Microsites & Minisites Still Rank High in Google, Bing & Yahoo


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.



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7 Responses

  1. kev grant says:

    hey Shaun. definitely agree on this, we find they work very well for local small businesses who need an ultra fast presence around their main few words. what would you define as “micro” anyway, rather than just ‘small” ?

  2. Shaun Anderson (Hobo says:

    Howdy Kev Well a microsite can be anything from 5 pages to a 100 pages I suppose. It starts off with a decent keyword domain and one page.

  3. kev grant says:

    ok so really they’re talking about their useage in multiples as extra to the main domain, as opposed to be just being a small business (small) site (like 95% of small business sites out there) gotcha. enjoy the sun today amigo, Google alerts told me that Scotland is gonna be warmer than Ibiza today? ..make the most of it, it cant last. ;)

  4. Starstruck says:

    Most things Vanessa says do not apply to 99% of us She’s talking from a massive brand perspective. For small/ medium publishers these small sites can be massively profitable. “And note, I am 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…..!” Microsites for link building work extremely well, and have done for years. How can you possibly get penalised for it? Unless you’re an seo company and using a handful of microsites to link to all your clients and creating a massive footprint, I fail to see how Google can detect it in the first place to even think about whacking you.

    • Shaun Anderson (Hobo says:

      Yes, that’s what I mean – the footprint – In the end it all depends how stupid you are about it….the case in point, they were dolts. @David always a pleasure :)

  5. David says:

    I use microsites, have done for years. All honest and above board. Besides “doing seo” since 1997 I also knock out wordpress “websites”, am the City of Plymouth, Devon Town Crier and Have gone back to DJing part time. I also have a “local blog” with all news and scandal. I specialise in Google Local and helping very small businesses get online through the GBBO programme OK I don’t make loads but am happy. I have a Linked In account and Naymz plus a few other sites that could be construed as “microsites” but are really online networking areas that help me rank well Shaun you know I only work in and around Plymouth, Devon – I referred that Indian Restaurant in Glasgow to you laddie ;) Best David

  6. Aidan says:

    Thanks for the alternative view! I read that post by Vanessa Fox and agree that in the case of big brands it might not make sense but in many smaller businesses it is absolutely a perfectly valid strategy as long as one has the resources to manage the sites with unique content on each. If they are managed as genuine specialist sites there is no reason why they can’t be used for link-building to a main domain, so long as its within reason there should be no problem?



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