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We're working on a site and have come to a choice between one long (not too excessive) main page and several subpages.

The subpages would have custom metas/titles/h2 tags and the content that corresponds to them.

The main page would have all the content and many more inbound links (pagerank) and with longer content encompassing the content we'd put on the shorter pages.

Which would be better for seo and traffic in general? Both schemes are very usable to the user although we are a little concerned with duplicate content (the page's header/footer and other elements remain the same)

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Excellent question mate, I'm awaiting answers too – Atif Mohammed Ameenuddin Jan 5 '11 at 18:08

I tend to go with multiple smaller pages. You don't need to worry about duplicate content in the header and footer, Google and other search engines are aware that some content gets replicated through every page.

The nice thing about smaller pages is that the content is focused on that one subject. If you have a whole site worth of content on one page I think search engines would be find it difficult to find out what the page is about. They might not rank it as highly as a concise shorter page that only talks about one subject.

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If you have only one web page then it will most likely cover several topics and thus not be focused on any one topic. This will make it more difficult to get that page to rank well for one specific topic (you only get one page title, one h1, etc). If you break it down into multiple pages you will be able to focus each page on a specific topic. Additionally, interlinking your pages will also give you a (very) small boost as you will have the advantage of anchor text and PR transfer.

FYI, having the same header and footer does not count as duplicate content. If it did every website would have only one page in the index. Duplicate content only applies to the actual content on the pages.

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