Another GREAT guest post for the PAP blog. This one was submitted by TheMike537. Sorry for the delay, we had some major connectivity issues in Cyprus.

Recently there was a post on the PAP forums about using mini sites to improve your rankings on your main site. There was a lot of great advice in there, and I’m going to add a few more tips on how to set these up to be effective.

Mixing It Up

The only constriction you have with creating these mini sites is making sure that you don’t receive a Google penalty for spammy SEO tactics. To avoid this, there are a few rules you should follow:

Using Different Domains and Hosting

On the forums a lot of people mentioned that by setting up different IP’s on the same hosting block that you should be protected. If you’re a newer affiliate that can be very cost effective, but if you have the dough to spare I’d recommend setting up different hosting accounts for each site. This will insure that from a hosting perspective, you’ll never get caught. Also, make sure to enable private registration for all of your domains, as it has been rumored that Google is using WhoIs data to discoverer networks of sites.

Another easy way to mix things up is to avoid using all .com domains. Throw in a few .org’s or .co.uk’s to throw search engines off, and even a few free blogs at blogspot.com or wordpress.com.

Site Structure

One easy way to avoid network detection is by setting up your smaller sites with different site structure than your main site. For example, don’t make every site you run with the same extension (.htm, .html, .php, etc) or the same file name structure (keyword1-keyword2 or keyword1_keyword2). Also, if you are using redirect folders like many of us are, make sure to rename those or don’t use them on some sites. So if your main site is set up as mysite.com/go/poker-room/ try setting up your new site as mynewsite.com/out/poker-room/. Also, on some of your smallest sites that are driving very little traffic, you can set it up just with straight affiliate links instead of folder redirects to really switch things up.

Setting Up Your Site Network

Once you have multiple internet poker sites, you’ll want to know how to effectively cross link them to get the most link juice to your main site. I like to set it up on three levels:

  1. You have your main site on top – this is the site you are trying to get the link juice to.
  2. You have your mini sites on the next level. These sites are usually 20-50 pages, and are somewhat related so a sub-section of your main site. You can have as many of these as you want. These will all reciprocal link to each other, and one way link to your main site.
  3. Your mini mini sites are the third level. They are 5-10 page sites that are somewhat related to a sub-section of your mini sites. They cross link with eachother, and one way link to their respective mini site.

This is all detailed in my elaborate Paint drawing below:

Poker Affiliate Mini Sites

Now, as I’m sure you know, the above diagram is something that Google can detect very easily, and it’s something that they won’t really like. However, many of the major SEO players in this industry do things similar to this.

The way to avoid detection is to build trust before you start going crazy with the cross linking. Make all of your sites, get them indexed, and build links to each one with free article submissions, press releases, or purchased links. Then, from there, you can begin some light cross linking.

Once they are all indexed and somewhat trusted, you can really ramp it up and throw in all of the links that are listed in the above chart. It is especially important that your main site is already a trusted, aged site to avoid any penalties. Once your site has thousands of backlinks and a few years of age, you can really stretch the boundaries before seeing any sort of penalty.

Basically, this is a great, cost effective way to build targeted backlinks to your site that will never expire. If you have a huge budget it may be more sensible to just buy thousands of links, but if you are a medium sized affiliate the above diagram is a great way to build a nice network of sites, all pushing traffic and PR to your main site, without having to purchase hundreds if not thousands of links.