I Still Like Microsites, Dangit!

Micro niche sites. Yea, still love 'em.

Back in the old days (pre-Panda Google algorithm update) the most surefire way to start making money with websites was to build a small site containing an 'About Us' page, a 'Contact' page, and about 5 to 7 pages (articles) revolving around a main keyword with a few (3 to 5) longtail keywords that supported it. For example, you would create a site called 'ceramiclamps.com' and find 3 supporting keywords (antique lamps, buy lamp post, old reading lamp) that would be incorporated into the overall 'lamp' theme of your micro site. You would place Adsense or some kind of CPA offer on the site, build some links with article marketing and forum postings, then move on to the next site. It was a beautiful, simple process that worked great for some of the sites, not as great for others, but the results would balance out.

Lots and lots of microsites

Anyway,

An aspiring internet marketer would create one of these a microsites a week (with all the linking work included) on average and in a year you'd be sitting on 50 micro sites. Some would be winners (maybe $10 a day), many would be losers (less then $0.25 a day, sometimes much less) and some would be bombs (not even get indexed, or possibly banned). The point was that it was not uncommon for people to crank out lots of microsites and make $100 a day within a year. That may or may not be a lot of money to you, but it's a great start to learning internet marketing and working your way towards the magical $1000 a day mark. But along the way something happened.

Look Out For Panda!!

Apoc-o-lips!

Date: Early 2012

Panda attacks!

If you've been around internet marketing enough then I'm sure you've heard of Google's algorithm update they called Panda. Here's the wiki. Long story short, the algorithm went through and 'recalculated' lots and lots of website search rankings for search terms. On the plus side, lots of crappy sites got wiped off the face of the earth (not really, they just got de-indexed or pushed so far down the Google search results they might as well not exist) and that freed up room for legit websites. On the down side, there are many stories of decent websites getting smacked around in the rankings due to Panda. There's all sort of stories of internet marketers that lost most all of their traffic (and daily income) overnight. The Panda update was no joke. Some of the legit sites recovered as the updates balanced out, some did not, and almost all internet marketers had to adjust how they did things.

Clearing the Wreckage

The Aftermath = Authority Sites

After the post-Panda wreckage cleared new tactics started to emerge. Gone are the days of building small websites revolving around a few keywords and limited content. The reign of the authority site has begun.

So what is an authority site? Simply put, it is a website that revolves around a larger niche (camping gear, truck tires, sewing supplies) with thousands of pages of content and thousands of links. Google now pays more attention to authority sites then ever before. Most all the internet marketing pro's no longer suggest building micro niche sites. It's now common practice to build feeder sites (small sites like this) that point back to your authority sites. Your primary linking structure (forum postings, article marketing, etc) all get pointed to your feeder sites. They in turn point to your money making (authority) site. Microsites are dead! Dead!

No more microsites! Eh, not quite.

I don't completely buy into the demise of the micro niche site. Granted, I do not dispute the pro's who say that authority sites are the thing to build. Not at all. It's just that I believe that if you are new to internet marketing it may be a good idea to build some microsites first before diving in to the complexity and time sink of an authority site. There's a few reasons for this.

  • You can still use the same backlinking structure the pro's use for microsites
  • You can get a site up and running quickly, then build backlinks over a period of days
  • While you are building niche sites you can check the progress of the first few ones you built within a couple months. These fast results will teach you volumes about what works and what does'nt
  • You don't have all your time invested in one site, one niche, and one backlinking campaign for a niche that you don't know will work (that comes with experience)

In a nutshell, I like microsites because they offer a good educational foundation for the new internet marketer. You do not have months or years invested in a site that you do not have the experience to know will work or fail. Start small, with microsites, and build your way up to authority sites,

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