I have a website which references places to travel to in the world. Those places are (of course) grouped by countries.

Here is an example of an actual URL of my website:


I am wondering if it would be better, in terms of SEO, to have the countries separated in subdomains:


I know subdomains are considered by Google as different websites (see the comments), so I am considering the 2 options:

  • separating would mean also separating the pagerank and benefits of links to the website
  • but separating would enable me to create a "web" or related websites (all related to travel and all) that link and benefit to each other

I am only asking about SEO here, I know there are other questions raised by this possibility (user experience, administration... even password completion by web browsers)

  • Have you read this question and this answer ?
    – j0k
    Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 9:04
  • "I know subdomains are considered by Google as different websites" - not as much as you might think. See j0k's links above.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 9:21
  • @j0k they mostly talk about subdomains, not much about subdomains VS directory. The first link kind of concludes that "nothing has changed since 2010", the second (2010) concludes that subdomains can't hurt the primary domain, but the inverse can be true. However, it doesn't talk about how it can help ranking, or it doesn't compare it with directories. Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 11:22

6 Answers 6


Why not use both?

You can forward the subdomains to the to the categories on the main site. I would advise against displaying the same content on separate domains.


I think creating sub folders: example.com/en/ or example.com/us/ etc for different languages and different countries is the best option.

I use this method and it works very well for me and you can observe some top branded websites also using the very the same method.

SEO point of view

As an SEO point of view it is much preferred just watch this video with the Google Team explaining on this issue with tips and advice.


To achieve great results, you have to use a combination of both sub-domains and sub-directories.

Just have the data listed under sub-directories. Also enable the sub domains and write a 302 redirect to the sub-directory URL. So besides using the regular lengthy sub-directory URL, the user can also enter the shorter and neater sub domain URL. At the same time you will also not be losing the Google PageRank for the original URL.


If you buy a generic TLD like .org or .com & create subdomains for every countries like de.example.com or it.example.com , then in Google Webmaster Tools(Google Search Console) you can add those two domains as different websites and go to the geotargetting feature of Google Webmaster Tool to mention the country that is related to your subdomain:


On this other hand, if you use a subfolder, you can not mention Google that this subfolder is for people in a particular country.


Go for subdomains as each subdomain could target different countries & languages and also should work as separate sites in google search etc. Links within domains are counted as internal by Google and page rank is for each url and not as a whole site. Optimizing for each country will be easier (for example in WMT)

  • While there is some truth here, buying TLDs for each country you can gives a more localised feel to the sites.
    – Kenzo
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 12:57

Search engines doesn't care about your URL, they only see your content, tags and backlinks.

  • 1
    Are you really sure? Check your source. Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 9:01
  • I'm sure, it doesn't matter if you have same keywords in subdomain or in form of folders, they are same to the spiders. what really makes the different is content, quality and quantity of backlinks and tags such as title, description and canonical url... although URL structure is important for the visitors sometimes... anyway, instead of making an nonconstructive comment, it would be more helpful if you provide your own source and correct me if you think I'm wrong!
    – Omne
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 11:04
  • 1
    Why it is nonconstructive? I haven't say you're an idiot or so, I just said to check again your source. Anyway is it well known that URLs are one of the main factors that S.E. takes into account. You can read it in a lot of books, one of them is "The art of seo" Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 11:15
  • 1
    @Omne You are wrong. Keywords in your URL are important for SEO. This is often cited as a top ten factor in ranking.
    – Kenzo
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 12:59

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