As a marketer working in a recruitment agency, often the responsibility of optimising your agency’s website falls to you. One important SEO consideration to make is whether you should structure your website with subdomains or off your www. domain as a subdirectory. To help you make the right decision, here’s how to pick between subdomains and subdirectories.
A Quick Overview
Before we dive in to the technical aspects of what URL structure is best for your job pages, let’s quickly contextualise the conversation. A subdomain looks like this in your URL: jobs.yourcompany.com. A subdirectory is a category, a bit like a folder on your primary site: www.yourcompany.com/jobs.
Why Use a Subdomain?
A subdomain allows you to take a separate function of your website like your job section and promote this on a separate URL. For example, jobs.companyname.com. So, essentially it can be used as a standalone URL to be promoted and optimised. Now I often hear lots of chat about how a subdomain is not recognised by Google, however as far back as 2011, Google recognised a subdomain as an internal owned link to your main domain. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about losing traction online by splitting your website in this way. In many ways if you're looking to use a specific jobs application, a subdomain allows you to do just this without having to move your whole website.
Why Use a Subdirectory?
A subdirectory is essentially like a folder off your main domain (www). It’s an extension of your primary domain and if your main business is promoting jobs, it's often easer to create specific candidate journeys and dynamically link relevant job content on different pages with a click of a button. It also has cost advantages in that you only have to pay one price for your domain, web hosting, and SSL security certificate.
Which One Should I Pick?
In theory, having all your recruitment content and jobs contained under the one URL using a subdirectory will provide you a better level of site authority. It provides an easy way for Google to rank all your content from the one URL and you only have one system to update.
However, if you want to get the benefits of an online job board function to your website but don’t fancy moving your complete website, a company owned subdomain allows you to achieve this. Your company gains the benefits of recruitment software functionality and your candidates will never know that they are on a subdomain rather than a subdirectory. Google will attribute the SEO juice to your main URL as an internal link and you can fully track and monitor the effectiveness of your candidate journey.
Here's a good video from Matt Cutts, Head of Google's Webspam Team, explaining the pros and cons:
What’s the Best Option for a Recruitment Website?
There are good reasons to use either a subdomain or subdirectory structure and it's different per company, which is why we have always offered Firefish Software customers both options. I always feel that the best way to make your choice is by considering your internal split of tasks between marketing and recruitment activities and determining which website structure will put your recruiters in the driving seat to reach, attract and engage candidates faster.