Got Microsites? It’s Time to Clean House!
July 26, 2012 by Nick Stamoulis
I’ve never been a huge fan of microsites. While I can see their value for a global enterprise like Nike (they might want to promote different product lines or different countries on individual websites), for the average business they usually come across as spammy and cheap. Plus, when you launch a microsite you have to be prepared to do a full link building and content marketing campaign for that site, just like you do with the parent site. While keyword rich microsites used to rank incredibly well in the search engines, having a domain like realleatherofficechairs.com now (obviously you’re trying to sell leather office chairs) isn’t nearly as powerful as building a brand-able entity, something like nicksofficechairs.com.
Why are microsites bad for SEO and online marketing?
1. Brand delusion.
Why do I need nicksofficechairs.com, nickscomputerdesks.com, and nicksbookcases.com? Why not just have nicksofficefurniture.com as my parent site and run with it? When you have a ton of microsites, even though they may be designed to prop up the parent site, you’re actually diluting your brand. There’s no need to slice and dice your business like that just to try and cover more territory in the SERPs! You’re better off building a strong parent site and focusing on promoting the deeper pages, leveraging the SEO value of the main site to help those pages do well.
2. Extra work, minimal return.
Are you really prepared to do a full link building campaign, build a social presence and launch a blog for each microsite? If you want it to be successful in the long run that’s what you’re going to have to do! Most site owners I speak with barely have enough time to manage SEO for one site, let alone a dozen microsites. You can’t just throw up a microsite and expect it to do well without any work on your part!
3. Inaccurate information.
Maybe you launched a few microsites over the years and let them fall by the wayside—when was the last time you really visited those sites? Is any of the information still accurate? When I think about all the changes that have happened to the SEO industry in the last year alone, let alone the last five years, it blows my mind! If I had launched a microsite about article spinning five years ago it would be completely useless today! Not to mention, having inaccurate information on a microsite that ties back to your parent site can actually hurt the reputation and trust factor of your real company. Would you want to do business with a site that had out-of-date content?
4. Could get penalized by the search engines.
I’ve got a working theory that microsites were hit by Penguin because A-they tend to be rather spammy in nature with low-quality link portfolios and B-the keyword rich domain that most microsites capitalize on forces that site to overuse exact match anchor text for that keyword. Even if you didn’t want to, it’s kind of hard when your website is a keyword! If your microsites are heavily linked to each other and your company’s main site, it’s possible that a penalty on your microsites could have a residual effect on your other sites.
If you’ve built up a lot of microsites over the years in an attempt to rank for certain keywords and keyword phrases now is the time to clean house! Get rid of those mircosites and focus on your real brand.
About the Author
Nick Stamoulis is the President of social SEO solutions firm Brick Marketing (http://www.brickmarketing.com), based in Boston, Massachusetts. With nearly 13 years of SEO experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog, publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter and hosting SEO training workshops in cities around the country.
Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or email@example.com