One Big site or a Bunch of Small Sites?
One of the questions I am researching this month is which strategy is most effective for producing top rankings in the search engines, many small sites or one large site. Let’s assume the overall quality is the same. On page SEO, site design, and age of the sites are equal. Let’s also assume the keywords we are targeting for ranking are only moderately competitive. Will we get to the top with more sites, or a mega site?
The Quantity Theory
How could many small sites equal a better chance at top rankings? Let’s say we build 20 ten page sites. The sites will be pr4 in about 5 months based on past experience. This requires good content, on page seo, and proper linking with some backlinks. PR gives us a general idea of where the site stands in backlinks according to Google. The good news is we have a bunch of well designed keyword optimized sites. The bad news is we are unlikely to crack the top 5. Why? Generally the top 5 are older trusted sites with a number of backlinks and indexed pages. But, we may have2 of our smaller sites in the top ten and 4 in the top twenty. Excellent exposure and credibility in the search engine listings. We have an increased opportunity for advertising on the sites, link revenue, and targeting a more diverse audience with multiple site designs, than we would have on just one site. And it was quick, just 5 months.
The Mega Site Strategy
A monster site takes some intentionality in design and planning to support the many pages, laid out in a way that serves the visitors, pleases the search engines, and isn’t impossible to maintain. A mega site is built over time. Many quality pages (400) take more time to create, optimize and tweak. The site should be a pr5 in 7 months, pr 6 taking more time, pages and backlinks. The key to the monster site is quality content, yielding, numerous links. This one site has to do it all. All your sales, link revenue, advertising, ranking, all on one site. The good news is search engines love and trust large sites with lots of great content. The bad news is with one site you have one chance to beat out the competition and it could take a little more time.
Is one site easier than multiple sites to maintain? Slightly. Really because it’s a one stop shop vs multiple log ins and log outs. A big site can be hurt by one broken link on the home page, or one coding issue. Multiple sites give you more chances to succeed. The mega site can really develop in a healthy comprehensive way, pages branching off pages of related topics. Smaller sites tend to be a little more redundant.
The Comprehensive Approach
So do both. Build ten not twenty smaller sites. Link them all to a mega site. Why? You get a trusted mega site with lots of backlinks that is likely to crack the top 5 in the search engine results. You have ten smaller sites you can use to specifically target certain customer groups and certain search engines. You have increased opportunities for link revenue and advertising by having a large site and multiple smaller sites. You are at less risk for any major fluctuatiosn due to search engine algorithm changes. Watch out for duplicate content, and be prepared to put more time into maintanece.
Keep growing your webpire with quality and diversity, relatedness and relevance.