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    Subdomains vs paths for best site structure seo?


    Hi -- experienced web developer but inexperienced at seo. I have a site that consists of hundreds of single page profiles for individuals. Think of baseball cards, but for a different industry. These profiles are assembled dynamically on the fly and combine static and dynamic (live) content blended from local databases and external sites.

    I want to maximize the seo footprint of this site, which I'm sure involves several strategies. But first let me ask about this.

    Originally I designed the architecture so that each individual profile has the url personname.domain.com. There are no sub-pages. So the whole site consists of hundreds of subdomains, e.g. "person1.domain.com" "person2.domain.com" etc.

    For seo, is this a bad idea? Would I be better off with url's like: domain.com/personname? Or domain.com/subcategory1/subcategory2/personname? Or does this not matter?

    A related question has to do with each profile being dynamically constructed. Would there be a better strategy to provide more evergreen "meat" for seo?

    The design of each profile page itself should already be relatively seo-friendly -- proper use of content structure tags and all that. Its the site architecture/organization itself I am focusing on now.

    Thanks for all advice!
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    There is not much difference and it depends on specifics. Google has recently started treating sub domains more as the same site. In the past they were considered entirely separate. From that perspective, and a links weight perspective my advice has always been to use sub directories instead of sub domains, however recently this has become less important.

    If you have established and indexed URLs already I would not change them. You can probably link to them in a sensible categorized manner from the root domain to help spread the link weight from the root domain better. However this depends on the nature of the site and industry.

    Dynamic content - generally not a problem nowadays. Dynamic URLs, can still be an issue. I would advise using mod_rewrite (or equivalent) and making sure that URL canonicalization is addressed.

    Sounds like you may well have a good candidate for microdata format mark up.

    Regarding the following

    domain.com/personname? Or domain.com/subcategory1/subcategory2/personname? Or does this not matter?
    domain.com/personname is generally preferable and has been of higher value historically, however this is also not so important nowadays.
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    This question revolves around what your SEO objective is, is it to provide better visibility for each profile, or are you trying to rank for core keywords, and have associated profiles that also rank for variations etc. these two answers shall provide a better platform to give you a more definitive answer.

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