A common offsite search engine optimisation strategy is to create a number of satellite sites which feed back to the main website and thereby create a level of link traffic which boosts the rankings.

But, it’s not that easy and requires a lot of work, and indeed, a fair degree of expense. And there is another danger in creating rapid, quick fire sites which feedback to the Mother Ship: cloning.

Just as Google hates duplicated content appearing on websites, so it does not appreciate numerous websites all looking the same and acting as clones around the central planet. This for Google smacks of manipulation because the satellite sites are not really there for a user experience, but to influence the rankings of the main website.

So the temptation for webmasters to use a single template and then continue using that across all the satellite websites is just too tempting. That’s why designers have to add in some flexibility, so that all the designs don’t appear similar.

And that’s why the satellite site strategy is not necessarily an easy option. It works, but only if the webmaster regards the sites surrounding the central planet not as satellites, but as planets themselves. Only then will the strategy work.

In other words, each satellite has to offer a unique user experience and be stand alone and a value in its own right.

If that doesn’t happen, then the hand of the Evil Empire will reach out and crush your rankings for all of the sites, main and clone.

And no-one wants that!

Attribute to: Neil Martin, Cayenne Red.

Neil Martin is a UK SEO consultant at Web Design Consultants Cayenne Red and is a regular contributor to the media on how companies market themselves in the digital age.