How Combining Content Can Help Your Website’s Search Ranking

March 6, 2019

In a recent Webmaster Hangout, Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller answered questions about when combining pages makes sense and when it doesn’t make sense, as well as some reasons why you should or shouldn’t do it.

The basic breakdown from Mueller was this: Yes, merging weaker pages into a single page may result in a strong and more relevant web page in the eyes of Google.

However, there are still certain rules to be followed, such as those pages must be complementary and address a single topic better as a combined page than as several weaker pages.

Combining Relevance Signals

The question that kicked off this answer was about the page authority signals.

Will combining the pages of content result in better ranking because of the merged “authority” signals?

Here’s the exact question that was asked:

“The “non-existent” metric of authority, my particular question, from that perspective for example a site ranks for a certain topic, a certain subject matter. You have a site ranking on position five and another one on position six and they kind of have good authority, page one.

If you merge them and they make some signals that merge into a single piece of content on the same topic, would it move up your rankings?”

Here is John Mueller’s answer:

“Probably. I think that’s something that generally… we see if you take two or three or four kind of weaker pages and merge them into one, even within the same site or externally, then that’s something where we can say that this is a stronger page.

We can see that… more parts of the site are referring to this one single piece of content so it’s probably more relevant than those individual small pieces that you had before.”

John Mueller’s response appears to confirm that because multiple other pages of the site are now pointing to this single page rather than multiple pages that this is a stronger signal of relevance.

Use a Primary Topic When Combining Content

During the hangout, another participant shared an anecdote of having merged two pages with different topics and seeing that the resulting page ranked less well than the two pages separately.

According to Mueller, this is because there is no primary topic.

Here’s his full response:

“I think if you have really different pieces of content on different topics and that can happen. Because it’s basically you’re taking two completely separate pages, you’re putting them on the same page and then our algorithms have to think about like, “What’s the primary topic of this page?

Like it might be this, it might be that, it might be some weird mix that we figure out.”

When it comes to combining pages, it’s ok to combine pages about a single topic, but from different perspectives – as long as it’s still about one primary topic. The page still needs to be focused enough to be able to answer a user’s question when they arrive to the page.

The takeaway for merging content is that the content must be similar and complementary in order for combined page to be stronger.

If you’re looking to expand or enhance the content on your website, call 407-682-2222 for a strategy session with one of our expert content marketers today.

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