Avoiding too many micro websites in your web design?

Added 16.05.11

Micro websites seem to be popping up everywhere recently. From single landing pages or pages designed to promote a particular product or service individually, to fleets of keyword orientated microsites, micro websites are presently all over the web. In case you haven't come across one yet and are unclear about exactly what a micro website is, it is generally defined as a small website that is linked, but operates separately, to a primary website.

Micro websites are becoming increasingly popular because they are considered a new and different approach to online marketing. Part of the appeal of micro websites is that they can be easily and quickly prepared and made live. They can also be clearly and strategically directed toward the promotion of a single event or special offer. However, it is important not to opt for too many micro websites in your web design for several important reasons. In order to understand why micro websites should be used with caution, you will first need to understand the purposes and contexts for which they are most commonly used.

Some of the main features that set the web design of micro websites apart from that of their parent sites or main sites is that they are prepared to distinctly promote one item, rather than a broad overview. Micro websites offer all the web design features available on a larger site, but are often created in a way so as to convey the mood or branding of a specific product or service which may differ in some ways to the web design of the main website. In addition, the web design of micro websites can be customised in order to target specific demographics, as well as provide site visitors with an unusual or striking online experience.

Another important role that web design plays in the success of micro websites is when they are used as a search engine optimisation strategy. Micro websites are very small, only one or sometimes two pages, meaning that is very important that keywords and keyword phrases are chosen and distributed strategically throughout the site, often in a fairly high density. The placement of keywords in micro website web design also extends to the URL chosen for these mini websites, which should be composed of a key search term. Used in moderation, micro websites can provide a considerable SEO advantage.

However, before you decide that a great way to enhance the search engine ranking of your company is to buy up domain names for a brigade of micro websites that will target every single one of your key search terms, it's wise to understand the risks involved in this behaviour and why avoiding too many micro websites is the best way to go in web design. Due to so many companies concluding that multiple micro websites is a great SEO approach, all of the most popular search engines are cracking down on the misuse of micro websites in SEO. Although it may first seem that purchasing URLS for all your key search terms, and including these at an extremely high frequency throughout your microsite web design, will radically multiply the traffic to all sites, including your main website, and boost your search engine ranking, it could in fact pose huge disadvantages instead

This is because search engines have sophisticated ways of discovering and penalising web design content that makes blatant attempts at maximising search engine optimisation. If your hundreds of micro websites and their domain names feature all of the key search terms for your industry, repeated multiple times over in so small a space, alarm bells will go off at Google and any of the other search engines you are attempting to target. The extensive over-use and misuse of micro websites in your web design will clearly identify you as an SEO cheat and is likely to earn you significant penalties from search engines which will push your website/s further and further down the search results listings, achieving exactly the opposite effect of what you hoped for with your web design.