I’m often asked if mini-sites can help search engine rankings. These mini sites used to be called doorway sites back in the bad old days of SEO but now it seems like the mini-site is making a comeback.
Once upon a time a doorway page or site was a heavily (usually over) optimized page or site that ranked highly for a single keyword or phrase and pointed the user to your main domain, sometimes via a redirect command, sometimes by a hyperlink. Of course the search engines eventually got wise to this practice and banned all the doorway pages and the practice all but died out.
In these times of over-optimization penalties, cross-linking penalties and duplicate content penalties it seemed like the doorway site had no place in the modern SEO arsenal however the doorway site has re-invented itself as the mini-site. By creating multiple, highly-focused, mini-sites you can boost your site’s rankings. Of course links from sites that are related to your topic are always useful but there are several things to watch out for:
- Don’t repeat content that’s already on your main site.
- Keep your page on theme and focused on one small area of your business or a particular product.
- Don’t inter-link your mini-sites. Yes it’s fine if they all link to your main site, that’s the point afterall, but don’t try to boost your mini-sites link popularity by linking them all to each other. Down that path lies disaster and poor rankings.
- Keep the content fresh, add to or makeover the site from time to time. Make sure the links still work at regular intervals and make sure the spiders keep coming back. Of course blogs are great for mini-sites as they can be highly focused in their subject matter, are easy to set up and they generate fresh content via comments from visitors.
- Don’t forget to SEO your mini-site! If the spiders don’t visit, the site won’t be worth anything!
And the evidence for my claims? A client of mine, Safety Services Direct, recently built a number of mini-sites for his Health and Safety site focusing on different aspects and products such as Safety Check Direct, focusing on Contractor Competence Assessments, which is generating some nice backlinks for his main site. I also recently created Safety News and Reviews which also links to Safety Services Direct and another health and safety client of mine. This site takes the form of original articles on health and safety with recommended products on each page deep-linking to the respective clients’ sites.
Another client, Cox and Plant, created a series of mini-sites for their ranges of bucket conveyors and other products with great success. Each mini-site ranks well for it’s respective keywords and in turn lends some potent link juice to the parent company’s site.
In conclusion, as with any site if you stick to the guidelines you won’t go far wrong and you’ll improve in thos all important rankings.