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We've identified two options:
Can anyone offer any advice with regards to how well each of these will be spidered and indexed. Do you recommend one over the other, or is there pros/cons to each option?
Any help or advice would be gratefully received.
1. Subdomain: something.example.com
2. Variant New Domain: www.somethingexample.com
3. Subdirectory: www.example.com/something
From the perspective of search engine optimization, numbers 2 or 3 might work best in the long run. Number 2, only because the link text if others link over to it will be more likely to reflect the "something" keyword, which helps build relevancy for that term. But, #2 can take quite a while to gain traction as the "sandbox effect" can make it take a while to establish a new domain and get it ranking.
Number 3 can be preferable for fastest SEO traction, since you'd be founding the new section pages on an existing, already-established domain name.
Trinorthlighting is right, though -- if you're just delivering up the same identical content as on your B2C site, the B2B site is going to just result in duplication, which can wanter down your PageRank per page. Doing that could reduce your rankings on various keyword SERPs, which could reduce your traffic. So, be sure to offer up substantially different content on that new section, or else set up the new section under robots.txt to not be spidered.
I’d like to here someone’s Pro’s for a new domain
A new domain typically has the advantage of drawing in better link text from external sites. Let's say the desired keyword is "widgets".
I think that external sites are more likely to link into the site with anchor text like "Example Widgets" for www.examplewidgets.com than they would for example.widgets.com. In the latter subdomain case, I think most folx would just be more inclined to link to what's perceived to be the top level domain name, www.example.com.
I think that a new standalone domain name is more likely to gain overall thematic relevancy for the specific term than a subdomain, though this is admittedly difficult to prove. My assumption is based on the idea that search engines will try to semantically categorize sites based in part on their content. www.example.com might be a site about programming code in general. Addition to it of a "widgets"-specific subdomain might only provide a weak thematic relevancy for "widgets". A new domain like "www.examplewidgets.com" could shout a more strong signal for "widgets", since it's not watered-down by all the other content.
I understand the duplicate content issue you rightly mention. Currently the content is sat in a directory off the main site, which we intend to 301 to whichever solution we decide to go for, so duplication shouln't occur.
I do like the fact that with a subdomain we won't experience the so-called Sandbox effect.
If anyone else has any experience of moving a folder to a new domain or subdomain, I'd be very grateful if you would share your experiences.