Microsites: Good or Bad for SEO?

Written by Nick Stamoulis

When putting together your SEO campaign, you may be wondering if it is a good idea to set up a few microsites in addition to your main website. Before you work them into your strategy, understand that there are pros and cons to using microsites as part of your marketing strategy.

Think twice before using microsites as part of your SEO strategy. Here is some more information as to whether or not you should use them to market your business online.

What Microsites Are

Magnifying glass revealing the word SEOMicrosites are basically small websites that stick to a very focused theme. In business, they are often treated as a separate entity from the main website, but they do relate to the larger website in some way. Their purpose is extremely specific, whereas the business’s main site will be broader in scope and will serve more than one function. For example, businesses often set up microsites to help build their subscriber list. All the content on that microsite is geared towards encouraging the customer to sign up.

Why Launch Microsites

Whether or not your business should launch a microsite will really depend on its purpose. There are a few cases in which a microsite is a good idea, such as when a site is created to support a brand that is an extension of a parent company or when a company is running a special event or promotion.

Here are a few reasons why launching a microsite can be a good idea:

  • Help raise brand awareness.
  • Build a subscriber list.
  • Promote any offshoot brands.
  • Raise awareness for an event or promotion.
  • To help launch a new product or service.

Basically, if there is enough content available to make the microsite valuable, launching a separate microsite can be a good idea. However, if there isn’t enough content, this can hurt your goals rather than help them.

Microsites and SEO

Good and Bad LinksBecause microsites can target a more specific audience and rank for long tail keywords, some website owners think that they are great for SEO. Create a microsite, get some traffic, link back to the main site, and increase your conversions- right? Well, not quite. A microsite should be created if, and only if, the microsite actually serves a unique purpose that relates to the business’s overall branding.

Sites created for the sole purpose of providing the main website with backlinks, or to boost certain keywords, is actually a black hat SEO tactic that Google has determined looks spammy. Not only that, but Google considers sites like this to be extremely low quality. Google penalizes sites that they deem to be low quality. To avoid a penalty, it’s best to avoid setting up microsites unless it’s for branding purposes.

Don’t Create a Microsite for SEO

There are many reasons to NOT create a microsite for SEO. First, it’s harder to actually build up multiple sites. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to create and optimize the content for such a small site. The steps that you took to set up your main site still apply here, and they can take just as long. Sure, the microsite may have fewer pages, but it still takes a long time to get the site to the point where it looks nice enough for visitors. Can you imagine going through the same long process for more than one site?

BrandHaving a lot of microsites also mean that your business’s content is spread out. The search engines rank sites well that have lots of good, quality content. If your content is spread out across five different sites, they are all less valuable than if it had been located on one site. Your content is better off gaining momentum on your main site

While microsites can serve legitimate purposes, it’s not recommended to use them solely for SEO. For SEO, focus on getting your main site ranking by doing a better job at producing quality, well optimized content and building relevant links. It’s much better to ensure that you have one good site rather than a bunch of only OK sites.

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