NOTE – In 2013, Google actively hunts out low quality domains and does a slightly better job of keeping low quality exact match minisites from it’s results, but it’s clearly still used to success in some verticals.
Microsites & Minisites – A good idea, SOME of the time!
A recent post by Vanessa Fox mentioned building microsites (smaller sites based around one keyword) are a bad idea most of the time.
However, the opportunities Google, and all the major search engines, afford exact match domains, makes it silly to discount them as part of a campaign if you are willing to put the extra time and resources into making a good microsite.
Microsites still rank (albeit for narrow terms)
I do not using these microsites for link-building – they are all independent entities. Some low quality seo companies use microsites as a low quality link building strategy back to a main domain – that stuff gets you penalised for even your brand name! Believe me – and a particular SEO company knows who I am talking about.
I think it all depends on how many resources you have to pump these out and manage them. I ALWAYS recommend one main brand domain – I’d never recommend (to most of the types of clients I deal with), using a generic keyword domain if you want to build a brand.
To give you an example if I had aONE store selling 20 products to spend ALL my time on, I might focus on one main brandable site, and 20 microsites around each product on an exact match domain. I’d then promote the s*&^ out of them in multiple channels. Then again, I would have the resources to manage all that of course. I don’t use microsites to sell seo services for instance for this site – but many do.
As Google relies more on more on domain authority, it’s got to keep letting the little guy in *somewhere* and they take the easy way out by letting exact match domains in. I think quality niche sites are going to be even MORE rewarded in the years to come.
Exact match domains are AMAZING for products and some services – so they can be a good idea, all the time, and are only less effective for companies and brand building.
Vanessa knows her stuff – but Microsites, when operated intelligently, can be very valuable indeed. Horses for courses.