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.
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
Here is John
“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
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
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
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.