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18 Dec

Why Build Microsites? The Hub and Spoke Marketing Model


Is it best to have multiple websites or just one?

When discussing internet marketing “hub and spoke marketing” refers to the creation of an authority website (the hub) off which you ‘hang’ related niche websites (the spokes).

What is an authority site?

Authority sites generally have more pages than most and tend to dominate ranking results relatively well for their chosen market. Google classifies your website as being an authority site when it has achieved a PageRank of 6 / 7.

The theory behind hub and spoke marketing

The basic theory behind hub and spoke marketing is based on time-proven economics theory, i.e. division of labour equals greater productivity and profitability.

It’s true to say that most companies carry out a multitude of tasks that don’t always easily fit under one umbrella. In the early days of internet marketing this wasn’t a problem however as the internet has become ever more content dense it has become more important to tailor your offering to suit the audience, this in turns leads to greater conversion rates, advertising revenues etc.

What niche markets do you serve?

Write down everything your business does on a sheet of paper. All these areas should be covered on your main website, once you’ve got all your services covered on the hub website, it’s time to start thinking about targeting the niches.

What’s the High Street marketing model?

The high street marketing model is about guaranteeing maximum visibility. When you’re walking down the high street you’ll see a number of shops that sell a relatively similar product offering however they are all branded up separately. It’s likely that the same group will own many of them, with separate brands all being supplied by the same suppliers.

Search Engine Results Pages are your high street and you need to make sure you take up as many ranking places as possible for your converting keywords.

Each niche website should overlap, that is have elements that are covered in the hub website and other spoke websites.

A great example of this is from Google itself. Google bought YouTube as it’s own video provider Google Video wasn’t fairing well in the competition, with this knowledge of the High Street model they kept their own Google Video brand and the YouTube brand.

Is Google A Popularity Contest?

Most modern search engine’s algorithms rank sites based on popularity, Google rewards websites that have the most inbound links from websites that similarly have lots of links. Interestingly, when first came on the scene their methodology was the exact reverse of this; they rewarded websites that had the highest number of links going out.

Think about this for a moment, rewarded the website that referenced others, whereas Google rewarded websites that got referenced, building lots of sites is an effective way to build up these links making your online presence more appear more referenced and therefore more popular.

Turning High Street into Hub and Spoke Marketing

After you’ve built your niche sites you want to make sure your sites become even more potent. To do this you need to link them together, that means linking the niche sites to related area of your hub site as well as linking to related areas on other niche spoke sites.

This is a legitimate linking practice, because you are creating a theme area of content or virtual silo for search engines to crawl.

By using your authority site to pass on it’s link juice to these spoke sites you will create niche sites that are far more potent in their niche search results than your general website – by linking to the hub you will begin to create a legitimate network of links in which all websites benefit.

Is it worth building Microsites?

Building microsites takes a lot of effort, you need to be sure you’ve got a whole heap of unique content to go on there, you can’t duplicate what’s all ready been produced, you’ve got to keep producing them, keep updating them and managing them on an ongoing basis, however they deliver much more qualified traffic to your business, and they help your hub site (main business website) to rank more highly, giving it a better chance of converting in the process.

If you’re serious about your business on the Internet then you need to be continuing to invest in your business website network.

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