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Changing structure to geotarget a website for SEO

Posted on 2011-09-12
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
Google only allow geotargetting of folders and subdomains. I have a site that covers different countries and cities and it is split by php page e.g uk-content.php, new-york-content.php etc.

I have noticed a significant  dip in SERPS recently. Would it be advisable to redirect the pages to either folders or subdomains. If so would I lose the significant page rank and SERPS.
as I will not be able to access all the inbound links.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Question by:mmguide
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LVL 111

Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 36522105
Not really sure whether this idea will help, but I'll throw it out there.

php.net uses directories to provide different content to different languages.  Maybe that design pattern would work for you, too.  Example...
http://php.net/manual/fr/function.var-dump.php
http://php.net/manual/de/function.var-dump.php
http://php.net/manual/en/function.var-dump.php
http://php.net/manual/kr/function.var-dump.php
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Author Comment

by:mmguide
ID: 36522209
Hi,
Yes I understand the possibilities, I'm more concerned about the consequences of moving pages and the best option to go for.
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 36522349
I think I would add pages, not move them.  Once the new ones are linked, you can use header() commands to redirect.  IIRC you want a header(301).
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Accepted Solution

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freshcontent earned 2000 total points
ID: 36525307
mmguide - A couple of things:

1. I would suggest that if you change your URL, you will lose search engine referrals for a time, even if you do a 301 redirect to the new page(s) that you are hosting the content on.
2. If you are already losing search engine referral traffic, perhaps you need to re-organize your content.

Are you aware of the Google Panda update?  If not, I've written several articles here on Experts Exchange about Google's Panda update, which could be why you are losing referrals.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Internet_Marketing/A_7190-The-Google-Panda-Algorithm-Update.html 

Wanted to be sure that you are aware that you can point Google at different subdomains or subfolders for different international versions.

Here is a Google webmaster tools video from Matt Cutts on some best practices around having separate top level domains per country, if you decide to go that route.
http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebmasterHelp#p/u/22/Ets7nHOV1Yo 

With all of that information, moving your content and putting 301 redirects on it will cause you to lose traffic.  I've been involved in website redesigns where 301 redirects were put in to point to new URLs, and for 3 months search engine referrals were down 30-ish percent.  After that, the referrals came back to the pre-301redirect level, and eventually grew beyond that, but you will have to be prepared to take a short-to-medium term hit in the number of search engine referrals.

This is a lot of information; let me know if I can provide more specific information for your question after you read this.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mmguide
ID: 36715053
Thanks for the advice. I will take this into consideration.
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