Content Strategy: Create Many Pages Or Fewer But Stronger Pages?
A web admin recently asked Google’s John Mueller about creating content with targeted Google SEO keywords. Their query centred on whether it’s better to create a few strong web pages that include the targeted main keyword and its related SEO keywords rather than writing separate pages for each of the related keywords.
The question is an interesting one, raising issues about how best to strategise content creation around the main and related keywords. The individual’s example was a one-word keyword, “smartphones”, which they stated carried transactional intent. However, a keyword this generic and all-encompassing is rarely likely to have a transactional intent; instead, it’s liable to fall under the commercial investigation intent category, which covers scenarios where potential buyers are in the early research stages and checking out models or reviews of smartphones on the Internet.
Transactional intent keywords, on the other hand, are more typical once the searcher already knows which product or service they want and are in a position to buy it. Transactional intent keywords are therefore likely to be longer phrases indicating intention to buy.
The individual asking the question owns an ecommerce website and writes content depending on the keyword suggestions that Google autocompletes. If the main topic is ‘smartphones’ for example, they will create a blog post or similar giving users more content centred on that main topic.
So, they ask, should they create separate contents for separate keywords on the one topic, or combine all the related SEO keywords into one post, and optimise that?
Mueller answered that either method is fine; it’s more of a strategic decision really.
Generally, an SEO expert should balance two things: creating pages that are specific to individual topics and writing fewer, more general pages.
Where there are fewer pages, those will become a bit stronger because they carry more weight. However, if you create many pages, then the value is spread out that much more.
So, if you’re competing with a lot of other companies on specific topics, you should aim to concentrate on creating fewer but stronger pages. For keywords where the competition isn’t particularly fierce, then adding more web pages can be a good idea. Broadly speaking, that’s the kind of approach you should take.
If you’re an absolute beginner in your market, what you’ll probably want to do is concentrate on fewer pages because that will make you stronger in that area. And then, as your site becomes more successful, you can start splitting off into a greater number of distinct pages that focus on more specialised subjects.
How To Make Google Prefer The Important Content
The individual who posed the original question then came back with a follow-up query, this time asking Mueller how they could make Google accord greater priority to pages with transactional intent.
Mueller said Google can’t promise any special treatment, but one way to make sure the right pages get noticed is to use strong internal linking. He said SEOs could emphasise the site pages they want highlighted more by ensuring they’re well-connected internally. For pages they don’t consider to be as important, they can ensure Google seeks them out as less of a priority by including fewer internal links.
Internal linking is usually done by linking to and from pages on the home page. Meanwhile, less important pages are linked from within a category or subcategory page.
Doing this ensures Google will identify the home page as essential when it crawls and indexes their website. The homepage then directs the crawler to five other internal pages, ensuring each is seen by the search engine as almost as essential as the home page. From there, the value is dispersed out. That’s one way for SEOs to help Google decide which pages are critical and which are less so. That doesn’t, of course, mean that this strategy will work every time. But it is an effective way to provide that data to site users generally.
Choosing The Best SEO Content Strategy
There’s a good reason why the individual concerned asked this question. Many publishers have crucial pages that are aimed at conversions and less essential pages that contain additional information and serve to redirect more site visitors back to the more important pages.
However, sometimes things go wrong, and Google may start to prioritise the less essential pages. And that’s why Mueller suggests this method for directing Google to the more important pages by utilising internal linking patterns.
If it’s not easy for the more important pages to attract external links, then you can use the less essential ones as link magnets to attract those all-important external links and then redirect them to the important pages. This means the internal linking will continue to point to the primary page it supports.
It emerges, then, that deciding whether to build a few big, powerful pages or a host of smaller, less powerful ones is more complicated than just relying on keyword targeting. Those “less essential” topics are sometimes the most popular in terms of quality external links.
The other interesting point Mueller makes is the importance of beginning with smaller, more manageable sites before expanding to larger, more scalable ones.
Mueller suggests that if you’re new to the world of marketing, it will pay to start with fewer pages and generate as much strength in that field as possible. Only then, as you progress and grow, should you split off individual pages to focus on more niche topics.
That’s a great strategy that mirrors how a business might grow. For instance, you could start out selling smartphones, and writing content pages focusing on that keyword, and then branch out into phone accessories, creating pages that each concentrate on different smartphone accessories. That’s the way to conquer new territory and build your empire.
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