SEO Trick – Sub-Domains vs. Directories

Two SEO questions I get asked a lot:

  • How important is the URL to ranking and
  • Which is better, sub-domains or directories

In general, both have only minor impact on ranking (I think they are important to click-through) but I just saw an example of the latter that is worth some thought.

In searching for "swing treeview" (a Java thing) at Google, the top two results are and and Google did NOT do the second as an indented listing which they would do if these were treated as being from the same domain.

If the same content were served via pages or directories at the root domain, the best this site would get is an indented listing, and even that is open to question.

This is likely a generally applicable result. Look at the results for searching for "blogspot" for example. Predictably, there are pages and pages of blogspot sub-domains. The previous example is no different.

The lesson here is that sub-domains really are different domains (which we knew).

The action item is to find out which is easier to get:

  • Multiple listings from sub-domains or
  • An indented listing from a single domain

I’ll let you know what I find.

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