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My client is forced to extract a substantial part of his websites content and place it in a separate context, that is not part of the original structure.

The current structure

domain.com/brand/

The original domain has got a long-standing history, with a relatively good page-rank and many sites linking to it and it's contents.

The options are these:

  • place the site part in question to a subdomain of the origial one?

    brand.domain.com/

-OR-

  • Create a new domain?

    branddomain.com/

The contract didn't specify this in detail, and we'll lose some of the value of the original site, and we're looking into this because we want to minimize our losses. So, which one should be considered as 'best practice'?

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There isn't necessarily a "best" practice for placement(I'd say that's more liking making sure to set up proper redirects) for this at least as far as the information you've provided, it's more just a question of your needs. So this is going to be heavily influenced by why it's being done. For example, why are you using the word "forced" here? That's a charged term, and a sub-domain isn't really a separate domain, so may not even fulfill whatever the reasons are. –  Su' Jan 10 '13 at 12:14
    
Thank you. I've added a few more details, and re-phrased the question. I hope this helps. And sorry for vague question... I'm not really allowed to communicate specifics. –  Aznim Jan 10 '13 at 12:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Provided "brand" is a more important word in a SEO context than "branddomain" (i.e. you want to rank high on "brand", not "branddomain") then subdomain is to be preferred. Google care about keywords in domain names. If "brand" is not an important word, then it is a toss up.

However, much more important than subdomain vs. new-domain is to not lose the present Google karma when restructuring. First, use 301 redirects from each of the previous pages to the new ones (if possible, keep this active for at least 180 days). Use the "Change of Address" tool in GWP to tell Google about the relocation. And of course submit a sitemap of the new location ASAP.

Also take a look at these pages:

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Thank you for the confirmation, this was exactly what I've advised to my client! –  Aznim Jan 11 '13 at 8:06

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