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How to Avoid Content Cannibalization

How to Avoid Content Cannibalization

Reading Time: 3 minutes
How to Avoid Content Cannibalization
While Google doesn’t punish websites for having duplicate content, content cannibalization is still an issue. There’s already enough competition out there for rankings without having to compete with yourself as well. Content cannibalization occurs when you have web pages of similar content. Google will filter out duplicate content, but similar content will end up competing in the rankings for the same keywords. Google will typically only display one of the pages, but which one gets displayed may differ depending on the day, ultimately resulting in lost traffic to both pages.

So how can you avoid content cannibalization?

What Is Content Cannibalization?

Content cannibalization, or keyword cannibalization, occurs when multiple web pages (or blog articles) contain content that is too similar to each other. These pages will then compete with each other for the same keywords, confusing search engines. Google isn’t sure which one to rank and it may not rank the same one on any given day. This means that instead of driving traffic to both pages at the same time, you’re actually dividing your website’s traffic between the two pages.

Can Internal Links Cause Cannibalization?

The internal link structure of your website can also sometimes cause cannibalization that can occur independently of the pages’ content. If you consistently link to a sub-page on your website, much more so than the home page, then Google may determine that that sub-page is more important than your home page in the hierarchy of your website. When this occurs, the ‘more popular’ web page may be displayed in the search results. This can drive traffic away from web pages that you want to have more traffic.

How Do I Determine that Content Is Too Similar?

To discover which pages are too similar to each other, you can look at which pages aren’t getting as much traffic. The reason for the lower traffic may be cannibalization. You can also do an audit of your content. Look at the content of each page and determine its focus and intent. If two similar pages have different purposes, then there are steps you can take to further differentiate them. If they have the same purpose, then merging the two together may be a better solution.

Can I Merge Content that Is Too Similar?

One option to avoid cannibalization is to merge together any pages that have topics that are too similar. This will direct all traffic that used to be split between the pages to just one, unified web page. Plus, merging content may have the added bonus of fleshing out thinner content. The combined web page will be longer and overall more informative and useful to users.

How Can I Differentiate Pages?

If merging the pages’ content isn’t an option or isn’t preferable, you can try instead to differentiate the pages. Go over the on-page SEO for each page and check the meta-data. If you can re-name headings and the pages’ titles, that can help differentiate them further, both for users and for Google’s algorithm.

It’s also a good idea to go over the content of similar pages. Some rewriting to differentiate the focus of each page may benefit both pages.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

How to Create Content that Matches User Intent

How to Create Content that Matches User Intent

Reading Time: 3 minutes
How to Create Content that Matches User Intent

User intent has been a major buzzword in the world of SEO, especially since BERT was released in 2019. BERT was implemented to improve Google’s algorithm so that it could better interpret users’ intent behind searches and therefore provide them with more accurate search results. With Google trying hard to match SERPs to user intent, it’s important for SEO experts to match content to user intent as well in order to continue to rank well.

Focusing on user intent will result in a better overall user experience for visitors to your website. On top of that, you’ll have a lower bounce rate as only users who are actually interested in your content will be directed to your site.

What Is User Intent?

User intent is a user’s purpose for performing a search. If a user is searching for “coffee in Orlando” they’re most likely performing that search because they want to know the locations of coffee shops in Orlando so they can go to one of those locations and purchase a cup of coffee. Results that showed them the history of coffee in Orlando wouldn’t be as useful to that user, even if the keywords matched between the content and the search.

How Is User Intent Identified?

In your keyword research, you can identify user intent from the wording they use in search queries. Sometimes it’s easy because a search query is a full sentence. This often occurs with voice searches, which are becoming increasingly common and are typically carried out in a more conversational fashion.

However, occasionally a user will search using only a few words. In cases like these, you can look at the following to determine intent:

  • Suffixes and prefixes
  • Synonyms
  • Syntax
  • Intent modifier (ex. ‘Best’ or ‘buy’)
  • Typos

 Someone searching for ‘buy coffee in Orlando’ is more clearly searching with the intent to purchase coffee. Searching for ‘best coffee in Orlando’ will provide slightly different search results. However, both search queries will produce commercial results, assuming that the user wants to buy coffee. If someone has typed ‘but coffee in Orlando’, it’s probably safe to assume that they meant ‘buy’ instead.

How to Create Content that Matches User Intent (1)

How Do I Match My Content to User Intent?

After identifying keywords that you’d like to rank for, the next step is to search with those keywords. What content appears in the top spots on the SERP? The highest-ranked results provide content that best matches what Google interprets the user’s search intent to be. If a search query has multiple possible interpretations and the SERP shows a variety of different results, the ones at the top are the results Google deems most relevant to the search.

It’s important to make sure that your content is actually relevant to the user’s intent behind their search for the keywords you’ve chosen. For example, if your business sells coffee mugs, trying to rank for ‘best coffee in Orlando’ isn’t a good SEO strategy. Most users searching for the best coffee in Orlando are searching for a cafe where they can purchase the beverage, not a mug in which to drink it at home.

If the content on your website isn’t about the same thing as the top-ranking results on the SERP, then your content may match better with different keywords.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.