How SEO for Large-Scale Sites Differs from Smaller Sites

By Tinuiti Team

In the world of e-commerce, it is not uncommon for sites to grow to hundreds of thousands, and even a million-plus pages. As your site scales up in size, there are some implications to your search engine optimization relative to smaller sites.

The following is an exploration of SEO differences between large and small sites. For the purposes of this comparison, large sites are those with more than 100,000 pages, and small sites have fewer than 100,000 pages. 

Advantages of Large Websites

There are a lot of advantages to having a larger website with more content when it comes to search engine optimization. In general, you have more pages and products to offer, and more potential to reach people through search engine results. The following are some additional key advantages of large websites:

Higher Domain Authority: Large sites with more pages ranking in search engines tend to generate more links and achieve higher domain authority.

Improved Link-Building: As noted, when you have more page links to share and distribute, you have greater potential to earn a diverse mix of high-quality links. Diverse, quality links influence SEO significantly.

Trust-Building: The more quality content you provide, the more trust you earn from visitors and customers. These people then spread the good word through social networking sites, blogs and review platforms.

More Financial Resources: More pages, more traffic and more sales lead to more revenue and profits. You can then leverage your greater financial resources to reinvest in growth.

Disadvantages of Large Websites

Not everything is better with a larger site. There are some drawbacks to growth, which also serve as advantages to having smaller websites. Large site disadvantages include:

More to Manage: Google looks for fresh, current content. The larger your site, the more pages you have to monitor, update and manage. Managers of smaller sites can operate with more nimbleness to update products and content to meet current SEO requirements.

Reduced Creativity: To efficiently scale your website, you normally have to rely on template-based page structure. With a template format, you can more easily replicate pages to promote new products and content. However, your creativity takes a hit relative to capabilities with smaller sites.

Lower Concentration: Because larger sites try to reach a lot of people with a large array of products and pages, focus or concentration is reduced. It is harder to demonstrate to users, and to search engines, what your site and page content is about. It is harder to establish a strong online brand without the niche appeal of a small site.

Limited Authenticity: Google prefers websites that offer high-quality, relevant user experiences. This reality suggests authenticity is important. However, it is harder to produce pages that are as authentic and relevant when you are in mass-production mode.

Common Pitfalls for Enterprise E-commerce Websites

In addition to the pros and cons identified, enterprise e-commerce websites face some additional pitfalls relative to smaller peers. These challenges include:

Duplicate Content: Duplicate content draws the ire of Google, and can lead to lower search engine ranking positions, and possible manual penalties. The more pages you have, the more chance there is that you could have some content duplication. Use the Google Webmaster Tools to identify duplication issues.

Wasted Crawl Budget: Because of the potential for redundancy and duplication, the crawl time on your site is not as effective at indexing new and updated content.

Information Architecture: It is harder to create an organized, well-structured site navigation, which adversely affects users and search engine results.

The preceding is just a short list of common enterprise e-commerce pitfalls. Other challenges include inefficient link equity, poor URL structure, breadcrumb setup, XML sitemaps, canonicalization, product variations and unique content, no-index and nofollow, and out-of-stock products.


As you build your e-commerce business, SEO plays a critical role in attracting more visitors to your website. There are some challenges to growth, though. Consider potential SEO implications before scaling up.

For more insights, check out E-Commerce Insight: Top 8 Shopping & Feed Tips!


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