From what it is to do you really need excess categorisation, the battle of subdomain vs domain has long plagued SEO analysts and website developers alike. 

Let’s finally put that argument to rest. We will look at what a subdomain is, how (or if) it affects website SEO, and if you should break your back on creating one (or more) for your website.  

Difference Between Domain Vs Subdomains

Here’s the difference between domain and subdomain in simple words: A domain is like a wardrobe; subdomains are the shelves and drawers inside. And like drawers, the subdomains help with organisation – they separate the different pages that fall under the umbrella of one website. 

Domain name vs Subdomain:  

When someone asks you for a website address, you give the domain.  

A regular domain (also called main or root domain): kittens.com. 

Subdomains are the extensions of the domain: blog.kittens.com, store.kittens.com, contact.kittens.com. 

The SEO Effects of Using a Subdomain Vs. A Main Domain

If done correctly, such is the power of SEO that it can drive 1,000% more traffic than organic social media. But getting SEO right starts at the very roots of your website – to be specific, from your website domain and subdomains. 

What are the effects of subdomain vs domain on SEO? 

Search engines are all about user convenience; if something enhances user experience, it will be favoured. But whether you want to use subdomains or stick to the root domain, depends on your end goals. 

  • Better On-Site Experience: A big website could overwhelm visitors. A single domain could make website visitors feel confused or frustrated. Use subdomains to better organise your website and break it into smaller, more manageable chunks. 
  • Ranking Potential: A subdomain operates as a separate entity when it comes to SEO. Without the main domain eclipsing it, it gets a fighting chance at ranking higher in search results. Using relevant keywords (not stuffing) in the URLs of subdomains is another way to help your website rank higher. 
  • Domain Authority: When it comes to domain vs subdomain SEO, considering domain authority is a must.
    And a big reason to use subdomains is they can help in boosting a website’s DA. If your subdomain, blog.kittens.com, links to another one of your subdomains, store.kittens.com (and vice versa), both stand to get a thumbs-up from search engines. 

Do Subdomains Hurt SEO? 

Subdomains won’t directly hurt website SEO, but their incorrect usage could.  

When you consider domain name vs subdomain, you have to remember that search engines crawl and track subdomains separately. Your overall domain rating isn’t swayed if a subdomain does well in this aspect. However, on the split side, some SEO analysts have observed that when a subdomain starts performing exceptionally well, it threatens to eclipse the root domain itself. 

So, to answer your question of do subdomains hurt SEO, the answer is: Subdomains are neither good nor bad for SEO – it is your strategic use that decides which way your rankings tip. 

Optimising the Main Domain for SEO

Create Content Consistently

Regularly produce quality content and use it to refresh your main domain.  

Search engines love fresh material. It keeps your site relevant, engages users, and can positively impact your rankings. 

Optimise the Site Backend

One cannot overstate the importance of technical SEO. The first thing you need to do is ensure that your site’s backend is well-structured.  

Use clean code, optimise images, and prioritise fast loading times – the proof is in the page pudding. Websites that load in one second have a 7% bounce rate; a website that takes five seconds to load has a whopping 38% bounce rate. 

An optimised backend makes search engines very happy because it provides a smooth user experience. 

Use A Simple URL Structure

The devil is in the details (of your website URL). Every URL needs to follow a few simple rules: 

1. URLs should be short and sweet: Shorter URLs are more user-friendly and easier to recollect.  

2.URLs are valuable SEO real estate: Don’t forget to include relevant keywords in the webpage URL. This helps search engines understand the content and improves your chances of ranking for those keywords. 

3.Make the search engine’s job easier: Use hyphens to separate words in your URL. Complex symbols like underscores confuse search engines – and you’re punished with low rankings.  

Optimising the Subdomain for SEO  

Create A Unique SEO Strategy

Since search engines treat subdomains as separate entities, they require separate SEO efforts. And the SEO strategy for domain vs sub domain looks quite different. That’s because, in most cases, a subdomain is created to specifically target a niche.  

To that end, the branding and SEO efforts will change, becoming a lot more nuanced.  

Boost Your Technical SEO

As mentioned previously, SEO for subdomains requires a certain level of technical finesse. If done correctly, subdomains could prove as a great way to increase Domain Authority – for which most SEO experts give their blood, sweat, and tears. 

But if you fail to focus enough on the technical SEO aspect, your efforts will be in vain. Once a subdomain is created, you will need to work on mobile optimisation, page load speed, and image optimisation, to name a few. 

Localise and Customise

SEO for subdomains is your chance to customise content to a higher degree. The difference between domain and subdomain is that you cannot be too specific on your root domain when it comes to content. You want your content to speak to your entire client base and include all the relevant points. 

But as you branch out and become more specific with subdomains, you get a chance to localise and customise that content. Visitors appreciate personalisation, so don’t be afraid to get as specific as possible on respective subdomains. 

Keep the Branding Somewhat Consistent

But here’s where the outlook on subdomain vs domain gets somewhat more complex: While subdomains are your ticket to getting more specific, you cannot lose sight of the big picture. Subdomains are still a part of your root domain – and they should feel as such. The branding across the root domain and subdomains should remain consistent for a more cohesive feel. 

Final Words 

Although this topic can be a little confusing, the winner of the subdomain vs domain battle is decided solely by your website’s needs. 

Subdomains offer organisation and structure to your main site if you have a lot of different, yet important content to share. 

No matter what you choose to go with, it is important to remember SEO best practices and implement them to the best of your abilities. 

Subdomain Vs Domain FAQ’s 

Do I own a subdomain if I own a domain? 

Of course, you can! Root domain vs subdomain: The two have two separate functions. Domain is the main website while subdomains are the sections that are used for convenient compartmentalisation. 

However, don’t forget to abide by the SEO for subdomains. 

 How do you tell if a website is a subdomain? 

Domain name vs subdomain: You can tell the difference between the two from the URL. If a domain is xyz.com, the subdomains appear as an extension of the domain, something like: blog.xyz.com.