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On behalf of my client, I have purchased a few really good URLs, to assist with their SEO.

I want to understand whether my proposed use of these domains, as micro-sites to encouraged visitors to visit the main site, will result in blacklisting.

 Here's my invented example:

'Farmaceuticals' Ltd. They sell big, purple Tractors.

I would like to know whether is acceptable practise thesedays. If not, can something be done with micro-sites that is acceptable?

Apart from the desired action of users clicking through to the main site, I want to ensure all other features are above-board, such as not using hidden keywords and focusing each site on one specific feature.


Examples:

  • www.bigtractors.com:
    "Farmaceuticals Ltd sell some of the biggest tractors anywhere. Here's a link to the website: www.farmaceuticals.com"

  • www.purpletractors.com:
    "Farmaceuticals Ltd sell some of the most purple tractors anywhere. Here's a link to the website: www.farmaceuticals.com"


What makes a micro-site a destination worth ranking, and not to be seen as a direct doorway to redirect visitors?

One extreme step could be to provide content that its completely unique to each micro-site, and does not appear on the main site.

But, I wonder whether despite all efforts, having a link to take people elsewhere will make each micro-site appear as a 'doorway' whatever I do?

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I know this has been asked here before. –  John Conde Jan 16 '12 at 20:28
    
It has, just found it. I am modifying to be more specific. –  Dale M. Rollinson Jan 16 '12 at 20:29
    
Okay, focuses on the best practise for micro-sites. –  Dale M. Rollinson Jan 16 '12 at 20:39

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think it's safe to say it's a common misconception that having a larger quantity of sites (for the sake of interlinking and psychologically thinking that they'll reach a larger audience) is a good way to go.

What is important here is the quality of content.

Start thinking of 'mini-sites' and pages on your main website as one in the same. If anything it will be easier to rank for www.farmaceuticals.com/bigtractors.html than bigtractors.com (as per your example) as some of the SEO value your main site can be passed through to your other pages, not to mention that the potential customer is also already on the correct website. This is also quite important.

With mini-sites you will effectively have created two steps in the conversion process.

www.bigtractors.com -> www.farmaceuticals.com -> convert

As opposed to

www.farmaceuticals.com/bigtractors.html -> convert

If it wasn't obliviously obvious what I'm saying here - I would definitely build one larger website rather than diversify. Think about it, if google can manage with /analytics, /webmasters, etc you probably can too.

Hope this helps.

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1  
I wonder whether the Google algorithm will rank websites that stand-alone higher? For the sake of simplicity, imagine there are no links to farmaceuticals.com on the bigtractors.com website...'bigtractors.com' is only about 'Big Tractors'...whereas, when the crawler looks through the sitemap of farmaceuticals.com/bigtractors.html shows that it's not as specific as bigtractors.com. –  Dale M. Rollinson Jan 19 '12 at 20:43

To make the micro-sites count, you would need a lot of links to them from well rated sites, and that just won't happen.

The only thing that will really work is what you call the extreme step. By providing real content that is actually worth something to people, you will get the links and the traffic. However, you will probably get even more if you put that content on your real site.

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I detect a note a sarcasm there ;) Copywriting is my trade, so you can be sure of some super-duper content. The decision to go for micro sites or a subdomain, won't make or break the online business. I appreciate content is king, and currently Google likes inbound links without reciprocation. So, it all comes back to having content that people like and talk about! –  Dale M. Rollinson Jan 23 '12 at 20:27

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