Great Sites and Website Authority
Google’s John Mueller in a hangout during business hours answered a question about whether a large site with thousands of indexed pages influences Google’s perception of site quality. John Mueller replied no, that’s not a sign of quality and then provided more information.
SEO perception of a large site advantage
There is an old idea in the SEO community that large sites have an advantage over smaller sites.
When a smaller site cannot achieve top rankings, some will shrug their shoulders and write that the larger site has an advantage due to its size.
An article published on Moz in 2012 offers an example of the belief that big brands have an advantage:
“There has been a lot of debate about how Google, both manually and algorithmically, can favor big brands…
From the beginning of the internet, the eventual advantage of big brands was only a matter of time.
This article explains why I think this advantage was inevitable, why it’s not going away, and what you can do to be competitive.
It was a grim prospect in 2012 and it’s still a defeatist approach to marketing today, peddling the idea that ranking algorithms are rigged against smaller sites.
Despite new algorithms like BERT and MUM, many continue to believe that large sites have an inherent advantage.
Delete poorly performing pages?
The person asking the question explained that they wanted to delete old, poorly performing pages.
But they were pushed back by the site developers who claimed that making the site smaller would reduce the perceived advantage of being a big site.
This is the question:
“So you’ve recommended many times in the past that big sites focus on a smaller set of pages, I guess.
… The site I’m working on right now, we have a lot of pages that… a lot of pages… like a thousand pages, that don’t get any traffic, that are old, so I recommended deleting them.
But there is a question that our development team
a that they felt that the more pages Google has indexed on your site, the higher the authority it assigns to the site…”
The person asking the question goes on to explain that the development team is reluctant to remove pages because they fear it will affect the authority of the site.
He then asked John Mueller to “shed some light” on this idea of Google seeing a big site as more authoritative.
Google’s John Mueller discusses great sites and authority
Great sites aren’t inherently better
John Mueller burst the bubble on the idea that big sites, being big, have an advantage over small sites.
John Mueller’s answer on a link between authority and site size is unambiguous:
“So it’s definitely not the case if you have more indexed pages than we think your website is better at.
So I think that, at least, that is absolutely not the case.
Sometimes it makes sense to have lots of indexed pages.
Sometimes they are useful pages to index like that.
But this is not a sign of quality when it comes to the number of indexed pages.
And especially if you’re talking about something in the range of… 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 pages, that’s a pretty low number for our systems in general.
And it’s not that we would say, oh, 5,000 pages is better than 1,000 pages.
For us, it’s kind of like, well, it’s a little website, and we’re making do with what we can get out of it.
And of course, like, a small website is relative. It’s not like saying it’s an irrelevant website.
It may be small but it can still be very useful.
But it is certainly not true that simply having more indexed pages is a sign of quality.
Related: How do you outperform larger sites for high competition keywords?
Big is not an advantage
Much of this doesn’t take much thought to crack the idea that big sites have an advantage.
Me and many of my e-commerce customers regularly outrank big brand retailers.
Some might say that brands are able to leverage their popularity to push their web pages higher. But if these sites have over a million pages, how much “push” do they really need to tap into?
We are immersed in the new era of natural language processing where AI, machine learning and algorithms like BERT, Neural Matching, RankBrain, MUM are all working together to use the website words and images themselves to rank websites, reducing the influence of less reliable signals like links. .
So it makes sense that Mueller would discourage the idea that having more indexed pages is an advantage in the current phase of search technology.
Related: How to Get a Small Website Ranking High on Google
More indexed web pages mean higher authority in Google?
Watch at the 3:45 minute mark