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I've launched a new website which is essentially a search engine for a large amount of data.

The website has a homepage with some content and a search box. Search results aren't indexed, and each result has it's own standalone webpage (70k pages).

The problem is that each page is very light in terms of content, probably too light to warrant finding a way to index them (via sitemap), as it could do more damage that good.

So there's two questions, really:

  1. Should I index the 70k pages? Each page just contains a data table.
  2. If not, how would I rank this site as it only has one page otherwise (homepage)?
  • You can't really. A site MUST have content that people are searching (on search engines) for. – closetnoc May 15 '16 at 2:14
  • @closetnoc Thanks for reply. I think the site will rank OK for the desired keywords, and I will be adding blog content to bolster this. Should I bother indexing the 70k pages as well, or will this do more harm than good? – user2565123 May 15 '16 at 2:31
  • You, yourself, indicated that you feel these pages are light in content. Why risk having these pages pinged by Panda, Penguin, or some other mechanism? Not everything should be made available to search engines. These days, with Google penalizing so many perfectly valid websites, I do not suggest walking along the edge of a cliff. Stay within the lines (guidelines) that Google gives us even if it is not clear exactly where those lines are. – closetnoc May 15 '16 at 12:08
  • Single pages will never rank well unless there is complete content that can compete. You mentioned adding a blog. That is good, but not fully necessary if you have content that at least explains what the data is and how it can be used. Adding a few well developed pages will help right away. Adding a blog, as long as each post is substantial, will help too. Just do not follow word count advice found on the web. It is about topic completeness and not about word count. Topic completeness can be short if narrowly defined or rather long if the topic is broad. Both are fine. It is about the topic. – closetnoc May 15 '16 at 12:21
  • @closetnoc My confusion was over whether it's better to have very little, but rich/useful, content. Or lots of weak/light content. But you've answered my question, and it was instinctively what I imagined to be the case. Topic completeness concept understood. Thanks for your responses. – user2565123 May 15 '16 at 14:07
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I've launched a new website which is essentially a search engine for a large amount of data.

It sounds like you're trying to re-invent google. This is a bad idea. No one wants to go on a search engine to search for a website which functions as another search engine.

The website has a homepage with some content and a search box. Search results aren't indexed, and each result has it's own standalone webpage (70k pages).

I suggest adding more creativity and not making searching a requirement in your site. Make your site more natural and interesting to guests.

The problem is that each page is very light in terms of content, probably too light to warrant finding a way to index them (via sitemap), as it could do more damage that good.

If you want, you can register your domain name with Google Search Console and check your sitemap status to see how many pages are indexed. I'm going to predict the number of indexed pages won't be in your favor due to very little content per page.

So there's two questions, really: Should I (attempt to) index the 70k pages? Each page just contains a data table.

Search engines are able to index quality pages. There's no sense in you attempting to index the 70k pages because search result pages aren't interesting pages people want to view. When I click a link in google search results, I want to see an interesting page with text and maybe graphics, not just a page showing more random search results. Just a data table might not be enough to qualify as a decent page to index unless there's quality and descriptive data in it with a heading and a paragraph or two above the table that describes it.

If not, how would I rank this site as it only has one page otherwise (homepage)?

If you really want to index the site, start with the homepage and create a document containing at least 200 words and optionally add images. Follow SEO tactics and test your page against multiple free SEO tools on the internet. Once you done that, then google just might index your page automatically.

  • To be clear, the site is a search engine for data unavailable via Google. I agree with you in that it's not worth indexing the 70k pages due to weak content on each. I'll build out the main pages of the website with relevant content to compensate for this. Many thanks – user2565123 May 15 '16 at 8:43
  • You'll be wasting your time with your idea because the results you'll likely produce will be pages of low-quality content, since nearly every high quality page on the net is indexed automatically by google. – Mike May 15 '16 at 16:07

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