In SEO circles, the phrase site authority usually pertains to how ‘powerful’ a site is, and by ‘powerful,’ I mean that a ‘high-authority’ site has a high (or higher) tendency to rank for a given search term.
Alright, now that I’ve set that context, let’s move to our question, which was asked during the English Google SEO Office-Hours from October 8, 2021.
The video below is queued to the ~3:46 mark, which is approximately when a participant described his site’s situation and asked a question.
Basically, the site in question has about a thousand pages that, for whatever reason, don’t get any traffic, and the site team was considering removing those pages.
(As a side note, I recently wrote about a related topic. Old pages that are still useful are still worthy of keeping around. In the future, they might even have historical or chronological significance.)
Anyway, the development team had some hesitation about this, because they were under the impression that–and here’s the issue at hand–more pages means higher authority.
Is that true?
Quantity Does Not Equal Quality
John’s response was:
“Yeah, so it’s definitely not the case that if you have more pages indexed that we think your website is better.”
Okay, so that’s the answer.
John went on to state that if, for example, Googlebot saw a one-thousand page site, and then, saw a five-thousand page site, it won’t presume that the five-thousand page site is better.
Instead, it plays a more neutral role, and tries to do what it can with the content it sees on a site, no matter how many indexed pages there are.
John went on to reiterate what he said, “…but it’s certainly not the case that just having more pages indexed is a sign of quality.”
…I can see why some would think that many indexed pages equal authority, because many authority sites have many indexed pages. But that’s more of a correlation than a causation.
And, those sites don’t just have many pages, but many quality pages.
That’s a key distinction.