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Competitors have millions of pages - how can we compete?

 4:47 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

We have a moderately big regional site. As of now we have 20,000 pages of great unique content. Every page is linked internally to 20 most related pages. And we get fairly good long tail traffic.

We have 3 big competitors, all of them with sites having millions of pages. (less than 5 million). Most of the pages are made up of tag pages, members profiles pages, search pages etc. This strategy seems to be working for them.

My question: What's our best shot against them? The keywords they cover through auto generated pages are such that if we go by the editorial route we won't be touching those keywords in foreseeable future. But these keywords/keyword-phrases are hundreds of thousands in number. We do believe that we can outrank them based on relevancy.




 12:23 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't believe that the number of pages on a site has a significant impact on rankings. A PR 6 site is probably only going to be able to get 500 thousand pages indexed even it it has 5 million. Of those that are indexed, only 10,000 or so will probably get even a single referral in a month. Your competitors might even be wasting some juice trying to support so many pages instead of focusing the effort on the set that actually gets traffic.

However, in my experience with multi-million page sites, you can launch 100,000 new pages at PR 1 and 2 levels and it doesn't effect your traffic at all. You can put a section of your site with millions of PR 0, 1 and 2 pages that get little traffic into robots.txt and it doesn't effect your traffic at all.

So from a pagerank sculpting perspective, link more heavily to the pages targeting the high traffic keywords and worry less about number of pages.

I also believe that user experience is a large factor in Google's ranking algorithms. If, as you say, your site can offer a better user experience than your competition, that should give it a leg up in the SERPs. Make sure you are paying attention to the metrics that Google can measure: CTR from SERPs, time on site, and bounce rate.


 8:06 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

As of now we have 20,000 pages of great unique content....My question: What's our best shot against them?

Personally, I look at average income per page per day as a main metric. I don't know what your expenses or break even costs are, but if each of your pages made just a dollar a day, that would be $ 7.3 million a year.


 2:28 pm on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would suggest you read the leaked AOL document about how they plan to run their large content site in the near future. The document talks about how they plan to use four considerations for generating new content.
1st - traffic potential
2nd - revenue potential
3rd - quality
4th - time involved

Also don't forget that generating content is only part of the ranking battle. Having good internal linking structure is another big influence of rankings for very large sites. Make sure you have a good strategy to maximize your crawl budget and focus your link juice.

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