Hi Jill,

I wanted to discuss the possibility of developing a best practice/checklist guide for our company to follow. Our new initiative will be to launch 50 or so micro-sites focused on our key product categories. These sites will need to be rolled out quickly.



Jill's Response

Hi Chris,

I'm not sure that we can help you with what you're asking for, because creating 50 micro-sites would not be something we would recommend. I'm concerned that you've been provided with some bad info from somewhere if you're thinking that this is the way to go. Creating micro-sites is a very old SEO tactic that was never very effective, and it's not something that the search engines generally appreciate. Perhaps you were thinking that only the home page of a site can rank well in the engines? If so, this isn't the case at all.

A much smarter idea would be to fix up your current corporate site so that every page of it is optimized in such a way that each of your main categories and each individual product page would rank on its own merits. One great site is 1,000 times better than 50 small sites.

Hope this information puts you on the right track with your SEO strategy!



[As you can imagine, Chris wasn't too thrilled with my response and replied with a bit more explanation. See his/her response with my comments interspersed below.]

> Appreciate your feedback. Our plan was the following. Please let me know if you still have the same feeling regarding our strategy.

Jill: Sure, see my comments below:

> 1. Create transparent micro-sites using our flagship name.
> Example: OurBrandBlenders.com

Jill: Yes, that's how I originally assumed you would be doing it. Again, bad idea.

> 2. Become an authority through the use of forums, RSS and general site content (trends, how to's), portable media and community evangelists to be the go-to place for all things relevant to the category.

Jill: How do you suppose small sites can become an authority? The idea is to have one large, great company that will become an authority because its links and word of mouth will make it so. It will be next to impossible to try to make 50 different sites become authority sites because you'd be splitting the potential authoritativeness between 50 domains instead of one. Again, bad idea.

> 3. Use unique navigation structure and product information to create a rich, unique experience.

Jill: This sounds like a branding nightmare to me. Every site will have different navigation, even though they are selling products from the same company. Again, bad idea. Very bad idea.

> 4. Use SEO best practices to gain traction on the engines - including link acquisition.

Jill: You can't use SEO best practices because the original premise (50 sites for one company) is already bad SEO practice, so anything you do from there is going to be bad SEO practice.

> Still not a good idea? I would really appreciate some additional feedback. We are committed to doing what is the most appropriate long-term strategy.

As you can see, it's most definitely, in my opinion, 100%, a huge mistake for you to go this route. I think if you do some research on SEO best practices for the 21st century you'll find that the majority of professional SEOs would agree.

Good luck!


Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

May 10, 2007

CEO and founder of High Rankings®, Jill Whalen has been performing search engine optimization since 1995 and is the host of the free High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter, author of "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" and founder/administrator of the popular High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum. In 2006, Jill co-founded SEMNE, a local search engine marketing networking organization for people and companies in New England.

High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm located in Framingham, MA specializing in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, in-house training, site audit reports, search marketing seminars and workshops. High Rankings has a 100% success rate for substantially improving client rankings and targeted traffic.

Jill speaks at national and international conferences and has been writing about SEO and search marketing since 2000. She's been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. Her articles have appeared in numerous print magazines and online websites including CIO Magazine, CMS Focus, The Internet Marketing Report, ClickZ, WorkZ, Inc.com, Entrepreneur, Lycos Small Business, WebProNews, SiteProNews and others. Jill has also appeared on many online and offline radio programs such as Entrepreneur Magazine's E-Biz Radio Show, SearchEngineRadio and the eMarketing Talkshow.

Search Engine Guide > Jill Whalen > Best Practices for 50 Micro-sites