Does page count make a big difference in search engines

13 replies
  • SEO
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About 5 years ago we had 30,000 pages on our site.
Alot of it was thin content (results pages being duplicated) so we were advised to cull it and beef up the main pages when we started losing traffic i.e.

www.widgets.com/london/red-widget/page1
www.widgets.com/london/red-widget/page2
www.widgets.com/london/red-widget/page3

so we culled 2 and 3 and now have

www.widgets.com/london/red-widget/mainpage

Which has all the results..

Instead of panda lovin' the site and pushing us up, we declined in visits of the years as google de-indexed pages.

I now see a competitor with a similar domain strength and 150,000 pages (against our 3,000) gaining about 10 times the amount of traffic in Ahrefs.

Of course, there are many SEO factors, but was the culling of pages the wrong thing to do? Do you think it pays, when you have a listings site, to create as many pages as possible instead of fewer with quality?

bit of a how long is a piece of string question but just want some opinions on this strategy.
#big #count #difference #engines #make #page #search
  • Profile picture of the author Shenpen
    You seem to assume that having one page staying on the site will drive traffic to a different page on the site. I'm not sure how that would work. If you are hoping for traffic from organic searches you need to rank each specific page for the relevant serp or serps.

    It is easy to become speculative or even a bit paranoid about googles ability to read your site and punish you for sins that thought were doing the right thing.
    So perhaps you need to focus on the basics and make something work. Then build on that.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    It helps, in my experience. But it probably is not the reason, or not the main reason... Did the pages you deleted link to any other pages? Links from your own site to your site help SEO too.

    Why did you delete pages instead in changing the content and url

    /london/red-widget/buy
    /london/red-widget/testimonials
    /london/red-widget/how-to-use

    Something like that.

    Originally Posted by KulaShaker1 View Post

    About 5 years ago we had 30,000 pages on our site.
    Alot of it was thin content (results pages being duplicated) so we were advised to cull it and beef up the main pages when we started losing traffic i.e.

    www.widgets.com/london/red-widget/page1
    www.widgets.com/london/red-widget/page2
    www.widgets.com/london/red-widget/page3

    so we culled 2 and 3 and now have

    www.widgets.com/london/red-widget/mainpage

    Which has all the results..

    Instead of panda lovin' the site and pushing us up, we declined in visits of the years as google de-indexed pages.

    I now see a competitor with a similar domain strength and 150,000 pages (against our 3,000) gaining about 10 times the amount of traffic in Ahrefs.

    Of course, there are many SEO factors, but was the culling of pages the wrong thing to do? Do you think it pays, when you have a listings site, to create as many pages as possible instead of fewer with quality?

    bit of a how long is a piece of string question but just want some opinions on this strategy.
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  • Profile picture of the author KulaShaker1
    Hi

    Well its what we were told to do at the time.
    Many of our listings duplicate across different pages and we were told to delete all duplicates.
    So now, all of our pages are unique and but we dont have that many,
    On that day we culled our pages (we forgot to 301 properly) we lost 50% of our traffic.
    When we put the 301's in place, we never really recovered
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Duplicate internal pages is bad for SEO, it just creates unnecessary issues.

    If traffic needed the duplicate internal pages you could have simply used a canonical tag in the HTML <head> of each duplicate page pointing back to one internal page that you want ranked.

    With canonical tags you're telling Google, hey, I know there's duplicate internal pages, I'm not trying to blast fluff at the SERPs.
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  • Profile picture of the author webdevpro
    Yes, yukon is right. Using the canonical tags could be a great alternative instead of deleting pages. e.g. in classifieds sites where you should be able to access an ad page based on city or state level, using of canonical tags can be a life saver.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary Chapple
    Had this problem and sort of worked it out, but Yukon has just explained it. Everyday a school day!!
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Per the title... I do think page count does have an effect, minor Ill admit, but a number of minors ends up being something.

    Duplicate content on your own site CAN be an issue.. BUT duplicate content in terms of product pages... where the page title is different IE red widgets, blue widgets, green widgets and then all of the things SEO for the main topic are different IE the URL, the Title, text cues, Image names, Image Alt etc a conical tag would could and obviously should not be used.

