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The company I work for is expanding their business to new territories. I've got a lot of stabilization to do in the region/state where we're one of the most well known companies of our kind. Currently, we have 3 distinct product lines which are currently distinguished by 3 separate URLS. This is affecting the user flow of our site, so we'd like to clean it up before launching our products into the various regions.

The business has decided to grow into 5 new states (one state consisting of one county only) — none of which will feature all 3 products. Our homebase state is the only one that will have all 3 products this year.

My initial thought was to use subdomains to separate out the regions, that way we could use a canonical tag to stabilize the root domain (which would feature home state content, and support content for all regions), and remove us from potential duplicate content penalization. Our product content will be nearly identical across the regions for the first year.

I second guessed myself by thinking that it was perhaps better to use a [product].root/region URL instead. And I'm currently stuck by wondering if it was not better to build out subdomains for products and regions, using one modifier or the other as a funnel/branding page into the other. For instance, user lands on region.root.com and sees exactly what products we offer in that region. Basically, a tailored landing page. Meanwhile the bulk of the product content would actually live under product.root.com/region/page.

My head is spinning. And while searching for similar questions I also bumped into reference of another tag meant to be used in some similar cases to mine. I feel like there's a lot of risks involved in this subdomain strategy, but I also can't help but see the benefits in the user flow.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 10 '13 at 21:11

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2 Answers 2

Here are some resources for further reading:

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/subdomains-and-subdirectories/

Perhaps this is what you meant by "another tag" -- https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/189077?hl=en

Can you clarify this other tag?

[edit, cannot post more than two URLs yet]

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That is the tag (sorry, blanked). Re: the link...my fear stemmed from the post-panda problems people were having ranking in multiple regions. Subdomains seemingly gained the ability to pass, intermittent, large bursts of juice/inflation. Perhaps I'm overcomplicating, but the prospect of building whole sites of content underneath a region directory is daunting. –  Taylord22 Jul 10 '13 at 17:22

Structure your URLs in a way that makes sense for users. Duplication of content for the purposes of geographic targeting is generally OK with Google.

You would need to think about how your would direct users to the version of content that is appropriate for them. (how do they know to select the correct subdomain?)

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