A new site owner might not be aware of the fact that a single domain can house multiple sites. We’re not talking about separate pages but rather a full-fledged website running on a single part. This can be done in two ways: using subdomains or subdirectories. Both approaches work in the same way from a technical standpoint, but we prefer subdomains because they provide a cleaner look.

This article explains what subdomains are and why you should use them. Next, we’ll discuss a few of the circumstances in which it makes sense to do so before showing you how to set up (and use) your own subdomain. Let’s get started!

Subdomains: What Are They?

Subdomains are parts of your website that you would like to distinguish from the rest with their own identities. In the event that Brafton was to create a subdomain for blog.brafton.com (we don’t), our subdomain would be blog.brafton.com.

The primary domain, also known as the root domain or primary domain, is essentially the name of your website.The main domain name of Brafton is brafton.com. I didn’t mention www.brafton.com or https://www.brafton.com, which are technically our website addresses.

What Subdomains Are Used For

That diagram seems pretty clear and straightforward. However, let’s say that instead of a simple FAQ page, you want to build out an extensive research library of white papers, datasheets, training materials, and user guides. It would suddenly become a highly complex sitemap very quickly.

Subdomains let you separate parts of your site that are large enough to require their hierarchies without creating a new site with a new domain or confusing visitors with a completely different root domain.

Many companies, including Google itself, use subdomains. Here’s what you’ll need to do if you need assistance with any tech giant’s apps: support Google.

Subdomains: What Are the SEO Implications?

The subdomain is a good organization tool, but what does it have to do with SEO and organic rankings?” Excellent question.

The first thing to realize is that there is no such thing as an organization for the sake of organization in terms of site structure and hierarchy. The search engines are bound to penalize a website with a confusing structure.

The use of subdomains streamlines your website hierarchy, making it easier for users to find the information they seek, which enhances your website’s SEO. If your page is difficult to navigate, visitors will be less likely to spend time on your page. They may even spend more time on your page if they’re having trouble finding what they’re looking for, which will lead to a less than satisfactory experience and potentially impact search engine rankings.

At this point, if you follow a lot of SEO-focused blogs, you might be wondering, “Wait, I thought subdomains were bad for SEO?”Many have discussed how subdomains can negatively impact SEO, specifically how search engines penalize them or are unable to parse between main domains and subdomains.

What Are Subfolders and Subdirectories?

An intradomain subfolder, also known as a subdirectory, is a collection of pages that reside within the domain’s root domain. Google doesn’t see it as a standalone site as a subdomain does.As a quick reference, the following graphic breaks down the differences between subdomains and subfolders:

An organization’s navigation sitemap should have a minimum number of categories and subcategories, as recommended by site hierarchy best practices. Kissmetrics, for example, recommends keeping the number of categories on your site limited to between two and seven.The most important thing to remember about sitemaps is that they visually represent the links in a website. They should be created from an analysis of your website structure, not simply a list of every page on your site.