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5 Reasons Why Microsites Make Sense

Ken Gaebler

Ken Gaebler

In the digital world, effective SEO separates the best brands from the rest of the pack. A top-notch company website is the first step toward improving your brand’s rankings in the search engines, but it’s not enough. To move up on the Google results page, you’ll need to consider executing microsite SEO strategies.

Microsites are additional sites that promote your products or services. They contain different content than your primary site and create their own value by providing more detailed information about various topics related to your products. With the right microsite strategy and approach, it’s possible to get the top rankings you deserve and block the competition from achieving the top search results.

Brands are sometimes hesitant to invest the time and resources it takes to create microsites, especially if they have recently performed an overhaul of their primary site.

But based on my experience, there are several reasons why microsites make sense for many companies:

  • #1 Main Site Ailments. In some cases, the company’s main site is ineffective at SEO and conversion. The site’s SEO defects are acknowledged by everybody in the organization, yet company bureaucracy or internal processes prevent SEO fixes from being made and restrict the uploading of fresh SEO content to the site. A microsite project can free you from those constraints and deliver better results over a shorter time period.
  • #2 Experimentation. A main site often has a look, voice, selling approach or other distinctive features that appeal to a specific demographic. Microsites enable your brand to safely experiment with content that targets other important audiences. For example, with microsites you can dabble with a different selling approach or a different voice, trying variations that are geared toward a new audience without changing anything on your main site.
  • #3 Depth of Content. When a company has a broad range of offerings or it markets to a diverse set of market segments, it’s difficult for the business website to go very deep on any given topic. Microsites remove this limitation and allow you to go as deep as you want on granular aspects of your industry, products, services and related topics. The resulting depth of content within your microsites feeds the search engines and gives your brand the ability to engage targeted audiences with highly relevant content.
  • #4 Domain and Content Focus. A large, corporate site can’t be seen as an authority site in every line of business. Although your company might actually be more authoritative and capable in each line, a handful of niche companies can outrank you in certain categories because their sites are more focused than your main site. By choosing relevant domain names and developing microsites for each of your business lines, Google will recognize your deep authority in each product line and you can make it harder for niche companies to gain the upper hand in search.
  • #5 Location-Specific Strategies. Google has a clear preference for serving up personalized/local search results. By creating local microsites for each of your field offices, you can outrank other local companies and expand your geographic search impact. Consider, for example, a company that sells IT consulting services that has a microsite dedicated to its Sydney office. Prospects in Sydney who search for a generic phrase like “IT consultant” are much more likely to find the firm’s Sydney microsite on their search engine results page than they are to find the corporate site. Indeed, without a Sydney microsite, the corporate site might be a no-show for this same search.

The best-case scenario is that a microsite strategy will enable your main site and your microsites to dominate the top five search results for targeted phrases and keywords. If microsites can help you appear in two or three of the top five spots, that’s a lot better than only owning one spot and allowing competitors to occupy the other four.

There’s a caveat to the microsite strategy outlined above. In the eyes of Google and its algorithms, your microsite must legitimately add value to those who will visit it, and the microsites cannot constitute gaming of the search engines. To that end, a misguided microsite strategy might involve buying keyphrase-laden domains and building out shallow websites with mediocre content; that’s a microsite strategy that is destined to fail.

As is always the case with SEO strategies and website projects, the content has to be good. With that prerequisite in place and with solid execution on building out the microsites, you’ll find that microsites can be a great way to bring in new leads that might otherwise go to the competition.