Thinking about About.com yesterday reminded me of one of the reasons that I paid such close attention to them for so many years – About.com is the best example of a successful company that uses a subdomain structure for its domain names.
There has been a perpetual debate over which is better way to set up the domain names for a site network:
- A subdirectory structure, for example www.sitename.com/ships
- A subdomain structure, for example http://ships.sitename.com
In my mind, this debate was recently ended by Google’s Matt Cutts. In his words:
“Historically, it’s been kind of a wash about when to use subdomains vs. subdirectories…My personal preference on subdomains vs. subdirectories is that I usually prefer the convenience of subdirectories for most of my content. A subdomain can be useful to separate out content that is completely different. Google uses subdomains for distinct products such news.google.com or maps.google.com, for example. If you’re a newer webmaster or SEO, I’d recommend using subdirectories until you start to feel pretty confident with the architecture of your site. At that point, you’ll be better equipped to make the right decision for your own site.”
Bottom line: either way is fine. Pick your favorite and go with it.
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