I promise I've read all the rules, and here's what I (think) I know:
Google doesn't like duplicate content.
Each subdomain needs it's own sitemap.
Sitemaps can't cross subdomains.
Now here's the problem:
I have taken over running a directory of local voluntary groups. Each group has a microsite of information (and sometimes a podcast) in the form of:
group.example.com, for example:
And there's a very good reason why it's group.site rather than site/group, before anyone asks!
You get the idea. So, at the root of each "page", I'm gonna have a robots.txt and a sitemap.xml
BUT, this is where I get confused. According to the rules, a sitemap should only be for the part of the domain to which it applies.
In other words, www.mysite.com should not contain a sitemap with links to group.mysite.com, and group.mysite.com should not contain a map which points to group2.mysite.com OR www.mysite.com.
Sooo (and this is where my head starts to hurt), does that mean that I have to manually add a pointer to a single-entry sitemap for every subdomain, in Google Webmaster Tools? OR, is it valid to have a sitemap map on www.mysite.com which links to individual sitemaps on group1.mysite.com, group2.mysite.com etc?
That's where it all gets a bit cloudy!
Bearing in mind there are several hundred of these groups, I don't want to do anything that looks dodgy to google.
Secondly, I've read all of the guidance on multiple subdomains in Analytics. As WebmasterWorld doesn't allow links, you'll have to take my word for it, but here is the key part:
"You will not be able to distinguish which page is from which domain. To show the domain in the page reports, set a filter to include all components of the page URL, as follows:
In the Profile Settings page, click the Add Filter link.
Choose Add New Filter and provide the filter a name.
Choose Custom Filter and select Advanced on the Filter type settings.
Under Advanced settings:
FieldA should be set to Hostname
FieldB should be set to Request URI
Set the values for both Field A and Field B to (.*), which is an expression that captures all characters.
Set the Output To --> Constructor option to Request URI and provide $A1$B1 as the value for that choice.
Your reports will now show:
So I did all that, it's just not working, and questions in the Google help group and emails to Google go unanswered.
So, to summarize, what do I need to do to get these 400 or so sites listed properly in Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics?
Many thanks in advance!