One of the questions Zen Marketing receive a lot relates to search engine optimization and website design. Search engine optimization is really about driving the prominence of your website in a search, but seldom do you read about the website in its entirety. A good SEO plan should improve the search engine results plus the web visibility of each page contained within a website. Given that, is there a specific number of pages that a website should to impact it’s SEO? Can your website have too many pages?.
Since every business we work with is different, every business website we design and build is uniquely different as well. Obviously the size of a local automobile repair shop’s website is going to be much smaller than an office products e-commerce website selling to customers on a national basis. So to answer the question from a design point of view, a business’s website should have the number of pages that is right for them.
But how does this design-oriented approach relate to SEO?
It is important to keep a few things in mind. Today every major search engine is motivated by the amount of new content. And while the search engines acknowledge (through their scoring) a website that is updated regularly they only truly reward websites that have lots of fresh, relevant, unique content. Thus, if you add pages just for the sake of affecting your SEO efforts the search engine spiders will actually rate you lower.
This is the very basis for the inbound marketing programs that we orchestrate for some of our clients. It impacts search results, improves lead conversion, and drives additional revenue.
The key to good SEO is the same as good content creation- keep your target audience in mind. If by creating one page that is nearly identical to another, and has similar information to another page, ruins the user experience then you must realize that it will also hurt you from an SEO perspective. The search engines will not know which page to rank for specific keywords, and in the end you will be simply competing with yourself. If the content is very similar it could even be considered duplicate content, which is also a negative to the search engines.
However, having too few pages can also negatively affect your SEO results. Why do people go to your website in the first place? Usually it is because they desire to learn more about a particular product or service that you offer. A website (just as any face to face meeting) must address questions or concerns that a prospective customer or existing client may have. If it doesn’t, you will fail to make an emotional connection which is an important goal for your website. Since the search engines want to provide users with the best possible results it is probable your site will not be considered a good result because your website content is lacking in scope.
When approaching website design and SEO we like to apply the KISS principal- Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Approach both design and search with a common sense direction and add or create what makes sense and do not force things or try to game the search engine process. Do not merely add pages for the sake of adding pages, there is not magic number of pages, and always remember that like your products or services it is the quality of your content that will ultimately determine your search results.
If you want more customers remember, there is never a penalty for quality.