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My feeling is that they would be better off with one large site with each section as a sub-folder - www.example.com/travel - but I'd be interested in any comments on whether there is a recommended SEO practice on this ?
[edited by: phranque at 9:28 am (utc) on May 20, 2008]
[edit reason] examplified url [/edit]
a) subdomain - cheaptravel.mysite.com, which seems logical as it gives each category its own identity, and we can incorporate the key phrase in the subdomain name
b) separate URL cheaptravel.co.uk, which has the advantage of having the key phrase in the domain name. However in order to promote the site we'd need to link heavily from the main portal site, and could run into problems with site wide links
c) a sub folder, which would have the advantage of contributing to one large high PR site, but wouldn't have it's own identity (not that I think that this matters from a marketing point of view), and wouldn't have the key phrase in the URL
This must be a question that is routinely dealt with by web masters - your advice appreciated...
...and wouldn't have the key phrase in the URL
One thing that would make me nervous about using this company's method is that it makes for an awful lot of cross-linking. Occasional links between specifically related pages might be okay, but wholesale linking among sites with the same owner can look a lot like link-spam.
Strange, when I googled site:http://www.mydomain.com/ last week it was showing 600 pages, but this week it is showing 37,400!
One of two things happening; there is a Google Bug in this instance or, Google is indexing multiple instances of your pages under different URIs. For example...
And/or, there are multiple entry points for each page, each entry point a different URI. You could easily take 600 single entry points and turn that into an indexing nightmare.
Are there advantages of having the URL as travel.domain.co.uk rather than domain.co.uk/travel?
Okay, I'm going to make things a little more confusing. I'd prefer the "Hostname" "over a sub-directory" in this instance. Why? Well, if you read the guidelines for the use of Hostnames, the OP has a prime environment for their use.
Whenever you have a site that covers a large topic breadth, I'd tend lean more towards Hostnames. As stated above...
Subdomains are seen like separate sites/domains by most Search Engines; therefore, you spread the "power" of your 600 pages and break it into several microsites.
Exactly. And, this is the reason why you should make the determination now for moving forward. You're a City Portal. Your page count is not going to be that of a Wiki but your website definitely qualifies for a Hostname environment. Six hundred pages is respectable. You may be able to populate under six Hostnames, 100 pages per host. Don't go overboard. I like single words and very succinct. If you have to ask yourself if it qualifies, then it probably doesn't. ;)
I've counselled several clients on this issue (mostly tourism industry) and the answer for a site with a mere 600 pages content is clear: From the SEO point of view, go for the subfolders.
I'd take that advice too which is where the confusion comes in. I don't mess with that industry, the travel industry that is, and I'm sure the whole Hostname scenario has been played out many times. But, you're in an extremely competitive space and you'll need to do "everything" in your power to get to where you want to be. Hostnames may be one of the factors that helps in getting you there.
Subdomains are seen like separate sites/domains by most Search Engines; therefore, you spread the "power" of your 600 pages and break it into several microsites. Sub-domains make sense for projects like wikipedia with ten thousands of pages under every single sub-domain; for "ordinary" websites, focussing on a single domain and using sub-folders concentrates your resources.
Six (06) Hostnames, 100 pages per host. Local City Portal. That's an interesting challenge. Comments from wolfadeus make me think twice about my advice.
[edited by: pageoneresults at 9:47 am (utc) on May 27, 2008]