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We just launched a new site in the middle of November. It has about about 1000 pages with lot of content (no funny stuff like hidden links, cross-linking, cloaking, etc.). Withing 15 days of the site launch, Google did a deep crawl. For many search phrases our front page came up within the top 20. The deep-crawled pages disappeared after a couple of days but the front page continued to have good search rankings.
About 15 days ago, we added another branch to the front page, with a slightly different branch of content (but related). The very next day, Google did a deep crawl of that branch, but stopped crawling the first branch. Additionally, our frontpage (which is visited by the Freshbot more or less regularly) now does not appear within the first 20 pages.
The toolbar indicates that none of the pages are yet ranked.
Is this phenomenon a temporary instability or should moving the second branch to a completely new site improve the relevancy of the original (more important) branch?
you may want to check this thread on everflux:
to come back to your thread title question on relevancy being based on a page or a site as a whole:
As far as I have been able to understand, Google still treats pages individually, or the maximum relevancy is between two pages.
You might want to check this thread on topic sensitive pagerank to get a feeling of what might happen in the future should it be technically possible:
when I add pages that are are off-topic from the main keyword phrasing, it lowers the ranking of the site for the main keyword phrase.
I don't see how this could happen. Ranking is by page, not by site. Perhaps some PR from your top pages has migrated to your new pages.
I don't understand how a SE could recognise off-topic pages. For example if there was a site about amphibians themed into frogs, toads, newts, etc, I doubt if a SE could tell that an added theme about grapefruit was off-topic.