Google’s John Mueller answers question about big sites and “authority”

3 min read

In an after-hours hangout, Google’s John Mueller responded to a query on whether a large site with thousands of indexed pages affects Google’s impression of site quality. No, it’s not a sign of quality, said John Mueller, who then went on to provide more details.


Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score that gives a measure of how successful a site is when it comes to search engine results. It was created by software development company Moz, and gives an overview of likely search engine performance.


However, you may not always be aware of how well your site is performing. Even when you believe you’re doing everything correctly, your website doesn’t appear as high in search results as you’d like.


It is believed that big brands or sites have an advantage over small sites which is partially true but there are lots of angles to this.


Despite the algorithm changes, people still believe that the exposure is inherent and cannot be overshadowed.


A similar question was asked by john mueller Let’s find out what it was,


This is the question:


“So you’ve recommended several times in the past that large sites focus on a smaller set of pages, I guess.


…The site I’m working on right now, we have a lot of pages that… a lot of pages… like a thousand pages that don’t get any traffic, that are old, so I’ve been recommending to remove those.


But there’s a question that our dev team

that they were under the impression that the more pages that Google has indexed on your site, the higher the authority it ascribes to the site…”


To this john mueller answered:


“So it’s definitely not the case that if you have more pages indexed that we think your website is better.


So I think that, at least, is absolutely not the case.

Sometimes it makes sense to have a lot of pages indexed.


Sometimes they’re kind of useful pages to have indexed like that.

But it’s not a sign of quality with regards to how many pages that are indexed.


And especially if you’re talking about something on the order of …1,000, 2,000, 5000 pages, that’s a pretty low number for our systems in general.

And it’s not that we would say, oh, 5,000 pages is better than 1,000 pages.


For us, it’s all kind of like, well, it’s a small website, and we make do with what we can pull out there.

And of course, like, small websites are relative. It’s not like saying it’s an irrelevant website.

It might be small but it might still be very useful.


But it’s certainly not the case that just having more pages indexed is a sign of quality.”


The algorithm doesn’t care how big your site is

It doesn’t take much thought to see how much of this challenges the notion that big sites have a benefit.


There are such examples of small sites that have outperformed and ranked above big sites.


Some can argue that brands can use their fame to boost their web pages rankings. But, if those sites contain more than a million pages, how much “push” do they actually have?


We’ve entered a new era of natural language processing, in which AI, machine learning, and algorithms like BERT, Neural Matching, RankBrain, and MUM collaborate to rank websites based on their words and images, rather than less trustworthy signals like links.


So as a small site, you have the following advantage over the big site:


So as a small website:

  • Experimental – You can experiment and tweak your content the way the audience likes, you have the freedom to take possible steps as small site experimentation and time are your strong suits.


  • Creativity. You are allowed to go outside the boundaries of what’s been set. If you have an idea, you can execute on it. There is no need for multiple approvals.


  • Focus. As a small business, you can choose to focus your web marketing efforts on one specific thing. So if you know that SEO is where all of your opportunity lies, you can ignore your other web marketing channels, you can ignore retargeting for a few weeks, you can ignore your PPC accounts for a few weeks and simply focus on SEO


  • Niche appeal. – You can choose to take a small slice of those for your particular business and say, “We’re going to focus exclusively on this, and we’re going to become the authority in this particular niche,” which gives you a bunch of advantages.


  • Authenticity on your side. So a big brand will often have big brand associations. A smaller brand can build a very strong positive association with, granted, a smaller audience, but you don’t need to monetize as many or as fast or as directly as a big brand needs to. You can concentrate on building your brand’s appeal to your very specific niche. If you monetize them well enough over time, you can build a great business, a small business but a great small business.


So don’t fear big brands and do what it takes to make your own audience, to know more click here.