Are Subdomains Bad for SEO? Pros and Cons of subdomains


Websites are crucial for a business’ success and every element of a website is important for visitor retention and its search engine ranking. Everything you do with your website should be done after analyzing how would it affect the overall SEO?

One of these elements under discussion today is subdomains. ‘Are subdomains bad for SEO?’ Do they positively or negatively affect a website’s ranking? Is it beneficial to have them or not? Or do they have any impact on website SEO at all?

Let us get to know through this article.

What is Domain?

Simply put, a domain name is the unique, easy-to-remember address (string of text) that is used to access websites from the user’s side. For instance, ‘’, ‘’, and ‘whatsapp.web’ etc. Users connect to websites through their domain names.

What Is a Subdomain?

A subdomain is a prefix that is added to the URL of a website before the main domain name. It is done to make a separate section of the main website. These separate sections are made to organize content and manage different types of function and information on your website.

If website’s domain name is taken as a street address, you can term subdomains as different houses within the street each with its own separate entrance and purpose.

It is not necessary to have subdomains on the website. They are only made to keep different sections or parts of the website apart from each other such as creating and separating blog, localized store, content for different language or region etc.

Examples of Domain & Subdomain:,, are the examples of domain. The most common example of the subdomain is ‘www’ technically but in this article we will be discussing other common subdomains like blog, support, shop etc. as they are made for special purposes.

In “”, ‘website’ is the primary domain, ‘store’ is the subdomain and ‘.com’ is the (TLD) top level domain.


Why Are Subdomains Used?

Subdomains are made to make separate sections on a website based on content management either for separate regions, languages, purpose or a different set of users.

  1. Multilingual Sites:

    For example, where ‘fr’ is used to denote content written in French language and to specify the blogging section of a site.

  2. Testing Websites:

    Subdomains are also used to make and test new website environments so that experimenting with new features do not affect the functioning of the main site. Many versions, plug-in, updates are done in the staging version. For that, access to the subdomain should be restricted by password so that it is not publicly available.

  3. Multi Regional Sites:

    If a website is to be created for different regions, a subdomain like can be created instead of making new one with ‘pk’ referring to Pakistan. In this way, the developers do not have the need to buy another domain for another other country with the country’s code top-level domain (TLD).

  4. Optimized Mobile Version:

    Although you can make the entire website to be mobile responsive, some people design a specific website section exclusively for mobile users with an additional subdomain, like, where ‘m’ refers to mobile devices.

  5. Multi Sectioned Sites:

Subdomains help better organize content on the website thus improving its user experience (UI). For instance, the blogs of a website can be placed in separate subdomain, denoted as: Similarly, subdomain can be used by business for its online store.

  1. E-Commerce Subdomain:

    Sometimes, business websites need to have a separate subdomain to handle their online transactions because e-commerce sites are typically more complex to handle. So, another common example of subdomain usage is for e-commerce stores.

All of these are done with the help of subdomains because they provide you the opportunity to use a specific platform for specific functions instead of integrating all the features and entire functionality in the main website.

Relevant article Link : What to do After buying domain name ?

Are Subdomains bad for SEO?

The topic is bit debatable. Subdomains can be good for SEO if used strategically but can also have negative impact if not handled rightly. With the proper management positive effects can be reaped.

According to Google subdomain do not directly affect SEO of a website but it can have other effects like if both the sites are optimized for the same target market or keyword, they might start competing with each other as the search engines takes domains as separate entities. Thus, lowering the overall SEO of the main domain.

The link juice and authority from the primary domain is not passed on to the subdomains. Similarly, the same is not passed on to the primary domain from the subdomain. Therefore, if the subdomain site is receiving a lot of backlinks and is ranking high for SEO, the authority and positivity of primary domain won’t get affected.

Subdomains are treated by search engines and Google like two different entities. It implies that the search engines crawl and index each subdomain separately and rank accordingly.

So, it is better to keep the subdomain’s purpose different form the main one. It is opposite to what happens to the sub- directories of a site. The authority and links of a sub-directory are passed to the main site hence positively affecting its SEO.

However, subdomains facilitate organizing a website’s content in a more coherent and efficient way. Their correct or improper use does not directly affect the main website’s SEO. Therefore, to be on the safe side, we recommend to keep all the content and web functioning on the same domain and refrain from using a subdomain for public sites.

Subdomains should only be used if really the need and a valid reason to do so such as using them to rank for different keywords, different markets, different regions, different languages or different purpose other than that of the main website.


The Pros and Cons of Using Subdomains for SEO:

Subdomains can be useful for SEO if used strategically, but they can also have negative impacts if not managed properly. Here are some pros and cons of using subdomains for SEO.

Advantages of Using Subdomains for SEO:

  1. Enhanced Domain Authority:

They can help boost domain authority if you make link between the two sites enabling you to operate two closely related sites simultaneously without the need to buy a new domain. Thus it saves you the money and time for managing an entire new website from scratch.

  1. Better Data Organization:

Subdomains can be useful for creating separate sections of a website for different countries or languages along with better data management and content organization on the website.

  1. Improved User Experience:

Subdomains can improve the user experience by organizing content in a more logical and coherent way. It streamlines the process for users and refines the website experience. It also allows easier navigation and better website understanding.

  1. Better Site Management:

A subdomain creates a separate site entity distinct from the primary one that can allow you to use a separate and new website design and content structure while keeping the primary domain structure same . As a result, you can manage your websites easier, enabling users to find and navigate the content more quickly.

Relevant article link : Is SEO worth if for small business?

Disadvantages of Using Subdomains for SEO:

  1. Authority Dilution:

Subdomains can rival the main domain if used for same targeted keywords or areas thus diluting its authority instead of empowering it. Thus, wise management is necessary.

  1. Not as Effective as Sub-directories:

Although subdomains and sub-directories both part of a URL structure and the function is also somewhat same, i.e. the better placement and organization of the content. But they are different in terms of technical aspects and impact on the site’s SEO. The search engine optimization and “link juice” is shared between a sub directory and primary domain unlike subdomain. Therefore, it may not be as helpful for websites to use subdomains as much as subdirectories.

  1. Difficult to Index and Crawl:

Subdomains are not as easily found and searched by search engines as main domains are. Therefore it can be difficult for Google to index and crawl them if not managed properly.

Wrapping Up:

Subdomains are part of the original site’s address that comes before the original domain name. Domains create separate sections across the site to better organize the content and coherent management. In addition to that, they are used as a test stage or to post content in multi languages to improve a site’s performance and accessibility.

It is important to note that subdomains and subdirectories act differently SEO and should be chosen with care that complements your site’s goal. For startups, bloggers or small businesses who have limited time and resources subdirectories are beneficial. Subdomains require a more careful handling and can even rival your main domain if not handled wisely. Therefore, they should only be used when there really is a need and purpose and with much skill and expertise.

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