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Geotargeting subdomains and subdirectories

Alex Christie

4 December 2008

The interview between Mike McDonald and Matt Cutts from Pubcon Las Vegas is a wall to wall info-fest on changes in Google. Out of the hundreds of interesting things Mr. Cutts said was an update on how Google deals with subdomains and directories.

Now I completely understand if this causes most of you to click away but I thought I'd summarise the main points for those among us who are mildly interested. I'll be brief!
Up until the end of last year Google pretty much treated subdomains as a separate website so on niche searches you could bag a bunch of rankings using various combinations of keyword.yourdomain.com.

But like all spammy practices it has been laid to rest by the folks at Google who say the most relevant page will rank whether it is from a subdomain or not.
If you have to deal with foreign language sites then the options for geotargetting in order of efficacy are:

1. Get the country domain extension yoursite.co.uk, yoursite.it, yoursite.de and so on.

2. Geotarget to a subdomain or subdirectory and Google will treat uk.yoursite.com and yoursite.com/uk equally.

This makes it much easier for webmasters and SEO consultants who have to work with sites that are in multiple languages with target audiences in different nations.

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