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Best practice for hosting multiple sites in same industry

subdomains vs separate domains?

12:55 pm on Jul 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've been tasked with creating several sites and I'm just looking for some best-practice on how to set them up.

A bit of background - we have an industry-specific magazine-style news site we also organise a number of conferences/exhibitions in the same industry but in different regions.

We'd like to maintain separate sites for each to avoid confusing the user (the news site will also give details of events/exhibitions/conferences external to us).

If the magazine site is branded as "Example" and hosted at example.com, would it make sense to host the genre-related, but completely different conference/exhibition sites at subdomains, for example eu.example.com (branded as Example Europe), us.example.com (Example USA) and me.example.com (Example Middle East)?

What effect would this have on our ranking in search engines? When searching for our brand name, "Example", would our sites show multiple times in the SERPs?

3:44 pm on July 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

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When the user is searching for your brand the search engines would take into consideration where they are located. They are getting good at (but not perfect) at geo location therefore your Middle East sub domain would be more likely to show in the SERPs for Middle Eastern users than any other users.

Have you considered what you are going to do about the user's spoken language?
11:11 pm on July 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

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IMO sub domains would be fine, just make sure the A record reflects that. Don't cross-link files/pages to avoid SE penalties. Use independent sitemap.xml & robots.txt. Make each as autonomous as possible.

I would also consider using geo meta tags so the search engines will list these pages in the respective local results.
5:10 pm on July 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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IMHO one brand, one domain, no subdomains. Anything else will hurt you you'd basically be doing divide and conquer against yourself.

But do make sure to properly tag your regional pages with appropriate geotags. For example events can be tagged with schema.org Event tags [schema.org] that include a location property with the event's full address, etc. Additionally, every page on your site can contain WebPage taggings [schema.org] that include an Audience property/object [schema.org] that includes geographicArea property that is a full-fledged AdministrativeArea object [schema.org] where you specify exactly who you're targeting.
1:55 pm on July 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies - I'll you're advice onboard.

Our market is English-speaking (they're mostly European companies with Middle-Eastern / US offices) so local language sites aren't required (at the moment).

Just to clarify, the main site "example.com" would act as an news/information portal for this particular niche (with no commercial offering) and will be targeted at a global audience while the subdomains will be "events" websites for conferences we organise in this niche for that region (where people can buy delegate places, etc).

So, for instance, we'd like someone in the Middle East to visit the information portal to get their niche news, but also visit the middle-east.example.com subdomain to buy tickets to their local event.

I'm torn between creating one, big site which risks losing/confusing the user in too much information (but may be better for SEO) and creating a number of (semi-)separate sites which maintain a brand identity, only deliver a specific function (news OR purchasing tickets), but end up competing against each other for search engine ranking.