Oh no, here comes another ‘microsite’

My heart sinks when a client tells us: “We’re launching a microsite, can you help us promote it?” Not because we can’t help – indeed, search advertising may well be the only way to get new sites noticed – but because I know they’re going to be disappointed with the results, and somehow we’ll get mixed up in that.

Microsites normally get launched because website design agencies detect a product launch budget in the air and persuade their client that a whole new website would be a good way of spending it. To be fair, a specially designed website is not a bad idea in itself – the problems are caused by the decision to put it on its own domain. Sadly, that’s what usually happens, and what usually ruins things.

Getting a new domain recognised by Google, never mind establishing it in the results ranking, can take weeks or months. History and links are important parts of SEO, and a new site just won’t have them.

There are very few situations where I’d recommend having a microsite on a new domain. The only time it makes sense from an SEO point of view is when the subject is completely unrelated to anything on your main site. Then it’s a whole new business really. If you’ve just got a product or service which simply needs its own identity, by all means create a set of web pages which look different, but keep them on your main website. It’s quite possible to do so.