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Does anyone know if creating all of these little sites and then linking them to my main site would work better, or just create all the sub-domain sites and optimize for them?
[edited by: Webwork at 11:14 am (utc) on April 17, 2008]
[edit reason] No domain name specifics, please, as stated in the Charter [/edit]
I'd focus more on building a unique quality resource that is linkworthy, and therefore "gets links". The days of gaming SEs via "multiple sites vs. sub-domains" are likely coming to an end - at least for the small time players. The issue you raise is likely more of a concern for dominant players with 1000s of indexed pages looking to pass their "link juice" to underperforming pages.
My $.02: Build 1 site that's worthy and that starts to rank for multiple terms and then examine current trends in ranking factors.
OBTW, your question is more about SEO than domain names. I'd move your post to a different WebmasterWorld forum, such as one of the Google forums, but I doubt moving it would result in materially different advice.
[edited by: Webwork at 11:23 am (utc) on April 17, 2008]
Try to get links to various pages by making those pages linkworthy. Don't just seek homepage links.
Lots of reading and trial an error, with a certain nimbleness if you want to play the SERPs game with its ever-changing formulas. ;)
There was a time when it worked a bit easier, and for a longer time, than it may/will today. Today, those who employ such tactics work very hard to obscure the common ownership link relationships.