Having multiple websites, I imagine, is probably like having multiple wives. After all, how can a single website possibly suit all your needs and wants? I think I’m going to stop before this analogy gets horribly offensive and I get in trouble. Let’s just talk about whether or not building multiple websites is good from an online marketing perspective, mmmkay?
A lot of companies—especially those with multiple business lines—opt to have more than one website. These companies tend to have a main or primary domain complemented by one or more microsites.
What Is a Microsite?
A microsite (sometimes called a minisite) is a website used to supplement a company or organization’s primary domain. More often than not, the microsite will have a URL distinct of the primary domain and has its own unique design and navigation.
In the past, microsites were particularly useful for people looking to rank for a particular keyword. If you wanted to rank for “HVAC SEO services,” it could be helpful to take out hvacseoservices.com as a microsite. This is referred to as an “exact-match” domain because the domain name matches the search query verbatim.
However, in September 2012, Google released an algorithm update aimed at reducing low-quality exact-match domains from showing up so high in search engine results. Because of this update, EMDs are no longer nearly as effective as they used to be.
The Benefit of Microsites
But the EMD update doesn’t necessarily mean microsites are no longer helpful for your online marketing purposes. There are several other reasons your company can benefit from building a microsite or two. One of them I’ve touched on already—companies with multiple lines of business or products.
Target Different Buyer Personas
If you’re interested in branding and promoting a certain product or service differently, a microsite could be a good solution. You can almost think of it like a television network. The network has a website, but individual shows on the network might have their own microsites for more specialized branding and promotion. According to Content Marketing Institute,
“…the main difference between a microsite and just content on your website is that the microsite actually has its own brand. Think of it like a magazine. For example, our magazine is produced by CMI, but the magazine title is Chief Content Officer.”
This is especially useful if you’re targeting a different buyer persona with one of your products or services. You can design everything about the microsite—from the URL to the site design to the style of the content—to appeal to that specific buyer persona.
Appear More Relevant and Authoritative
Even if you don’t want to necessarily target a different buyer persona, a microsite could still help you appear more relevant and authoritative to search engines as well as potential customers. For example, one of my clients at Blue Corona offers a variety of home services, but wanted to focus on its garage door services; so The company created a garage door microsite.
An entire domain dedicated to just garage door products and services—as opposed to a domain with only a few pages dedicated to garage door products and services—can, in time, appear more relevant and authoritative to both search engines and potential customers.
Get Multiple Listings in Organic Search Results
Microsites can also be helpful in allowing your company to rank multiple times on the first page of search results. In order to promote search result diversity, Google recently updated its algorithm to reduce “domain crowding”—when a single domain has more than one organic listing for a single search query.
By owning a separate domain—a microsite—you can maximize your online real estate by showing up more than once in the organic search results. And if you show up in the paid search results and the local search results as well? Even better! You’re reducing the likelihood that your potential customer clicks on your competitors’ links and increasing the likelihood that they will turn from a visit into a lead and, ultimately, a sale.
A Quick Warning About Microsites
Sounds great, right? Targeting multiple buyer personas and showing up more than once in the search results? Well hold your horse mask.
Getting a brand new website to rank is not an easy task and requires both time and resources. In order to rank, a microsite requires search engine-friendly web design and plenty of content. And of course, because we’re Blue Corona, we’re going to recommend website analytics and tracking as well. If you’re a small, resource-strapped company, a microsite might not be your best option for marketing your company online.
If you’re curious if your business could benefit from a microsite, we invite you to fill out a free Blue Corona website analysis:
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Or if you’re ready to get started, contact us today. We have all the skills and resources needed—from website design to content creation—to get your microsite off the ground and into the search engine results.
About The Author: Lexie serves as Blue Corona's Content Marketing Manager. She's also the author of our soon-to-be famous, and someday to be written white paper, "Horse Hat SEO: Giddy-Up Your Google Rankings."
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“We are very pleased not only with the end result, but with the entire process of working with Blue Corona. The amount of patience, guidance, and knowledge that they displayed throughout the whole process made them a very easy and enjoyable partner to work with. We are thrilled with our new website, mobile site, and content management system. We would recommend Blue Corona for any website development or redesign project. ”