Are Subdomains Bad for SEO or Can They Improve Your SEO Rankings?

Are subdomains bad for SEO? Or, if done the right way, can they help you improve your SEO performance? Read this article to find out.

Are Subdomains Bad for SEO or Can They Improve Your SEO Rankings?

Subdomains are a common topic of debate in the SEO community. Many argue that subdomains can have a huge impact on SEO.

But are subdomains bad for SEO?

The impact of subdomains on SEO depends on how you use them and many other factors.

If done right, you can increase your SEO efforts with subdomains.

Subdomains are a great tool for organising and structuring large websites. You can also use them to target specific keywords and topics.

But there are downsides to using subdomains as well. They can scale down your website's authority in the eyes of search engines.

This article explores the relationship between subdomains and SEO.

We'll also talk about the difference between subdomains and subdirectories.

❔ Do Subdomains Affect SEO?

Subdomains are prefixes to a website's root domain. They're separate sections or categories within the same website.

For example, if your main website is "," a subdomain could be ""

"Blog" is the subdomain, "website" is the primary domain, and "com." is the top-level domain.

In this case, the subdomain indicates a separate blog. You can also use them for an online store, support platform, and niche markets.

Each subdomain functions as a separate web address but is still part of the main domain's website.

But how do subdomains impact SEO? More importantly, are subdomains good for SEO? Should they be a part of your digital marketing strategy?

Subdomains can affect your SEO efforts. But its effect depends on many factors.

Subdomains can impact your SEO strategy in the following ways:

  • Content organisation
  • Site structure and hierarchy
  • Link building
  • User experience

Google views subdomains as separate sites. When you create multiple subdomains, search engines will treat them as two sites.

So, if you apply SEO efforts to one site, they may not work on the other.

✔️ Pros of Using a Subdomain for SEO

As we said before, subdomains can impact SEO. Let's start with the pros of using subdomains.

Here are the most important ones:

  1. Content organisation
  2. Targeted SEO
  3. Multilingual and multiregional SEO
  4. Improved site structure
  5. Content isolation
  6. Better online presence
  7. Increased SERPs

Subdomains help users navigate your site. Users can find what they're looking for quickly and easily. A better-organised site increases user experience.

You can use subdomains to target a specific audience. This can lead to generating traffic and improving your site's SEO performance.

Subdomains provide a way to organise different sections of a website. Even though it's a separate subdomain, it's part of the main site.

You can tailor this separate site to specific topics or regions. Then you can target different demographics in a more effective way.

For example, "" and "" can target users in the United States and the United Kingdom.

If you use a subdomain, it can improve site structure. A well-structured website is important for SEO.

You can also divide content into subdomains. You can then optimise each subdomain based on different factors. For example, keywords and target audience.

Search engines treat each subdomain as a separate entity. This means they have their own domain authority. It also means they can have different search engine results.

Website owners can appear on different search results pages for relevant queries.

Impact on Website Authority and Relevance

Creating subdomains can have an impact on website authority. It can also make your main website less relevant.

This happens because subdomains can confuse a search engine. It will be challenging to assess your website's relevance.

It can have bad effects on your SEO performance.

It's important to think about adding a subdomain to your website's main URL. As you already know, website authority is an essential SEO factor.

You should only use a subdomain when:

  1. You want to organise your site.
  2. You want a separate website.
  3. You want to have separate sites for different countries.
  4. You want to create a niche authority.
  5. You want to promote an event.

Subdomains in Site Hierarchy

Creating a specific subdomain can help organise your site better. This is useful when your site contains different types of content.

Users will be able to navigate your site faster and find what they're looking for. This improves user experience and site usability.

If done right, website owners can use subdomains to their advantage.

The goal is to optimise each subdomain with specific keywords. That way, it will cater to different target audiences.

This increases the possibility of ranking in search results. It's especially important for landing pages for different regions.

❌ Cons of Using a Subdomain for SEO

We've already established that subdomains can improve SEO performance. But if you use a subdomain, it can have some downsides as well.

Here are some notable cons of using subdomains:

  1. Weaker online presence
  2. Challenges with link-building
  3. Keyword cannibalisation
  4. Lower backlink authority
  5. Duplicate content issues

When websites use subdomains, they create separate entities. Google sees them as independent websites. As a result, the main domain risks losing its authority and ranking.

Subdomains don't share their SEO strength with the main site. Any good SEO work on a subdomain doesn't directly help the main website. This means more work to build up each part of the website.

Search engines may not be able to understand your site as a result. This can lead to lower rankings and visibility. This reduced both domain authority and backlink authority.

For example, let's say you're using a subdomain for your e-commerce store. If you put all your effort into your main site, that link juice won't pass onto your e-commerce store. So you'll have to put an equal amount of effort into both sites.

Using subdomains can also lead to keyword cannibalisation.

Keyword cannibalisation happens when several pages within the same website compete. Especially for the same keyword rankings.

Each subdomain has its own set of web pages and content. This may cause some keywords to overlap. This results in lower organic traffic and poor SEO performance.

Subdomains can also lead to duplicate content. This can confuse Google even more.

🔁 The Subdomain vs. Subdirectory Debate

Let's take a moment to discuss subdomains and subdirectories.

A subdomain is an extension of the main domain. It functions as a separate entity.

A subdirectory is a folder within the main domain.

From an SEO perspective, there has been much debate about which option is better.

Subdomains can be useful in certain scenarios. You can create a subdomain within your website for many reasons. For example, to target a specific audience.

But here are some reasons you might want to use a subdirectory instead:

  • Simpler structure
  • Better SEO
  • Easier link building
  • Better user experience
  • Cost-effective

Using a subdirectory structure is much easier than with a subdomain. Subdirectories keep everything on the main site. This makes it easier to organise your content. It's all in one place!

Google Search Console usually sees subdirectories as part of the main website. So, any SEO work you do benefits the whole site.

Subdirectories often cost less to set up and maintain than subdomains. You don't need separate hosting or security certificates for each one.

Subdomains and subdirectories each have their advantages and disadvantages. It's important to consider your needs to determine the best approach for your site.

🥇 Do Subdomains Help SEO?

Sometimes, subdomains are necessary for your site. If you want to create an addition to your main domain, it can be quite useful.

Subdomains can have positive and negative effects on SEO.

They can help target specific keywords and create a focused user experience. This can ultimately improve search engine rankings.

But, using subdomains can also lead to a decrease in website authority.

If you need advice from SEO experts, RankRise can help. We specialise in all things SEO. We can help you come up with an effective SEO strategy.

Contact us if you want to know more.

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Tijana Abadic
Tijana Abadic

Tijana is a content writer with three years of experience working for digital marketing firms and creating informative and engaging content for diverse industries. As a content strategist at RankRise, she specialises in writing and editing long-form content that reflects the brand and drives results.

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