Excerpts from my latest article at NBC 5 Chicago’s Inc. Well blog: “Why Microsites Make SEO Harder.”

butting headsMarketers love to spin off microsites for campaigns, e-commerce capabilities, mobile sites and more. It can be easier to create a microsite from scratch than just integrate a new feature or campaign into your existing website. But unless you’re working on a project that you don’t want associated with your brand, reconsider hosting it as a microsite on a new domain.

For SEO, it all boils down to authority. A new microsite on a new domain will have zero domain authority when it launches. It has no links, no shares, no domain history, nothing to tell search engines that it’s the new hotness. And while you’re certain that the content on this sparkling new microsite is amazing, the search engines will turn a blind eye until other sites link to it to confirm its worth and relevance to the wider world.

In addition, the new microsite essentially competes for the same organic search rankings and traffic that your primary site needs to win in order to drive leads or sales. In the beginning at least, the microsite will be very weak in terms of the domain and link authority required to win those organic search rankings. It will require a large amount of content marketing and link building work to strengthen the microsite’s authority to the point where it can rank. And those resources will have been used to essentially build a competing site that, if successful, will cannibalize traffic and conversions from your primary site.

Instead, the same content and resources spent on the microsite can be used instead to strengthen the SEO performance of your primary site rather than competing with it….

Read the article in full at Inc. Well »

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