We are developing a product which can be repurposed to target many different industries.
We have spoken to several marketing companies who have recommended creating a 1 or 2 page "Micro site" per industry we target. The idea being that each one can focus on the specific keywords suitable for that market rasing it higher in the search results.
There would be a primary site that these microsites link back to (and link to each other) which caused some concern from the techie in me.
I asked how this was viewed by Panda (Google's filter to remove content farms) and they said they hadn't been affected (or didn't know about it at all).
So, the question.
Is this simply a good way of providing targeted content or should this practice be avoided?
NOTE: If this is a "depends" then what would be some suitable guidelines to ensure your on the right side of the fence.
Robin, if your product is applicable to different industries, from a strategic/marketing point of view, I would go with a microsite for each industry.
The reason is that the buyers in each industry will have different pain points and different compelling needs to buy as well as different value that they get from the product. Also, each industry will communicate in a slightly different way. You need to address these things specifically for each market segment and the only way to do that is with a site that is targeted to each group.
I also think potential buyers would be put off by arriving at a general site that demonstrates the product in a very different industry. They will think the product is not for them. Of course, you know better but generally buyers won't see how something translates across industries.
I'm not sure of the implications technically, but from a marketing point of view, I would definitely go down the microsite route.
By multiple micro-sites I take it to mean multiple domain names. This can be costly (domain names are not free), but more importantly are potentially problematic from the standpoint of search engines.
What is a good practice and which is perfectly OK with search engines is to have many landing pages each targeted to a different audience. This kind of targeted content within a single domain is an excellent practice and used by virtually all major websites.
An example of this is Microsoft, in addition to their primary homepage they have www.microsoft.com/education, www.microsoft.com/GovernmentUSA, www.microsoft.com/government/, www.microsoft.com/Student and lots more.
Let's say I had a multi-tool, like a swiss army knife, that I was selling online. Does it make sense to run several different websites for each specific tool just for the sake of SEO? I would rather have one website, put all my selling points in that one website. SEO-wise, this one website will have sufficient keywords to feed all the web crawlers, don't you think?
If you want more keywords, you can start a blog. Update that blog once every week and you have enough SEO juice for your website to rank well.