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  • #6822
    Layla BauderLayla Bauder
    Moderator

    Hello Smartie Pants Peeps!

    I have a client that is establishing a new brand and has a domain name registered for the main brand site. They have a need for an umbrella brand site and local sites for each respective business location in their market cities. In your most strategic SEO opinion which is a better method of url architecture for the best indexing and SEO benefit?

    newbrandsite.com/Location

    location.newbrandsite.com

    Or are there additional ways to engineer it that are smarter, better, kick ass and take names?

    Thank you muy mucho!

    Layla

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by Layla BauderLayla Bauder.
    #6823
    Dana DiTomaso
    Participant

    Definitely go with newbrandsite.com/Location, not the subdomain. There’s a recent WBF on this topic:
    http://moz.com/blog/subdomains-vs-subfolders-rel-canonical-vs-301-how-to-structure-links-optimally-for-seo-whiteboard-friday

    I agree with Rand that Google says that they’ve gotten much better at detecting subdomains, but not as good as it needs to be.

    #6859
    Andrew ShotlandAndrew Shotland
    Moderator

    I’ll play devil’s advocate on this one. I worked on a site that had 50 geo subdomains, so iowa.site.com, ohio.site.com, etc. They were convinced the subdomain thing was killing their SEO so they 301 redirected each subdomain to site.com/{geo}. For three weeks their organic traffic cranked up. Week four, it dropped right back to where it was.

    A few years ago I worked on a tech news site you have probably heard of. They had all of the subsections of the site on subdomains so games.site.com, apple.site.com, etc. They changed everything to subfolders. Zero change in SEO.

    Several years ago I did SEO for Friendster. We 301’d 40MM user profiles to a subdomain. No change in SEO. They were probably a special case because they had such a strong domain.

    I don’t doubt that Rand has seen subfolders perform better over time. Maybe they are better. I haven’t tested this on five hundred sites so I will never claim it is 100% how this stuff works. All I can tell you is that in every case I have seen it has made little to no difference.

    In my opinion you go with subfolders for the following reasons:
    1. It’s not technically expensive (it usually is v. subdomains)
    2. You don’t want to deal with multiple Google Webmaster Tools profiles for one site (so annoying!)
    3. You won’t be able to sleep at night because you think subdomains might be hurting your SEO (the #1 reason)

    #6925
    Adam DorfmanAdam Dorfman
    Participant

    I’m with Andrew on this one even if my data is also anecdotal. I’ve tested subdomains vs subdirectories with millions of pages on enterprise sites like Orbitz and Homefinder as well as with the Velocity platform for 10,000+ location businesses and sometimes I would see a slight lift after all the 301s were indexed, but organic traffic always ended up dropping back to where it was.

    All things being equal, if you can put the pages in a subdirectory and have the expertise to do this yourself, go for it. I have always seen an increase in cost and a decrease in functionality and execution for businesses going that way on 200+ location implementations which lead to poorer overall ROIs regardless of any perceived algorithm preference from Google.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by Adam DorfmanAdam Dorfman. Reason: words
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