One of the commonly held beliefs among many website owners in relation to search engine optimisation is that if your website has more pages then it will rank more highly on Google. Today Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam fighting team, debunked the myth. In his latest video he has said that just having a website with a lot of pages that have been indexed by Google will not boost your rankings.
He does go on to say that if you do have a site with a lot of individual pages then you have more opportunity to generate inbound links to your site and if Google can see that a lot of websites are pointing to your site then it will encourage Google to crawl your site more deeply. This would tend to indicate that inbound links are still a major ranking factor for Google. In effect every time a website links to your content they are effectively giving your site a vote of confidence in the quality of the content that you are publishing.
It would be quite easy to construct a website with many thousands of pages but that would not be a good metric to measure the quality of the content that those pages provided. In order for search engines to get a good handle on whether your content is high or low quality then they need to look for signals about your site. One of the signals that is used by Google and Bing is the number of other sites that link to your content. This might, inadvertently, be the reason that so many people believe that large sites rank more highly than small sites. If you operate a large site with a lot of diverse content then you have the potential to generate a lot of inbound links to various sections of your site. The website owner whose site contains just a few pages is unlikely to get as many inbound links and it is this poor link profile that is likely to see the smaller site ranking below the larger site on search engines. You should be constantly looking to create content that is high quality and original. This is the sort of content that is more likely to lead to higher rankings by all the major search engines.
There is a lot of speculation about the importance of inbound links in Google’s search algorithm. This video would indicate that it is still a major ranking factor.