What are microsites and landing pages?
While they are completely different interactive tools, microsites and landing pages are both used in conjunction with search marketing and online advertising to display more specific and targeted content than a regular Web site.
Microsites, sometimes called minisites, are one or more Web pages that function as an independent Web site. They are off-shoots of a parent site, usually employed on a temporary basis to promote a new product, promotion or even advertising campaign. Many companies use microsites as an opportunity to be more creative or “fun” than they are on their company Web site, and they often have their own easy-to-remember URL for placement in print and online advertising.
Landing pages are specifically created as an entrance into a Web site from an online ad or Web search. As search engine traffic becomes a larger percentage of traffic to your Web site, more visitors enter sites on a page other than the home page. Resultantly, landing pages are created to be a more welcoming entrance to a site than an arbitrary interior page.
Using Microsites and Landing Pages In Search Marketing
Microsites and landing pages are usually the destination URL for search marketing, which includes Pay-Per-Click advertising and optimization for organic searches (for more information on this topic see How Do I Get My Web Site to Show Up in Google Searches?). The goal of search marketing is for a Web user to do a keyword search which (appropriately) returns your site (either as a link or Pay-Per-Click ad), have him or her click through and find your content useful and relevant to his or her search.
Imagine you were to do a Google search for “N.C. beach rental cottages” and clicked on a result that took you to the home page of Apex Real Estate Company, which had no mention of beach rental properties on it. It’s very likely you would immediately click the back button and try another search result. However, if Apex Real Estate Company had a landing page (which may be nothing more than a specific page for beach rentals that was designed to effectively stand alone if it was the entrance point for a visitor), you would be much more likely to feel you had found what you were searching for.
Besides offering more relevant information for searchers, microsites and landing pages are almost inherently more likely to higher search rankings than the parent site because they contain more precise and keyword-rich content related to the search itself. As a result, they are a a very effective tool for both organic and paid searches.