combine pages together

Something I’ve been doing a lot lately across all my blogs is combining multiple blog posts together into one.

And it’s been working out really well SEO traffic wise. Longer articles get more traffic, rank higher (usually), and rank for more keywords than shorter articles.

But it’s not always the right move to merge articles together. Do it incorrectly and you might be doing more harm than good.

In this guide, I’ll show you when it’s the right move to merge articles together, and how to go about doing it. There are a lot more steps involved than just copy and pasting your old articles into a new one.

Why do this?

There are a several different reasons why you might want to merge posts together.

1. You want to rank higher for one of your target keywords.
2. You want to rank an article for more keywords.
3. You want to bulk up an article.
4. You want to get rid of lower quality articles that aren’t ranking or sending you any traffic.
5. You want to clean up your site architecture.

When does it make sense to do this?

This is the tricky part. And it takes a lot of analyzing before finally making the decision to go through with it.

The answer isn’t always in black and white and you have to consider a lot of factors.

Here are some of the situations when you should merge blog posts together.

REASON #1: You have multiple blog posts in the same topic.

Usually, you’ll see that one of them will rank and drive a lot of traffic, and the others won’t. If so, it’s time to merge the under-performers into the top performing article.

*NOTE: If all your articles are ranking well and driving good traffic, it’s probably not the right move to merge them. Only do this when you see one article far outperforming the others.

REASON #2: You have articles that are related to each other in the same overlying topic.

If you have several different blog posts that DON’T rank, and you don’t think it will ever rank and drive you traffic, consider putting them all together into one ultimate guide and targeting a new keyword instead.

It’s tough to fully illustrate this clearly. So I’ll try by giving you an example of one of my own experiences.

Recently, on the RankXL blog, I combined 4 blog posts into one. Here’s why.

Last year, I wrote 3 articles on blogging that were related to each other.

The topics were:
– How to create a blog content strategy for a new blog.
– How to drive traffic to a new blog.
– How to make money with a new blog.

Unfortunately, these were all targeting keywords that would take me way too much work to rank for. The top contenders ranking for keywords like “blog content strategy” and “drive traffic to a new blog” were sites HubSpot, CoSchedule, Neil Patel, QuickSprout, etc.

Sure, I might be able to rank for them in the long run. I could leave them and maybe they might drive some long-tail traffic.

But I also noticed that my “how to start a blog” guide was starting to rank for a few keywords as well.

Instead of spending months link building to these other articles and trying to outrank giant marketing sites for keywords that didn’t really mean that much to me, I figured I would just use them to help boost my rankings for the article that’s starting to do well.

And it made perfect sense to do so.

Consider the topics.

How to start a blog > How to create content for a new blog > How to drive traffic to a new blog > How to make money with a new blog

They were all relevant to each other, and worked one after another in perfect order. It was the perfect situation to create an ultimate guide style article.

So I combined them all into my “how to start a blog” guide and created an ultimate guide to starting a blog and making your first $1000.

example of combining blog posts

That is when it makes sense to combine articles together in this situation: When you can find articles that work together under the same overlying topic, and you can use them to create a step-by-step ultimate guide.

How to correctly merge articles into one

There are a few different steps involved. Let’s go through them one by one.

Step 1: Decide which URL to keep, and which ones to discard.

Decide which page will be the new home for all the combined articles, and which ones will be removed.

Step 2: Copy and paste all your “discard” articles into the home article.

Copy and paste all the content into your home article. You can use a text editor for this part to help keep you organized if you want.

Step 3: Format, edit, and finalize the new article

You can’t just copy and paste everything together and be done with it. There are things you need to take out like the “more link” tag, introductions, conclusions, etc.

You also need to go over the article from start to finish to make sure that it flows together. This will usually involve removing or re-writing a lot of the different parts.

Also make sure to remove any internal links to the old pages you’re going to delete.

Step 4: Set up redirects

Next, we need to set up redirects so that the older URL’s don’t lead to 404 pages. They are indexed pages and maybe they’ll even have backlinks. You want to redirect them all to the URL of the home article.

Here’s the plugin I use for setting up all my redirects: https://wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/.

When you’re setting up redirects, make sure you set it up like this for each URL:

Regex should be checked, and you need to format the trailing slash so that it redirects both with a slash and without a slash.

Like this: https://www.rankxl.com/old-url-to-be-redirected[/]?$

The source URL is the page you’re going to be deleting.
The target URL is the URL of the home article.

You should create a redirect like this one for every article that you’re removing.

And that’s it!

Step 5: Delete your old pages

Now that they’re redirecting properly, you can delete your old posts. They’re part of the new home article now so there’s no need to keep them active on your blog.

However, if you have comments you want to move over to the home article, then don’t delete them just yet. Complete the step below before deleting them.

Step 6 (optional): Migrate comments to the new page

I created a separate tutorial on this since there’s quite a lot to do in this step.

If you have existing comments from your old posts and want to migrate them over to your new home article, then check out this tutorial on how to do it.

Conclusion

I’ve been paying a lot more attention to on-page SEO than usual these days, especially for my existing blogs that already rank and drive traffic. There are just so many different things you can analyze and play around with.

Even just a change in the title tag can rank you for a new keyword overnight.

Constantly be checking your analytics.

Check what pages are ranking well: What can you do to improve them? Can you bulk up the article and rank for more keywords?

But more importantly, check what pages are not ranking well. Is there a different keyword variation you should target instead? Can you merge some of them together?

Combining blog posts together is something you may not have done before. But once you try it successfully and can see the results it can give you, you may become addicted to hunting for more opportunities in your analytics.

It’s one of the niftiest ways to increase your traffic without creating new content.

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Richard Patey
    September 17, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Good work Chris, optimizing against keyword cannibalization and for google index is the way forward!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      September 17, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks, Richard 🙂

  • Reply
    Rafa Labrador
    September 17, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Great post! It is very useful. I just doing the same with my clients with too similar articles, and the results are fantastic! Great tip the regex for final slash! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      September 17, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      Glad you found it helpful, Rafa! It’s good to hear that you’ve seen good results with this as well.

  • Reply
    Luke
    September 17, 2018 at 11:14 am

    In the past I decided to create many short blog posts out of my ebook. Altogether there are like 15 short blog posts. Today I think it would be better to make one long blog post instead of 15 short ones. I’m just not sure I fully understand Step 4. Does it mean I’ll have to create 15 source URLs and each of them should look like this: https;//mydomainname/nameofmyblogpost[/]?$

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      September 17, 2018 at 8:13 pm

      Yeah, each page you want to get rid of should be redirected to the new page.

  • Reply
    Himanshu Gupta
    September 18, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Great Post.

    It’s a great idea. I see people creating chapters, usually when the post gets very long as to divide it.

    What would you recommend? Indexing those chapter pages, coz sometimes it doesn’t make any sense.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      September 19, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Really depends case by case. Usually though, I’m a bigger fan of having it all on one page.

  • Reply
    Andy
    September 25, 2018 at 6:52 am

    It’s nice post Chris, do we have to keep this redirection plugin active or we can delete the plugin after redirect pages added?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      September 25, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      You need to keep it. It’s what’s creating and keeping those redirects in place.

      You can use htaccess to create redirects if you don’t want to use plugins.

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