Subfolder: Web Meaning & SEO Importance




Updated 2/29/2024

Understand subfolders and how they relate to website structure. Learn the role of subfolders in a URL and why they’re important for SEO.

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The structure of your website determines its stability and functionality. Subfolders help organize content, which can create user experience (UX) and search engine optimization (SEO) benefits.

This article explores subfolders and how they relate to search engine visibility. It covers subfolders and SEO, best practices, relations to subdomains, and mistakes to avoid.

What is a Subfolder?

A subfolder, in relation to web development, is a folder on your website. It’s a directory that resides under the main website domain.

Parts of a URL

To better understand subfolders, let’s examine how they fit into URL structures. Here’s a breakdown of where they fit. In this example, the subfolder is “blog”:

Subfolders act as the primary organization tool for domains, making them highly important for structure and navigation purposes.

Subfolders and SEO

Subfolders affect SEO by organizing content to help search engines understand the site’s structure, making it easier to crawl and index content.

This hierarchical organization helps establish site authority by grouping related content under specific directories.

Properly used, subfolders can enhance keyword relevance, as search engines attribute the content of a subfolder to the broader topic or category, potentially improving the site’s rankings for those keywords.

Best Practices for Using Subfolders

Optimizing your website’s structure with subfolders can improve your SEO performance. Here are key strategies to get the most out of subfolders:

  • Embrace a logical hierarchy. Organize your content clearly and logically. Think of your website as a library where every book (web page) is easy to find because of a thoughtful categorization system.
  • Name for clarity and SEO. Choose names for your subfolders that are both descriptive and keyword-rich. This balance helps users and search engines understand the content they can expect to find.
  • Keep it shallow. Not often you hear that advice, eh? Well, a deep nest of subfolders can confuse visitors and search engines. Aim for a structure where important pages are no more than three clicks from the homepage.
  • Strategically use keywords. Incorporate relevant keywords into your subfolder names without overdoing it. This can enhance your visibility for those search terms.

Implementing these practices ensures your subfolders not only contribute to a well-organized site but also enhance your SEO efforts, making your content more discoverable and accessible.

Subfolders vs. Subdomains

Deciding between subfolders and subdomains can affect your site’s SEO and user experience. Let’s break it down:


Subfolders are part of the main website’s hierarchy, directly following the domain name in the URL structure. They’re ideal for organizing content that’s closely related to the main site’s theme or purpose.

  • SEO Impact: They inherit the main domain’s authority, helping content rank better.
  • User Experience: Ensures a cohesive browsing experience, keeping all related content under one domain.
  • Ease of Management: Simplifies site structure management and consolidates SEO efforts.


Subdomains function as separate entities from the main domain, allowing for distinct branding and targeting different audiences or purposes.

  • Flexibility: Perfect for content that needs a separate identity from the main site.
  • SEO Segmentation: Treated by search engines as a separate site, which can benefit targeted content marketing strategies.
  • Customization: Allows for extensive customization and targeting without impacting the main website’s SEO profile.

Choosing between subfolders and subdomains depends on your specific content strategy, SEO goals, and user experience design. However, the best general SEO recommendation is to use a subfolder for organization, not subdomains.

This is because it attracts more backlinks to your main domain, boosting your domain’s backlink profile, without diluting it across subdomains. Subdomains can also create a confusing experience and generally be harder to navigate.

Bottom Line

Optimizing your site’s structure with subfolders can enhance SEO and user experience. If you create a logical hierarchy, maintain consistent naming conventions, and avoid common pitfalls, you can create a more navigable website that performs well in search rankings. Balance simplicity with comprehensive organization, ensuring your website is accessible and understandable. 🌎

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