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Google told one site owner, this is specific advice to one specific site owner and not meant to be a generalization for all sites, that he should not focus on his individual pages but focus more on the category level pages. The issue was the individual pages on this site had very little content on it and John thought a good strategy would be to create higher level pages that can have more significant content on them.

I believe the site is at neverhaveever.com, at least that is what was said in the question on this past week’s SEO hangout with John Mueller of Google. The question was:

Hi John. During the December update we have had a ranking drop to our game site, “Never have ever”. This is very surprising as in my opinion we have one of the best and most complete experiences for this type of site…..While other sites only offer questions for the game. We do that as well as show votes per question, we even had has country specific data (which is very interesting BTW Russian vs US for example). My question is was this drop due to something technical such as sitespeed / hosting? Or are we somehow not satisfying users as well as other sites? Or was this a mistake?

This question and answer started at 33:22 mark into the video. I will skip the generic advice, which Glenn sums up well in the tweet below. But John started his specific advice to this specific site at 35:59 in the video, John said:

I took a look at a handful of pages from your website and I could see how our algorithms might be a little bit confused with regards to how we should be showing this site in search.

In particular because on a lot of these pages there isn’t a lot of content there. So that’s something where if I if I go to random pages on your site i’ll have kind of that that card in the center and essentially everything else will be ads. And I could imagine that our systems struggle a little bit with understanding what should this page be relevant for. So that’s something where maybe it’s worthwhile to to kind of rethink a little bit how you want to be found in search and how you can put your best foot forward when it comes to being found in search.

One thing might be to think about like do you actually need all of these individual pages indexed or should you have something more about the content overall itself as an indexed thing. So maybe less focusing on individual pages like which would just have like one or two questions on them. And focusing more on, I don’t know, category of items, where you have more actual content on a page.

He specifically is telling this site owner to focus on the higher level pages because the deeper pages have very little to zero content. If you look at the site, you will see what John means.

Clearly it is hard for Google to crawl and index the site based on the navigation and site structure. If the category pages were done a bit better, Google can better understand the site.

Here is the video embed:

Now it is not always the right move to not focus on your individual pages but in this case, it does seem like the right next step.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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