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First of all - I'm absolutely new to SEO.

We've lots of customers who mostly use few-pages-static-vcard websites. Lots of them have SEO problems. I'm going to suggest our customers to move their websites to our domain giving us permission to fix their SEO issues. Customers are small hotels in different countries.

My question is:
What is the best way to mirror SeaView hotel website URL from SEO point of view. Either:

  • http://www.example.com/egypt/seaview-hotel/

Or

  • http://seaview.hotels.egypt.example.com

I'd prefer the 2nd one, but isn't the domain name too long for Google/Yahoo/Bing bot to index?

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    Why does you fixing/changing their website involve changing the domain name? Given the topic (seo) I wouldn't recommend someone with no real idea try to fix it. – AD7six May 24 '15 at 8:32
  • Answering your question. Our customers are mostly non-computer users. Their domains and websites were setup once and changing domain name to point to our server would take some time. I wouldn't lose SEO capabilities during the time of domain name migration. – archer May 24 '15 at 8:54
  • Neither of these is a good idea, and will only make matters worse. Not only will you lose whatever ranking the sites already have, you will associate those sites with your domain, which will probably be perceived as fraudulent (unless you are also buying these hotels!)... – Michael Hampton May 24 '15 at 14:48
  • There is a limit to the size of the URL/URI, but it is extremely long. Search engines can understand URLs up to that limit minus just a few. – closetnoc May 24 '15 at 14:49
  • These original vcard sites would have to have little or no value first. Otherwise a 301 redirect would be required to preserve some if not all value. You may not be able to do this since you do not have control over the original site. As well, I would hesitate doing anything without really knowing what you are doing. SEO is fairly simple in principle, but extremely complex in that there are a ton of moving parts that all have to be done well or it fails. It is not a simple list of do this and do that steps and all will be fine. It requires insight and experience. Get your feet wet first. – closetnoc May 24 '15 at 14:55
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In terms of SEO, this:

http://www.example.com/egypt/seaview-hotel/

is better, and even well accepted by Google because as part of Google's Webmaster Guidelines, they appreciate a hierarchal type of URL layout which is what this URL has. Additionally, management of each section of the site is far easier to the point where you can assign a customer (hotel owner I assume) a folder just for the hotel.

For example, if you have one owner that can manage SeaView Hotel, and another owner that can manage Cat Hotel, and both are located in Egypt, then your folder structure on your website can be as follows:

In document root, make a folder called "egypt". then in the "egypt" folder, create two folders. One named "seaview hotel" and one named "cat hotel". Next assign FTP access to each hotel folder with different usernames and passwords so each customer can manage his/her hotel online.

As for creating a true mirror Google will accept, copy all website files from the customers website (including the index file) to the applicable hotel folders then modify any configuration files like .htaccess file to make the hotel site fully functional. Then on either domain make use of the rel=canonical tag and have it point to the preferred domain.

For example, if the customers domain is http://example.com and you want a mirror at http://www.example.com/egypt/cat-hotel then in the cat-hotel folder, add to every file that produces HTML output the following:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com">

That way, you'll get the same content at both locations while making Google understand its the same content without it flagging you down and issuing a "duplicate content" penalty. It will only index pages from one of the two sites.

See this for more info:

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"I'm going to suggest our customers to move their websites to our domain giving us permission to fix their SEO issues."

To fix SEO related issues, why you need to move their website to your domain? I think it would be better to ask access credentials to fix the issues of client's websites.(If you are going to temporary redirection)

"What is the best way to mirror SeaView hotel website URL from SEO point of view."

1st option is sub-directory and 2nd option is sub-domain. Choosing sub-directory or sub-domain is depends on types your your website. If it is similar to the website you are going to move, then choosing sub-directory would be better. But if it is totally different from your business, you should choose sub-domain.

Note: Google doesn't consider sub-domain as a part of main domain and doesn't distribute link juice across the site.

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