In some cases hosting your blog under your main website can be a good option. You would then need to make a choice between hosting the blog as a subdirectory (yourwebsite.com/blog) or as a subdomain (blog.yourwebsite.com).
Next week I will publish a post that explains the pros and cons of hosting your blog under the domain of your main – corporate, primairy or root – website as oppose to hosting it completely separate under a separate domain (URL).
But in this post, I will first discuss the difference between hosting your blog under subdirectory or subdomain.
The core of the difference between the two is in SEO – search engine optimisation.
Your blog as a subdirectory of your main website (yourwebsite.com/blog)
When you host your blog as a subdirectory of your website, your blog becomes an intregal part of your website. Google sees your website and your blog as ONE website.
Publishing content frequently is a great way to battle the competition on certain keywords. Frequent content publishing is something you can best do on a blog platform, as oppose to a normal website.
As you start publishing content on your blog platform – in line with your keyword strategy – your blog will start performing better in Google on those keywords. And because your blog is an integral part of your website, your main website domain will benefit.
Once other websites start linking to your blog posts, any link juice will be passed on to your main website. I.e. your whole website will start benefiting from your publishing activities – from an SEO perspective.
Your blog as a subdomain of your main website (blog.yourwebsite.com)
When you host your blog as a subdomain of your website, your blog and website are technically two separate websites. This effects your SEO. Once other sites start linking to your blog posts, the link juice will go to your subdomain rather than to your main domain.
You would for instance expect a subdomain to build up it’s own PageRank, separate from the main domain. But there is debate about this. I have personally also seen subdomains and main domains with the same PageRank.
It’s a misty area because Google views the two separate domains as closely associated. Still the subdomain remains a separate domain. You can think of it as a mini-site inside your main website.
This also means that when you offer a link from the main site to the subdomain, that Google sees this as an outgoing link. This is where link juice flows back from the main domain to the subdomain which reduces PageRank of your main domain.
Also your newly set-up subdomain will probably have a lower domain age (especially when you’ve just registered it). This also effects your SEO.
Conclusion: what is better subdomain or subdirectory?
All in all, it is the overwhelming consensus between SEO experts that hosting your blog in a subdirectory is the best thing to do – from an SEO perspective.
Hosting your blog as a subdomain, can have it’s perks but they are mainly of operational and technical nature. For instance, a subdomain can be easier moved to a different server or URL. Also, on some web servers it’s a hassle to install WordPress or Moveable Type blogs in the subdirectory – has something to do with PHP – yikes :-/
In short: if you want to host your blog under your main domain name go subdirectory.
Does it matter much? Well, if you are just starting out with your blog I would say – yes. It helps to gain traction quicker for your entire domain.
But if you have a bigger blog, with a lot of content, traffic and engagement, it doesn’t matter all that much. Google knows that your blog is closely liaised with your main website. It won’t make that much of a difference from a SEO perspective.
Is it always better to host your blog under the domain of your main website?
The answer is: no!
It really depends what you want to achieve with your blog. There are great arguments from a business strategy and PR positioning point of view, to host your blog under a separate domain name.
I would even argue that there are SEO arguments for hosting the blog on a separate domain. For instance, if you are selling something on your main website and you are informing or offering service on the blog. Ask yourself: are the keyword strategies the same? Does it actually help having both under one domain? You run the risk of defocussing your site. Something Google doesn’t like!
I will go into this extensively in my next blog post!
In this blog post I have covered the difference between hosting your blog as a subdirectory or a subdomain under your main website. In principle: if you decide to host your blog under your main corporate website: go subdirectory instead of subdomain.