Strengthen your own ranking and at the same time weaken that of your competitors? That actually sounds like a good strategy in the battle for prominent places on the search results pages. Microsites promise exactly this and prove to be particularly effective as a secret weapon in online marketing. But the possibilities of a microsite are not inexhaustible either.
Microsite – The combination of micro and website …
is a small website that has a flat navigation structure and few subpages.
Clear goal: independent, but still connected
A microsite is separate from the rest of the web offerings in terms of both design and theme. Although it can have the corporate identity, it usually deals with a specific topic in more detail. That is why graphic designers should also take up this topic graphically. If the microsite is an information portal of a beauty clinic to present the possibilities of liposuction to its patients, a slim body can be chosen as an eye-catcher in the design.
Advantage of the microsite in contrast to the main presence:
- Addressing visitors in a targeted manner
- Short, concise overview of the services or products offered
- Additional information on individual areas
- Direct reference to the company website
1. Listing in the top search results
An important cornerstone for the microsite is laid with the selection of a suitable domain. It is recommended to choose a keyword in the URL, for example www.transporte-beispiel.de. The website operator has two options here. Either he uses the keyword in combination with another term, for example with his company name (Partial Match Domain or PMD), or he chooses exactly the search words for his URL that he wants to advertise with his microsite (Exact Match Domain or EMD).
Corporate content for ranking
Since the name of the page is still an important evaluation criterion for Google and Co., the chances increase that such a microsite will also appear in the top search results – naturally with high-quality content as a basis. This fact is extremely important, because without good quality content, a microsite cannot move forward even with the best URL. There was also a Google update in June 2013 that moved domains with a keyword in the URL a few positions back. Nevertheless, EMDs or PMDs were and are a very good starting position for top search results.
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2. Weakening of the competition
If website operators rely on an online marketing strategy with microsites, this has a further positive effect on a advertised search term. Once the independent “mini-pages” have established themselves and achieve good rankings, this additional listing in the search results causes competitors to slip backwards.
3. Autonomous link building for the main page
If a microsite is well received by users, it offers ideal conditions for a reliable link network. If several microsites are linked to one another in a meaningful way, they form an ideal website network. By using different domains, different servers and IP addresses, website operators will create a topic-relevant and self-sufficient, self-contained link network for the future. But be careful: Google’s penguin update punishes conspicuous link structures. That is why you should rely on sustainable link building, i.e. not growing too quickly and a natural distribution of internal and external links.
4. Additional visitors and potential customers
Due to the prevailing monthly search volume for the respective keyword according to Google Trends, website operators generate additional traffic for the main presence. In practice, this looks like this: If users search for “Kurier Dortmund”, for example, and get to the microsite set up for this purpose, they create links to the main domain. This is reflected in the higher number of visitors.
5. Flexibility and perspective
If a microsite receives a particularly good response in the form of good click rates and page visits, it can be expanded to include additional navigation points, a comment function or blog functionality. This is also in the spirit of content marketing, because websites that regularly provide high-quality content are not only becoming more popular with readers, but also in the reputation of the search engine.
Disadvantages of a microsite
Setting up such a microsite naturally takes a lot of manpower. Graphic designers, copywriters and programmers are all involved in this process and accordingly cost a lot of time and money. Marketing decision-makers should calculate the return-of-investment (ROI) here, because if there are too few inquiries for a certain search term, the construction of a microsite may not be worthwhile. In addition, it is difficult to displace an established Internet presence of a competitor with a relatively fresh website. Like all forms of search engine optimization, the results of marketing measures take a long time to show.
Focus on the main presence?
The most important argument against a microsite: The resources available for it could also be used to expand the main presence. The integration of infographics, detailed service and product descriptions and usability improvements can significantly increase the visibility of the website.