When do satellites actually matter?
By satellites I mean satellite sites not the sputniks, sky, spy and random junk metal containers littering our upper exosphere.
So, what are satellite sites? In the old parlance they would have been known as 'doorway' sites. These are sites that simply link to the main site for the purposes of relevant direction. To confuse and conbobble the search engines into thinking that your main site is one of great importance and should be referenced in awe and wonder by the mighty Googibing!
In actuality, doorway sites are a waste of space. Web space that it, not the airless void that encircles our planet.
Simply creating a site that contains pretty much the same content as your main site and linking back to it is a complete waste of time. Not least because now, it will get you penalised by the search engines. That will affect your main site and your satellite site, which drop into the nether-regions of search engine obscurity for daring to try and fool them.
So why use them?
Simple answer - many web developers and even SEO consultants advise against them in any form and have extremely negative views on their usage. I don't.
It is not whether or not you should use them it is HOW you use them.
If you are thinking 'I will make a satellite site and load in a bit of relevant content to link back to my main site'....don't bother.
If you are thinking 'how can I creatively give something to the web community that is relevant to my main site...' Now, we're talking!!
The fact is, that any site is only as good as the content within it, but sometimes you need to be a bit exciting if you want to be attractive. But in some industries the thought of being anything other than seriously sensible is an anathema to the acceptable and expected face of the business.
You wouldn't expect a Funeral Directors website to be full of jokes. You also wouldn't expect an accountants website to give free tips on how to avoid paying tax.
But a satellite website could.
You see a satellite site has the advantage of being an arms length extension to your business where you control the content.
Let me explain further.
Timber-on-line.com sell website solutions exclusively to the timber industry. With such a finite marketplace of maybe 800-1000 businesses in the UK alone the chance of attracting any Timber Merchants searching for them is remote. Not least because many within the industry would consider computers useful for letters and accounts but this web nonsense is just something the kids do. It is why only 42% (at time of writing) of all Timber Merchants have a website.
So how do you get an web-phobic business to appreciate the power of the internet when those that have taken the plunge are cheerfully turning over millions of pounds worth of business online every year?
A satellite site. Timber-on-line.com produced a Timber Merchants Directory as a satellite site. Most online directories charge a fee to get a direct web link back from their directory to the business website. Not so w
All of the sites were researched before listing and suddenly there exists a valuable online resource given to the UK community for free. Very quickly it attracted over 2000 visits a month for people looking for local timber suppliers.ww.Timbersites.com, they have put together a directory of over 400 timber merchants who have websites with free links, an online quote system and free email messaging that goes direct to the Timber Merchant.
The advantage to Timber-On-Line.com Ltd is that it controls the content and uses the site to then contact the merchants themselves in a non-salesy way about their listings and promotions and opens discussions about the quality of their own websites.
The more creative the satellite site the more effective it is in promoting the core services of a business.
For instance a local Solicitors was looking to improve its organic listings. The problem being that it is in an industry where seriousness and adherence to codes of conduct are vital.
Like most businesses in the service sector, most websites are merely reflections of the business itself, just sitting there waiting for a customer to need them. Not in this case.
Through the use of satellite websites they are carving a niche as online experts within their specific fields. Many service websites are 'elevator pitch' sources of information to reassure the visitors that they are the people to contact over this or that issue but to obtain the important information it will require a face to face meeting.
However, for many people using the internet, the impartiality and non-contact aspect of the internet is the most attractive feature.
So they created the Medical Negligence Helpdesk, an online resource where any and all questions relating to medical and clinical negligence can be answered online free of charge without necessitating any commitment to visit or discuss the issue with a solicitor that would seek to obtain their patronage.
This hands off approach gives the internet an extra dimension with businesses now in a position to offer something else to potential clients and by doing so cementing their position as authority and experts within their fields.
www.medicalnegligencehelpdesk.co.uk gives the owning business free access over the content and yet provides it with an arms length conduit for both attracting customers and publishing relevant doorway information that will be beneficial to their main website because the 'doorway' page is by its design a valuable online resource. And we all know how Googibing values 'valuable online resources'.
to good and effective satellite sites is to understand the needs of your clients and then being prepared to risk losing your customers to other competitors. By controlling the content and providing the information for free you are proving your accessibility and knowledge. Why would your potential customers want to go anywhere else?