As a white label SEO reseller and online marketing consultant, perhaps you have encountered this question a few times. Business owners who have previous experiences working with website professionals and agencies may have inquired about this. Perhaps you’ve heard this from a colleague. But is this really true? Can you really increase a website’s overall search ranking by creating as many indexed pages as possible? Here’s the answer, directly from Google’s Matt Cutts:
“I wouldn’t assume that just because you have a large number of indexed pages, that you’ll automatically get a higher ranking. That’s not the case,” search spam chief Matt Cutts said.
Watch the full video below:
Explained: Why Large Sites Rank Well
If the number of indexed pages does not directly affect rankings, then why do large sites tend to rank well? The real reason is not the indexed page count but the links pointing to those pages. Cutts explained that typically, a site that has more pages has more links pointing to it. Therefore, it has more PageRank – one of the many ranking signals Google’s algorithm uses to determine which pages should come up for particular searches.
“If that’s the case, we might be willing to crawl a little bit deeper into the website. And if it has higher PageRank, then we might think it’s a little bit of a better match for users’ queries,” he said.
Apart from getting the opportunity to catch more inbound links and PageRank, having more indexed pages has another benefit: ranking for more individual queries or keywords. Naturally, target keywords will be spread throughout pages. This means the site that has more pages and can compete for more keywords.
Dangers of Adding More Pages… Carelessly
Right now, you might be thinking that the best way to rank your clients on Google is to create a lot of pages and get inbound links for these pages. In theory, that can work. However, it can also be a dangerous recommendation from an SEO reseller. The creation of a large number of pages can result in major problems for your client’s website if carried out the wrong way. Some of the common problems large and growing websites face are:
- Page Duplication – The best example is the presence of both www and non-www versions of a page. This is confusing to search robots.
- Crawlability Issues – When search engine crawlers or spiders can’t find (and therefore index) your pages because they are too deep and there are no links or bridges to reach them. Count broken links here as well.
- Bad Navigation – Crawlers can sometimes survive a convoluted website as long as there are no broken links. It’s a different story when it comes to users. Forget about converting them to leads or sales if they get lost in your site every time they make a click or two.
Know Your Indexed Page Count First
The best way to determine the indexed page count or the number of pages indexed vs. number of actual pages is to get a website audit. This process also uncovers if the site has any of the common problems large and growing websites face.
But before you get an audit, use this free and simple method first. Go to Google. Type the code “site:” followed by your domain on the search box and press enter. You can use the same code for Bing and Yahoo. It’s like this:
The search results will indicate how many pages of your client’s website have been indexed by Google. From there, you can determine whether all pages are indexed or not. For example, if you have a total of 100 pages and there were 100 search results, that means all pages are indexed by Google. If that’s the case, then that is great news.
The problem is when the website has 100 pages and only 20 of them are indexed. Google must index at least 80% of these pages. Another problem is when you know that you have 100 pages but search results show 150 pages. These abnormal site saturation rates are symptoms of serious underlying problems that can affect the site’s performance, and consequently hamper the business from getting leads and sales.
Before You Create More Pages for Indexing
Creating more pages and content is the natural progression for a website. Typically, older sites have more indexed pages. However, problems mentioned above may arise if you are careless. Here at Endlessrise, we always recommend to our partner agencies and resellers to always conduct website audit for clients first before they offer other white label SEO services. Feel free to watch this webinar recording about professional grade site audit reports to understand how you can land clients with these reports.
Here are some audit reminders:
- Get a Healthy Indexed Page Count – If Google indexes way below 80% of the website’s actual pages, there is something wrong. Sometimes it can be as simple as a misplaced robots meta tag code that prevents crawlers from indexing certain pages of a site. Sometimes it requires redirecting www versions to non-www pages, or vice versa.
- Fix Broken Links – Broken links prevent robots from reaching or crawling pages. If they cannot be reached, they cannot be crawled and they cannot be indexed. Ensure all links are working and do not point to an unavailable page. A 404 error will most likely make a prospect click exit. Implement redirects when necessary.
- Know Your Target Keywords/Pages – Carry out URL mapping to determine target keywords for specific categories or pages. The content and pages you will create will depend on this URL map. And more importantly…
- Ensure Correct URL Architecture – A proper structure guides both search engines and humans in navigating through the website. This ensures all necessary pages, old and new, are crawled and indexed by search engines.
- Build Natural, High-Quality Backlinks – Of course, all these indexed pages won’t help the site rank better on Google if they do not receive high quality inbound links. As Google’s Cutts explained, it’s the PageRank in the pages that matter, not the number of indexed pages. These blog posts will help: the Top 10 Link Building Mistakes and Say No to Link Schemes – Unnatural Link Building.
And don’t forget…
Need help in growing and ranking your clients’ websites? Sign up as an Endlessrise SEO reseller today. We can design, build, audit, and optimize websites so you can help your clients get more leads and sales.