Rel=canonical and subdomain vs directory


I’ve read All You Need To Know About SEO and the links in there, but have not very clear the following scenario what would be good or bad practice for SEO portal deals in engineering with a range of departments naval, civil (building), bio-medical

Now the potential visitors/searchers are different for those, hence the subs are going to be

Is my understanding correct that those are seen as different independent sites?

And to further specific for let’s say the civil department here is the rel=canonical use I’ve come across.

In pages with similar content optimized with city names, but basically same content a rel=canonical for each single page:
rel=canonical href=“
rel=canonical href=“
rel=canonical href=“
… and so on for as many pages/cities targetted

Would you keep all the info in with subdirectories ( or add the subdomains etc.?

Given the domain has the word engineering in it (xyzengineering) again would be better to concentrate all info there, i.e. subdirectoires or split in subdomains?

Thank you

As far as I know, yes.

That would be my inclination. It’s easier to manage everything that way, so I’d say go that route unless you have a specific reason to want to keep these different topics completely separate.

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