istock_000009601110xsmallI wrote a post yesterday about poker minisites, and today I thought I’d write about “poker microsites”. The difference between a poker microsite and a poker minisite is that a poker microsite really is a small site with very few (1 or 2) pages. (If you read yesterday’s post, you’d see that I made a detailed description of how a poker minisite is narrow in scope but can still have lots of pages.) One of the examples of a poker minisite that I gaveƂ yesterday was a site about Texas holdem starting hands which had a page about each of the possible starting hands in Texas holdem.

A microsite on the same topic would focus on a single starting hand. A great poker microsite might be a 2 page site about “how to play pocket aces”. The homepage could feature information about how to play pocket aces before the flop in various situations. Then the 2nd page could feature information about how to play pocket aces after the flop in various situations.

Another example of a microsite would be a site that focuses specifically on a particular poker room’s signup bonus. I know a lot of poker webmasters do pretty well with such sites, but I always though that was a lame strategy. (But I’m a “write lots of content” geek.)

So what are the benefits of running poker microsites? For one thing, they can focus on specific keyword phrases in a way that big content websites and minisites might not be able to do. “HowToPlayPocketAces.com” is such a focused domain name that it almost wouldn’t make sense to include much more information than the two pages I outlined before. And with Google giving extra weight to exact match domains without hyphens these days, that can make ranking easy. Sometimes it’s nice to get an immediate and resounding win, and that’s a confidence builder for a new webmaster.

Another benefit of a poker microsite strategy is that you can focus on highly profitable phrases in a tightly-focused way. “GenericPokerRoomBonus.com” is a high conversion phrase. The amount of money you can make per 1000 visitors to a site focused on that phrase is naturally going to be a lot higher than what you would make from a poker basics tutorial site, just because the intent of a searcher looking for a specific poker room’s bonus is going to lead to a higher conversion rate. “How to play poker” might be a great, high-traffic phrase, but it’s not going to convert nearly as well as “pokerstars marketing code”.

One caveat about this second type of poker microsite though: most online poker cardrooms do not allow you to use their trademark or name in your domain. Some of them used to allow this, and some webmaster violate this policy, but it’s always best to doublecheck with the program before launching a microsite like this.

Keep in mind too that a company’s policy regarding using their trademark in your domain can change. I used to own a great Party Poker microsite, and I had their permission to do so as long as I agreed to use the domain just to promote their site, but they changed strategy and seized the domain. Golden Palace did the same thing eventually. The lesson to take away from this experience is that even when you get permission to run such a poker microsite, it’s usually a short-term source of earnings from a program.