is it better to have seperate country specific domains (which costs more money) or subdomains which define the country, for better SEO?
Assumption: int the search engine web master tools, each subdomain are associated to a country.
au.stackoverflow.com is associated to the country Australia.
I understand that both methods do work, especially when i utilize the assumption, listed above. The question is about: Which method is better? Is there such a small SEO difference between them? Is the first method way way way better than the second with getting better SEO results?
A number of folks have suggested that the following is a good/better approach:
By adding a country specific iso code to the end of the url/the first folder of the domain can be recognised as the country.
But a number of SEO mates have suggested that this is a valuable waste of folder level space. Er.. how can i explain. Ok, it's been suggested by some SEO experts that if the number of levels or folders in the domain exceeds 5 then the page drops dramatically in importance. Basically, you don't want to make it deep. As such, adding the country as the first level can be considered a waste, especially when it can be handled by the domain OR subdomain - hence the question :)
So, any more thoughts on this? (Maybe SO is the wrong place to ask this question?)