Friday, December 02, 2005

Mini-Sites Effect Main Web Site Rankings

I was going to talk about visibility of key phrases today, but I thought I should cover another topic first, mini-sites.

A mini web site is a small web site that is targeted at a specific subject. For example, a manufacturer might have a main web site that covers all their products and services, and then a series of small web sites for each product. I have a client who does exactly that. The mini-sites are easy for the sales staff to refer customers to for information on specific products. For example, if the customer is interested in product XYZ, the sales person can refer them to XYZ.COM.

The mini-sites also make it easy for the customer to find information about a product without getting distracted by information that may only apply to an unrelated product.

In addition, because this client does not want to miss out on cross-selling opportunities, there is some cross linking between the mini-sites, and all the mini-sites link to the main web site.

Since the Google Jagger update I’ve noticed that it is becoming common for the client’s mini-sites to replace the main site in Google search results. It appears that the overall theme of the web site is playing a larger role in determining relevance. This makes sense because the targeted content of the mini-site is highly relevant to the search. While the similar content on the main web site is buried among 25 other types of products. The downside is that for some key phrases the mini-site typically ranks lower than the main web site did for the same key phrase. This is probably because it does not have the abundance of inbound links that the main web site has.

In my next post I’ll talk about why this is important when measuring key phrase visibility.


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