Creating a network of micro-sites for the purpose of manipulating link power is a controversial technique; it has therefore become risky to interconnect your own websites, even for very “white hat” purposes (for example, to inform your readers of your other relevant sites). Nevertheless, link building with micro sites can be a very effective technique if done correctly.
My main idea is that creating micro-sites around your main web resource is not necessarily done for the sake of interconnection and spreading the power of the link. When done wisely, strategy can achieve several broad goals:
- build binding power of multiple resources simultaneously ( = if the microsite is closely associated with the main site, many webmasters will link to the both resources when talking about one or the other). Michael Martinez in his recent article on one way link building put it strongly:
satellite site networks succeed because each site brings enough unique content and concepts to the user experience that it makes sense for people to link them all
- to be on the safe side: aggressive (or any other) link bait can be both win and miss, it’s always hard to predict; if you host your link bait on a separate site, you will still keep your main site protected from the (probably dangerous) circumstances of the campaign;
- create multiple/additional positive/sticky brand associations (quoting Michael, “spread the value of a brand over several sub-brands“);
- reach a wider audience or attract a specific audience – it might be difficult for a well-known site that is strongly associated with an age group, for example, to rebrand so that it can appeal to a much younger/older audience. Creating a microsite and optimizing it for a new audience group you want to target may be a better idea than re-launching your established site.
- expand the reach of your link building (e.g. promoting a business site on social media can be difficult because it is not “social media friendly” enough for the campaign to be successful).
- get people to promote your site: by encouraging the active participation of customers, you will recruit the most internet-savvy audience; almost all representatives of this audience maintain their own websites and blogs where they will be happy to promote your site.
- host relevant but different content: Coca Cola Conversations blog focuses on Coke collectibles.
- encourage viral marketing: a social network photo enthusiasts around the latest Fujifilm camera.
- host link bait: To promote its new television series “Back to You”, Fox Broadcasting has created a micro-site where users can upload photos of themselves to create an image that shows them sitting at the desk anchoring between the stars of the show, Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer.
- host different types of content (for example, user-generated content): Southwest Airlines employees and customers share “Nuts About Southwest” on a separate blog.