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I'm wondering if anyone has advice on when to merge related pages, or keep them separate.

Example, I have two pages currently for a music website: One page is for music recordings and the other is for sheet music.

I'm considering merging them, so Google sees just one listing, and to simplify browsing and searching on my site. But then I worry, will I lose more niche traffic that might be going to each separately?

Any suggestions on if I'm likely to lose or keep my traffic, or how to know for sure?

  • Very good question. Did you mean 2 different websites or 2 different pages of a particular website? Let me know and will cover this in detail for you. – TopQnA May 5 '17 at 10:58
  • One website, for example if I have multiple versions of the same piece like "Chopin Nocturne #3" one being a music recording, and another being the sheet music. I'm thinking of merging into one but worry I'll lose the seo of "music recording" vs "sheet music" for each – Jonathan Winters May 5 '17 at 20:37
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Remember the industry mantra "Do what's best for the user".

Like anything else, put your customers first. People looking at the recording of the music may expect to see related content (the sheet music) on the same page.

Update your title tags and meta to reflect that the page has both, and your SEO and UX should be safe.

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Good that you clarified about one site.

Let me explain this in general.

Those two pages 1) Music Recording 2) Music Sheet returns significant traffic on each then keep them separate.

You may merge in following condition: Let's say you got main traffic in one page and other got very little then you may consider merging them.

Remember if you got significant backlinks on both pages then it may not be good idea as it will increase the number of backlinks provided there will be 301 redirect to parent page.

To understand in simple way, if you got ranking naturally without doing much SEO and if those two pages are very similar for user then it should be fine to merge. And merged page should have 301 redirect to parent page.

Hope this will help you.

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I'm going to expand on James's answer: "do what's best for your user".

If each page fits on half a screen (or uses less space) and the pages are related enough then it makes sense to merge two pages together if you can modify the descriptive paragraphs of each page to make everything blend in nicely.

If however, each webpage requires a user to scroll down 200 pages to get to the end, then condensing the text or eliminating some text may be in order.

If by chance the webpages in question are somewhat related, then it might not make sense to merge them together, especially if one is a category of another. For example, if you had a page about fruits and one about apples, and one about oranges, then I'd leave them separate because even though apples and oranges are fruits, you'd have a whole article on apples, a whole article on oranges, and a whole article on fruits with links to apples and oranges, and it definitely would not make sense to merge entire articles on apples and oranges on the same page as the page on fruit itself, otherwise users would be required to endlessly scroll to find what they are looking for.

Whatever you do, please don't merge ridiculously long content (particularly sets of oversized images) onto one page or you'll feel the frustration of this one OP from this question: Internet Explorer take very long time to answer with 80MB response

I will expand more on TopQnA's answer: "use redirects".

When you do your merging, make sure you keep your old links working, then test everything out. This means your old links and new links so that search engines like google don't think you're playing games with it.

Once you have finished merging necessary content, then convert the old links to redirect to the new merged content.

For example:

Say you have "recordings.htm" and "sheet.htm" and you want to merge it all into "recordingsheet.htm"

Your first step would be to copy relevant data or even all the data from "recordings.htm" and "sheet.htm" and store it in "recordingsheet.htm". Make NO modifications to "recordings.htm" and "sheet.htm" at this time since search engines are scanning everyone's server several times a day for new content.

Once "recordingsheet.htm" is complete and ready for the public, then you'll need to modify either "recordings.htm" and "sheet.htm" itself so that all each page does is redirect a user to "recordingsheet.htm" or you can even modify this in server configuration using redirect rules. If your server is apache, then you may want to learn how the mod_rewrite module can help you redirect pages.

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