Often, we run into the question, should we have one really long page on a subject or should we have five pages on a subject with a parent page? Here are some things to think about when considering whether to consolidate pages under one roof or have different pages, on a similar topic, with different keyword assignments. This topic is especially important following the Panda update.
Does your main page have enough content?
The amount of content you need really depends on how competitive the keyword is. For example, a niche product page on an ecommerce site might only need 100 to 300 words to rank pretty well. But a big competitive term would have more potential to rank if the page had 1,000 to 3,000 words of excellent content complete with facts and statistics. When considering splitting up pages or a template, think to yourself, will I be left with enough content on that main page to rank well for the term I am targeting.
Are the supporting pages different enough?
If you are creating tabs under a topic it is very important to consider whether the supporting pages are different enough. If you are going to be creating another URL, does it really make sense for that URL to stand on its own? Or is that page very similar to the main page, or another page, and should it be combined?
Do the supporting pages have enough content to live on their own?
Like the home page, the supporting pages also need to have enough content to live on their own. If not, it is better to get that content indexed on the main page. There are many ways it is technically possible to do this, while still creating the appearance of tabs (is that is what you want to achieve for usability) and you can push all of your great content to one page for maximum rankings. That being said, if you do have enough content it can make sense.
Are the supporting pages optimized for terms that matter?
One of the main benefits of creating multiple pages is that you can go after more terms. Each page can have a slightly different optimization and you can target a great deal more keywords. I am a big fan of making new pages, but only if the content is different enough and the keywords are different enough. Otherwise it would be better to keep that content on a consolidated page.
Would adding all the content to one page cause loading issues?
One reason why people have pagination or multiple pages on a topic is due to page speed issues that could occur if you add too much content to one page. One thing to keep in mind is that you might not want 10,000 words on one page. That is why a lot of sites create tabs or add pagination along with rel next rel prev, pushstate, etc. If your page is going to be too long, and take too long to load, it makes sense to break it up.
Have you thought about anchors instead?
One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to create a new URL. Instead, you can create an anchor that goes to a specific area on a page. You will see a lot of sites do this so that they can keep all the indexable content on one URL and provide a great user experience.
Links and UGC
External links will only all go to the main page if you only have one URL (or rel canonical, #, etc). If you have five Google facing URLs there is a good chance that those links will get sprayed around a little. One URL helps consolidate the linking.
One more point. User generated content such as reviews can be very powerful. If you have that on your site, you need to determine where you want that content to be ranked. On the main page or an internal page?
Summing It Up
I hope this post helps you determine the best method for your online business. In each scenario, page consolidation rules are different. But as a rule of thumb if the page feels really thin on content, it is usually better to consolidate.
- Thin content with little or no added value, Matt Cutts, Google. 2015