    An example. Homedepot .com. Look at dimensional lumber. they sell 2x4 2x6 2x8 2x10 and 2x12 ( as an example ) and the more than majority of the text on these pages that have the same brand would be considered "duplicate content" these pages are NOT canonical tagged.. they are different in terms of the SEO elements.

    Local based pages another great example. The name of the City may be the only thing that changes in terms of text on the page, but again the SEO elements have changed. As much as Google says hey you shouldn't do this... they themselves do, they do some pretty cool stuff with geo tagging, but the reality is they have straight up duplicate content 50 times over ( one page for each state )

    I preach this stuff all the time... alter a piece of content to get the direct match term ( or close to it ) the fact is IT WORKS. In the instances of the examples above the practice defies what we all think "white hat SEO" is, but in the eyes of Google... its about as white hat as it gets ( there may be a caveat or 2 in there ) Exact Match term pages have always been and will always be good for SEO.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      An example. Homedepot .com. Look at dimensional lumber. they sell 2x4 2x6 2x8 2x10 and 2x12 ( as an example ) and the more than majority of the text on these pages that have the same brand would be considered "duplicate content" these pages are NOT canonical tagged.. they are different in terms of the SEO elements.


      Those aren't duplicate pages on Home Depot. They're very similar pages but not duplicate.

      Home Depot does indeed use canonical tags in their HTML source code. The canonical URLs point back to the same page/s. Notice the canonical URLs include the SKU number (more about that below).

      Code:
      <link rel="canonical" href="hxxp://www.homedepot.com/p/2-in-x-6-in-x-16-ft-2-and-Better-Kiln-Dried-Heat-Treated-Spruce-Pine-Fir-Lumber-161799/100015482"/>
      Code:
      <link rel="canonical" href="hxxp://www.homedepot.com/p/2-in-x-6-in-x-12-ft-2-and-Better-Kiln-Dried-Heat-Treated-Spruce-Pine-Fir-Lumber-161756/100014889"/>



      I'm also sure Google takes into account SKU numbers for catalog sites like Home Depot especially considering Home Depot is using schema itemprop markup in their HTML on their SKU numbers. Those numbers are unique.

      [View the HTML]
      Code:
      <h2 class="product_details">
      Store SKU #<span itemprop="sku" id="product_store_sku">161756</span>
      </h2>



      [View the HTML]
      Code:
      <h2 class="product_details">
      Store SKU #<span itemprop="sku" id="product_store_sku">161799</span>
      </h2>



      Schema definition for SKU numbers:

      The Stock Keeping Unit (SKU), i.e. a merchant-specific identifier for a product or service, or the product to which the offer refers.

      Google follows the schema.org markup with their own structured data testing tool.
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  • Profile picture of the author michaelkoehler92
    I dont see any relation of ranking with multiple pages.
    Viral websites use this method to increase CTRs and show more ads to users since they will move to next pages to see the similar content.

    I think you should focus more on redirecting those pages properly and over Offpage SEO.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by michaelkoehler92 View Post

      I dont see any relation of ranking with multiple pages.
      Viral websites use this method to increase CTRs and show more ads to users since they will move to next pages to see the similar content.

      I think you should focus more on redirecting those pages properly and over Offpage SEO.


      A redirect for a duplicate page is silly.
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  • Having more pages is better to an extent. You still want to ensure all of the pages have quality content or your website with have a high bounce rate. You also want to ensure you don't have duplicate content and have the same page titles on multiple pages. If you can avoid this, then all else being equal the website with the larger number of pages will likely rank higher on the search engines.
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  • Profile picture of the author KulaShaker1
    Thanks for the response guys.
    Keep in mind, the pages are not exact duplicates

    it could be

    Page 1 -
    Title: Red Widgets in Harrow
    meta description: Find red widgets in Harrow today etc

    Page title: Find Red Widgets in Harrow
    content: results 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10


    Page 2 -
    Title: Red Widgets in North Harrow
    meta description: Find red widgets in North Harrow today etc

    Page title: Find Red Widgets in North Harrow
    content: results A,B,C,D (then 1,2,3,4,5,6, from page 1)
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  • Profile picture of the author hariwebmaster
    Yes it may be but you should not redirect to duplicate page..Then it will affect your site quality and rankings..
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