Is It Worth Creating a Site Broader than My Niche?

Feb 20th
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SEO Question: I am interested in a topic, but am not sure if I should create a niche site within that topic or create a site about that topic?

SEO Answer: As long as there is a functional business model there it is almost always worth niching down a site. Having said that sometimes it makes sense to create a second site slightly broader nature as it will teach you more about how your niche fits into the broader category.

For a while a gave the advice that it might be a good idea to create a directory site one level above your category. For example:

  • if you did link building you could create a directory of SEO resources.

  • if you focused on SEO you could create a meta search engine, search rating system, or a site about search
  • If you focused on currency trading or currency collecting you could make a site about currency or the history of currency.

The broader sites need not be directories specifically, just informational sites you can use to help learn about your market. Other advantages of creating a site that relates to your end business are:

  • social networking: learn who the players in your market are. give them another way to find out who you are.

  • learn more about your business: if your portal becomes popular you may be able to sell ad space on it. The categories with the most interest or highest paying advertisers may be good businesses to jump in. I can't tell you how many SEO companies create sites based on ideas from blowhard prospective clients.
  • drive leads: The guy who owns StateCollege.com also uses that site to sell internet marketing services to local companies. You can target locally or topically.
  • nepotistic links: while listing other good resources you can list your site near the top of your category to help build your brand. If you keep the site fairly non commercial and make it useful (to where you often find yourself going back to it to use it) then odds are you should be able to pick up some good links.

After you get established and know what niche you want to work in it is probably best to focus in on the main site, but off the start it does not hurt to have a foot in a few different ponds until you figure out what you really want to do.

Also worth noting that it is easy to get discouraged because sometimes the only thing separating you and success is time and there is only so much that you can force it. After a year or so the logarithmic and profitable growth really kicks in though.

Published: February 20, 2006

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Comments

February 20, 2006 - 6:24pm

I've been in favor of running geo-targeted PPC advertising to selected audiences in selected areas of the country as the best way to address niche audiences.

The problem with the generic home page is - it can't address all the niche audiences that come to a site. Some companies such as IBM are developing Reverse IP detection pofiling and changing the navigation on the main page (ie: if your coming to IBM from FORD MOTER company - show me more links with Automotive information in the Learn About links on the main page - and show a dynamic ad about Automotive work and IBM).

With IBM site, you can also tell IBM, via preferences on the main page - upper right - what your interests are, what size company you have, etc, and the main page navigation changes somewhat.

Large companies have done the research to show that the "menu" approach to Navigation does not yield as many conversions as a Customized Navigation approach - but the field is still young and there's a lot more customizing ahead.

February 20, 2006 - 7:19pm

I resent being called a blowhard prospective client!

February 20, 2006 - 8:52pm

One thing that I've learned about SEO is that you should never close your borders on topics. As a site grows, it seems to consume more and more breadth and depth into a topic. GEO targeting is one example of this.

I would create one large site and plan on adding to it as your topic develops into more categories.

February 22, 2006 - 12:27am

I started out years and years ago creating sites with a lot of breadth but not much depth. The result: poor targeting and poor SE results and no income. I narrowed my focus a lot and was able to basically corner the market for searches on my topic.

I've since expanded back out, but I've been able to leverage what I learned with the narrow focus sites along with the connections I made locally so that my site now ranks fairly highly for my targeted keyphrases.

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