Recently a client contacted us to establish a multi-store website Worldwide using Opencart. He enquired that what will be the best practise for this multi-store either to create domains like www.google.com for US and www.google.co.uk for UK or implementing subdomains like Craigslist abilene.craigslist.org/, newyork.craigslist.org/ or to have subdirectory www.aalogics.com/blog where blog is the subdirectory of aalogics.com
It's a bit of a tricky query since there is no accurate answer.
AAlogics SEO Specialized team did a detailed R&D and analysis every aspect of domains, subdomain and subdirectory. They finally conclude the followings:
1. Subdirectory is best
a) Creating subdirectory of the store will be beneficial for SEO this is because if you have everything under one domain as subdirectories, every store can benefit from the domain's authority.
b) Search Engine will crawl new subdirectory typically within days of launch.
c) Backlinks can help other content on the domain to rank more highly.
a) Site will be optimized for one region.
2. Why Subdomains ?
a) If you like to create niche of product line because the niche websites perform better in search engines and convert more visitors.
For example, let's say you sell anything to do with kitchens like appliances, silverware, utensils, towels, cookware, etc.
If a user is looking for dish towels, and they see kitchen appliances at your site, they are not convinced and bounce back from the site.
But subdomain dishtowels.aalogics.com will rank higher.
b) Having multiple store with subdomains, you can have more opportunity to show up multiple times on google results page.
c) External linking can improve each website ranking.
Why not Subdomain ?
a) Requires a lot time as each page will be optimized differently.
b) Results will take time but will be accurate result as compare to subdirectory.
3. Domains - Only good for Geotargeting :
a) If the purpose of multi-store is to target different countries then different domains of each store will be beneficial.
b) Each domain of the multi-store will be treated as a different website for search engines.
a) For SEO result on this will require a long-term commitment to content creation and backlink development.
Our Recommendation :
We recommended to the client that;
1) As they are establishing Worldwide multi stores they should go for separate domains for all.
www.xyz.com For US
www.xyzco.uk For UK
2) Targeting specific products they can make subdomains of those products within these separate domains.
3) Blog page of each separate domain will be subdirectory of that domain.
www.xyz.com/blog For US
www.xyz.co.uk/blog For UK