality of reputation of the site, so Google is unlikely to pay any attention to it.


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