Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Hyderali Shaikh on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Wednesday, September 11, 2013).

sub-domain or sub-directories - which one do you prefer?

Apology, if this question asked before.

My question is - One of my client started "Wooden toys" ecommerce site in India. All hosting & domain are from India only. Now, he wants to target it internationally due to request.

I read the Google article on Mutli-regional & Multi-lingual. And I came to the conclusion that either Sub-domain or Sub-directories would be the ideal choice. 

My problem is, I can`t decide whether to go with sub-domain or sub-directories. Which one you`d prefer?

What about rel="alternate" hreflang="x"? Do I`ve to add it or not?

What about duplicate content issue? Anyone, with prior experience?

Thanks in advance.

This question begins at 01:50:48 into the clip. Did this video clip play correctly? Watch this question on YouTube commencing at 01:50:48
Video would not load
I see YouTube error message
I see static
Video clip did not start at this question


Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Jim Munro: As you know, I am not an expert, Hyderali but if it were my website and I wanted to target the USA for example I would have a different product set suited to the market and definitely new product names, descriptions and photos. I would make it on a usa.woodentoys dot com subdomain and host the subdomain in the US.
  • Federico Sasso: Hi Hyderali,<br />I confirm both domain and sub-directories are treated the same.<br /><br />It mainly depends on personal taste, but also ease of configuration can be taken into account in the choice: setting up sub-domain can be more complicated as it involves DNS). Another small difference is sub-domains have their own robots.txt file, adding a little extra maintenance effort.<br /><br />Yes, do add rel=&quot;alternate&quot; hreflang=&quot;..&quot;, if the pages differ only in language but are actually semantically the same. That would help search engines to understand the relationship and serve the best page according to user language.<br /><br />Same content in different languages normally do not lead to duplicate content issues, except when the two languages are practically the same (e.g. en-US and en-UK). Even in such cases, using rel=&quot;alternate&quot; hreflang=&quot;..&quot; prevents Google to think they are duplicated content, so this is an extra reason to use it.<br /><br />Hope this helps
  • Hyderali Shaikh: Thanks  ; for your reply. Actually, it is a startup, so we don&#39;t have money to host it in US. ;<br /><br />Yes,  ; I agree with all what you said. I&#39;ll ask him which he prefers depending on the ease of configuration like you said. He wants to target - US, UK, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Europe &amp; few more. ;<br /><br />But suppose, if he chose sub-directories, how do I add the target country in webmaster tools? Also, if I add the hreflang it&#39;ll show the content as per the country language or not?
  • Collin Davis: Personal opinion here - I would look at creating sub folders rather than sub domain so that it strengthens my main domain. You could have something like en-US and then target as per sub folder in GWT
  • John Britsios: Have a look at this video with Matt Cutts: 
  • Tony McCreath: From what I&#39;ve read, go with what is easiest.<br /><br />I think they recomend using canonical for duplicated pages and hreflang if they are language/region specific.
  • Hyderali Shaikh: Thanks Guys!! Lets see what my client is upto.
  • Federico Sasso: Yes Hyderali, if you have a .com/.net or a ccTLD treated as neutral, you can set geo-targeting also at sub-folder level.<br />While geo-targeting and hreflang are not the same, they have a strong correlation. Search results are geo-targeted driven by client IP address and local google site (e.g. ), and influenced by http accept-language attribute. It usually is very likely that a user has en-AU language set
  • Justin Y: Follow what the leaders do in the industry. Personally I&#39;d also go with subdirectory to build up the authority to root domain. Subdomain is like starting over, but I think the DA or some of it&#39;s carried over to the subd.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Wednesday, September 11, 2013).

Reference Links

All Questions in this Hangout