Microsite Strategy – Good or Bad Idea?
In one answer, it depends on the company, the offerings and products. Demographics, branding and corporate culture are also factors.
Online marketing dictates effective SEO and branding resulting in the separation of the best brands from the rest of the crowd.
A large, corporate website is the first step toward improving your brand’s rankings in the search engines, but it’s often not enough. To move up on the search engine’s results page, you should consider strategies including the development of microsites using strong, product specific domain names.
Microsites are smaller, product or service specific sites that promote a focused message. Microsites contain different content than your primary site and create their own value by providing more detailed information about various offerings related to your products. With the right microsite strategy and approach, it’s possible to get the top rankings you deserve in the search engines and block the competition from achieving the top search results.
Companies are sometimes hesitant to invest the time and resources it takes to create microsites thinking the investment made in their corporate site is enough and will be all things to all potential clients. This is not true. There are precise reasons why microsites work for large corporations with a broad offer of products and services
1) In some cases, the company’s main site is ineffective at SEO and conversion. The company’s corporate site is a broad brush display of who they are and how they got there. There are so many fingers in the content that it needs to be broken up and be viewed strictly by how the site is going to convert online visitors into buying customers. Internal bureaucracy and processes prevent SEO strategies from being implemented and restrict the uploading of fresh content to the site, without a committee to generate the content, a committee to approve the content and another team to implement the changes properly. A microsite can free you from those constraints and deliver better conversions in a shorter time period when teamed with a great generic, product or service specific domain name.
2) Marketing Experimentation. A Corporate site often has a look, feel and selling approach specific to demographic crowd. Microsites enable your brand to safely experiment with content that targets a much broader audience. For example, with microsites you can experiment with a different selling approach or a different message, trying variations that are geared toward a new audience without changing anything on your main site.
3) Faster “Drilling Down” by visitors. When a company has a broad range of offerings, it’s difficult for the corporate website to go very deep on any given topic. Microsites remove this limitation and allow you to go as deep as you want on specific aspects of your industry, products, services and related topics. The resulting depth of content within your microsites feeds the search engines and introduces your brand to more “eyeballs” who have not ever been to the corporate site. Now your branding and using the microsite’s ability to engage targeted audiences with highly relevant content.
3) Experts in Specific Offerings. A large, corporate site can’t be seen as an authority site in every line of business. Although your company might actually be more experience and is very capable in each offering or product 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 presence in each product line and you can make it harder for smaller companies to gain the upper hand in online search results.
4) Location-Specific Strategies. Google has the ability to serve up personalized/local search results. By creating local microsites for each of your offices in specific regions, you can outrank other local companies and expand your geographic search footprint. Consider, for example, a company providing Oilfield Equipment rental with 15 locations throughout the active oil-producing regions in the US. They need a microsite dedicated to each of their rental yards. Prospects in “the Eagleford” region of Texas who are searching for a “light tower” south of San Antonio are going to have their results influenced by their searching location and are much more likely to find the firm’s Eagleford focused microsite on their search engine results page than they are to find the corporate site. Indeed, without a regionally focused 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 search results for targeted phrases and keywords. If microsites can help you appear in two or three of the top ten spots, that’s a lot better than only owning one spot and allowing competitors to occupy the others.
There’s a guideline 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 playing a game with the search engines. To that end, a badly executed microsite strategy might involve buying key word laden domains and building out less than complete websites with bad content. This approach will ultimately fail.
Good content is the ultimate deciding factor to your strategies success. With a focused plan and execution on building out the microsites, you’ll find that microsites can be a great way to bring in new leads and branding your company with online searching visitors who will become clients.