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I managed to find a nice domain for a fairly fledgling site of mine that actually hasn't been parked by scumbag squatters. Given the upcoming move I'm thinking I'd take the opportunity to split the content across subdomains according to language, much like wikipedia for example:

current:
www.old-domain.com/en/subject  # English   
www.old-domain.com/subjecto    # Spanish (default so not locale in url)

proposed
en.new-domain.com/subject
es.new-domain.com/subjecto

The advantage of doing this is a fairly competitive keyword such that I may wish to put a copy of my application on a Spanish slice in order to gain a few serp's. Also pure vanity.

Google's webmaster tools allows me to move to the new domain and I can add the root domain and the subdomains but forward to only one. I'll 301 from the old domain appropriately but is there anything I should know about webmaster tools in this respect where effectively I'm moving to two addresses?

(Feel free to dissuade me from doing this if it's a bad idea in comments.)


I've now asked this same question on google's forums.

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I wouldn't say it's a bad idea, but it's not necessary to go from subdirectories to subdomains. webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/14665/…. The advantage of just changing the domain is that you can use webmaster tools to say where the site has gone. –  paulmorriss Jun 21 '11 at 9:20
    
Hi Paul. I'm definitely wavering over this. Do you think it's not possible to not tell google I've gone to the domain, then redirect from it to the subdomains according to the locale param? –  mark Jun 21 '11 at 9:35
    
Google would follow the redirects, but as the structure has changed I think it would treat it as more than just a domain change. –  paulmorriss Jun 21 '11 at 10:09
    
Yeah this is what I'm thinking, that I'm moving twice so to speak. Having said that, even if I were on the new domain and wanted to move to the new locale structured subdomains I'd find the same problem. –  mark Jun 21 '11 at 10:31
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If you get an answer there then can you post a link here. You are allowed to answer your own questions. –  paulmorriss Jun 21 '11 at 14:45
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1 Answer

I received great advice from a member of google's forums. The jist of which is that a transfer request is not possible using webmaster tools however 301 redirects will achieve the same effect in any case. Additionally, the general consensus from this answer and the rest of the net is that subfolders are more intuitive.

The full reply can be read here.

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