Minisites used to be a good technique, but is getting harder to make them work. Here are 3 challenges for the “Minisite Approach”:
- Google doesn’t value new websites.
- Google doesn’t value 2-3 page websites.
It’s rare for small sites to have the depth of content that Google values. If this site cannot go into depth on a topic, it might not be seen as valuable – to Google bot, or to human visitors. You can overcome that with link authority, but it’s tough.
- Google doesn’t have a powerful “exact match bonus.”
Google used to give easy rankings to “exact match domains,” but lessened that 2-3 years ago. If someone was typing “iPhone ringtones” into Google, it was simple for iphoneringtones.com to rank at the top. In the newer version of Google’s algorithm, exact match domains do not necessarily mean top rankings for little effort – although it is still helpful:
- Keywords will be bolded in the URL in some search engines. That can be very tempting to prospective visitors.
- Inbound links that use the domain as anchor text will experience a bonus for that keyword targeting. Anchor text is still powerful in Google’s algorithm.
Here are some tips to make the most of your Minisite:
– The content must be unique
Minisites are often created to be a tangential offering of a brand, but shouldn’t just be a copy/paste of the existing content from a site. Instead, the content should be created especially for the Minisite, with some thought given for how this audience might be unique.
– The URLs need to not look spammy to your audience. So many keyword rich URLs can look that way these days. Test with PPC and see if your prospects want to click. No more than a single dash in the URL, only use .com, and two word phrases. For example, this is not a clickable URL:
But this is:
– The keyword phrase should have good search volume.
Keyword phrases that do not show search volume in Google’s Keyword Planner may not be worth investing in. One of the main advantages of a minisite on a custom domain is the “exact match domain” that should exactly match your prospects’ query. Without search volume, that’s one less compelling reason to do a minisite.
– Don’t rely on type in traffic. Prospects using Internet explorer when it was the dominant browser would type in “sales management” and be taken to salesmanagement.com. A few years ago, 12% of search traffic could arrive like that. Chrome is now dominant and it searches Google for what you type in. So that type in traffic isn’t as prevalent as it was.
– Buy keyword focused domains if there is good search volume. Test them with PPC (for both click through rate and conversion), and then build out larger sites of 20 pages, blog weekly on the site, have videos, get some good links etc.
But this technique is not the easy road it once was. There are many fewer shortcuts in today’s Google.
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