Can a Website Be Too Big or Too Small?

Posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2010 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, SEO

One of the challenges we face in SEO content is site size. If a site is too small, it can be difficult to rank for all potential keywords. On the other hand, if a site is too big, it can be difficult to have enough differentiation to make each page count. So, what is an SEO content writer to do? What Makes a Site Too Small? A site can be five pages and not be too small if it’s a closely targeted site that conveys all necessary information. For example, a brick-and-mortar store that doesn’t have an online catalog will be well served by a small site that details their location, hours, and services provided. They don’t need to host 500 pages about their services. On the opposite side of the small site coin, we might find a small e-commerce site. Even an ultra-niche site may find value in expanding beyond the 30 or so pages needed for products and policy pages. Not everyone who reaches an e-commerce site is looking to buy that day. They may need information about using a product they already own, or they might be researching a problem for which one of your products is a solution. FAQs, tips, and related articles can increase the site’s size without weakening authority or straying from the core mission. Some of those informational visitors will eventually become e-commerce customers. What Makes a Site Too Big? A site can be 500,000 pages and not be too big if it’s an e-commerce site with a diverse product mix and a page for each product. In this case, an effective SEO strategy will make maintaining all those pages manageable, and improve the ability of each page to rank appropriately. A site becomes too big when the product mix can’t be properly maintained, or when every page is simply a doorway to the same product. For example, a lead-gen site could create a page for each potential variation of a four-word search phrase, but it will quickly lose its authority for users and the search engines. It’s simply not possible to write unique content on 16 variations of the same four words. In this case, the site would be better served by a smaller set of articles incorporating two or three variations of the search phrase in each article. How Do You Know If Your Site Is Too Small? Analytics is the simplest way to determine whether your site is too small. Is all your traffic coming from your brand terms and one or two related terms? Then you need to optimize your existing pages around additional terms, and consider adding authoritative content on additional keywords. How Do You Know If Your Site Is Too Big? Again, there are two simple approaches: First, ask yourself if you’re adding content just for the sake of adding content. If the isn’t part of a larger strategy and won’t serve a real benefit for your site or your customer, then you probably don’t need it. Second, is the new content being visited? If you’ve added a bunch of new content and none of it is receiving visits, or even being indexed, it’s possible that it’s not properly optimized, but it’s more likely that that content isn’t perceived as valuable to the search engines, and by extension, to your customers. Churning out content may work for the eHow’s of the world, but for the rest of the web, a targeted content approach that makes your site neither too small nor too big is the best way to get a return on your investment.

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9 Responses to “Can a Website Be Too Big or Too Small?”

  1. Corey Quinn says:

    Hi Aryn,

    Thanks for expanding on this issue. I think your point about a small offline business having a 5 page site is well taken. Question: will that same business do better by having 10 pages instead of 5?

    Corey

    • Aryn Kennedy says:

      It depends on the business. For example, a restaurant with a fairly static menu could add relevant pages by creating HTML menu pages instead of using hard to read menu scans. On the other hand, a plumbing business might not be served by a ten page site because it might be difficult to make those pages valuable to users and to the business.

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