I have a successful music school with a domain similar to www.musicschoolcourses.net which ranks highly in the UK and even around the world for targeted keywords. Sorry I don't want to use my real domain as I don't want my rivals stumbling across this and finding out what I want to do!
And that is to open up a school in Los Angeles but I can't make up my mind whether I should:-
a) use a subdomain so the US will be www.us.musicschoolcourses.net and leave the UK one as it is (www.musicschoolcourses.net)
b) change the URL for the US and make it www.'brand'musicschool.com and leave my UK one alone. I won't be redirecting the old URL so I'd be starting again in the US in terms of building authority.
c) redirect www.musicschoolcourses.net to www.uk.'brand'musicschool.com for the UK and www.us.'brand'musicschool.com for the US.
d) redirect the URL for the UK to www.'brand'musicschool.com and just have a subdomain for the US – www.us.'brand'musicschool.com
'a' is good because I hear/read that the US subdomain will benefit from some juice from the UK domain, but I don't like 'a' because I want to get some branding in the URL as it looks better, is only really suitable for smaller companies like I was two years ago, and I hear Google doesn't like it so much these days. So that's kind of ruled out.
'b' seems to be the easiest thing short term; get some hosting in the US and start again linking to and from the UK site. Negatives are, I'll be in for a bit of a wait until keywords start to rank, my UK site with not be branded and will Google penalise me for this in time? I have to do twice the work in terms of getting backlinks and I don't think this is common practice.
'c' seems like a good shout but I do worry that I am messing with my UK domain a little bit too much and fear it will affect my 'authority' negatively and they'd be a lot of messing with 301 redirects which I don't know much about to be honest. Will my pages still be found for keywords instantly if I redirected them all? If yes, will they if I redirected them all to a subdomain?!
Open 'd' seems the safest best long-term option as I will just be changing the domain and adding the sub just for the US. I can then still go ahead and do a fr. for france and es. for spain and keep my non subdomained URL for the UK with no risk to that of it not being treated as well if it was a subdomain.
The big questions is: Does Google treat a subdomain page the same as a non subdomain page?
I'd greatly appreciate the answer to this and any tips on what I should do. I also need help doing this so please do get in touch if you'd like a bit of work for me doing this or you know someone who would.