It has been proposed that we modify our website home page in a certain way, which has both marketing and SEO ramifications. I am concerned that this method runs afoul of general SEO guidelines. Here is our situation:
We have a site that sells a service nation-wide, but some of the users have natural "territorial" characteristics. We are intending on selling a license to resell our service separately in each territory. In the first conceptualization, we are using the 50 US states.
Accordingly we have the ability for the user to navigate to www.example.com/state, where "state" is a US State.
It is natural for our users to have a local orientation, and our sales manager believes this gives him a big advantage in being able to sell the service that is thus "localized." Whether this is true remains to be seen, but nevertheless it is a marketing concept completely apart from SEO considerations and could justify the project simply by the increase in our sales.
At present, when the user enters a designated valid state as part of the URL, there is a change in the body of the page to the title. Namely the "in the body" title becomes "State Oursite" rather than the generic "Oursite".
While we have also contemplated adding a lot more specific content relevant to the specific territory, at present the difference between the pages is extremely small being only a few characters difference (the name of the territory). The rest of the site is identical, so that it appears to be an identical sub-domain website, with only a few characters difference in the whole site.
My concern is that adding a lot of such territorial sub-domains (actually implemented via URL rewriting) could be considered spamming by the search engines.
In particular I am quite concerned because of the recent suggestion that rather than simply 50 states, we extend this concept to "every city and town" in the country, which takes it probably 3 orders of magnitude further -- for example, now there would be 50,000 virtual sub-domains.
Then down the road, each separate territory could be individualized on the home page, and perhaps even elsewhere in the site. But the bulk of the site visible to the spider would be identical.
Am I correct in viewing this as something that would be a major negative with regard to the search engines and to be avoided at all costs?
[edited by: tedster at 9:57 pm (utc) on Sep. 11, 2009]
[edit reason] switch to "example.com" [/edit]