When launching a new product set or service offering that is slightly different from their main offering many companies decide to build a microsite. They feel that this will allow them more scope to develop a specific brand, or target a specific audience.
However, from an SEO point of view this is not a recommended practice.
- You will need to maintain and SEO different websites.
- It drives traffic away from the main website.
- If your content is spread out across too many different small sites, they are all less valuable from an SEO point of view than if the content had been located on one site.
- A new domain will have zero domain authority when it first launches
- The new site has no links, no shares, no domain history, nothing to tell search engines of its relevance
- Other sites need to link to it to confirm it’s of quality content to help it rank
- The new microsite essentially competes for the same organic search rankings and traffic that your primary site needs to win in order to drive leads or sales
But, if the decision is made that a microsite is required here are some tips:
- Each site needs at least 5 pages of quality content
- Content needs to differ from the main website – Google has attempted to crack down on low-quality and “spammy” exact-match microsites.
- Each site needs to be relevant to one particular product/service
- All should link back to the main website
A microsite can work, but it’s not something which will happen instantly. It will require time and effort.
The search engines put a lot of emphasis on trust, meaning that the age of the domain is a ranking factor. Since a main site is more established, the content on it will rank faster than the content on a brand new microsite.
From an SEO performance standpoint, if the content fits with the existing site it’s always better to create a new section on that rather than develop an additional site. This will give you all the benefit of a new experience for your users, while allowing all the metrics that you gain from links, social, and users to be applied to your primary domain, making it more powerful.