SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a group of techniques designed to optimize a site's visibility on the Internet. This translates into web pages appearing at the top of search engine results. keyword search. This is the main objective of online platforms. Indeed, when a page appears among the first proposals, it easily attracts Internet users. 

Search engine optimization is no small task. In fact, it's possible that several pages on the same site are positioned on the same keywords. As a result, the performance of each page is reduced. This is what we call "SEO cannibalization". Let's take a closer look at this situation, which could wipe out your SEO efforts.

What is cannibalization in SEO?

Cannibalization is a common phenomenon. However, its contours are still unclear to some professionals. It is important to define it in order to better understand the impact it can have on page referencing.

The definition of SEO cannibalization

Cannibalization is a situation that occurs when several pages of a website target the same keywords. They may also be the same key phrases. It is common among the largest platforms, which have a high volume of texts. It can also affect niche sites that restrict themselves to specific subjects.

Cannibalization is the result, recurring keywords which appears when texts deal with related subjects. For example, you have a website that allows you to offer car rental services. Cannibalization occurs when you are working on two or more pages of your platform on the same keyword "car rental". The same is true when it comes to d'other variants of this keyword like "rent a car". 

For example, when an Internet user makes a request on Google using the keyword "car rental", several of your pages will stand out in the SERPs. This may sound like a good thing for your online visibility, but it's not. In fact, cannibalization considerably reduces your site's performance in a number of ways. 

The impact of SEO cannibalization 

When several pages on your website target the same query, search engines can't decide which should appear first. In this case, the search engine may choose the content that appears to be the most relevant. most relevant to the keyword. At the expense of other pages. However, it's possible that the highlighted page isn't the most relevant to your business. Internet users will therefore access content that doesn't correspond to what they're looking for. The result, you generate less sales. Vur potential customers land on a presentation page instead of a transaction page. 

What's more, the cannibalization reduces performance of each page. In fact, this case has the effect of dividing relevance signals between several texts. Signals that would normally be concentrated on a single page. As a result, each of your competitors' more relevant pages will overtake yours in the SERPs. 

You should also note that cannibalization undermines the reputation of your online presence platform. Internet users tend to question sites with articles on the same subject. As a result, they don't hesitate to redirect themselves to other platforms. This inevitably increases your bounce rate

The differences between cannibalization and duplicate content 

Cannibalization is often confused with duplicate content. However, these are two different phenomena. Cannibalization occurs when several texts on your website are positioned on a single same keyword. Duplicate content occurs when two pages with the same content. This is sanctioned by Google. 

Despite this, cannibalization and duplicate content can have the same damaging effects on your site's SEO. In most cases, Google will penalize the page you wish to highlight on the SERP. It may also be cannibalized by another of your articles. 

Note that even if you take all the necessary steps to create unique texts, the cannibalization risks remain. Indeed, many online platform owners unknowingly fall victim to this situation. However, some platforms see cannibalization a way to increase click-through rates. Indeed, they hope to fend off their competitors by ensuring that several of their contents appear on the SERP. This strategy is not recommended, since Google's algorithms are complex.

What factors encourage cannibalization? 

Cannibalization is a rare occurrence on the Internet. On the other hand, there are a number of factors that encourage it. 

Duplicate articles

Very often, the creation of similar texts is at the root of cannibalization. Indeed, some marketers choose to work several pages on the same keyword. This is to increase the site's visibility. Their reasoning is simple: the more pages that address the same theme, the more they will appear in search results. 

In other cases, cannibalization occurs as a result of technical errors such as : 

  • Wobbly URL management.
  • Indexing page filters.
  • Duplicate content due to duplication of HTTPS and http versions.

Whatever the factor that led to cannibalization, the result remains the same: the confusing query platforms

Flaws in the organization of headings and tags

If you have an e-commerce site, you need to make sure that you organise your sectional pages with optimal delimitation. Otherwise, you risk ending up with pages that cannibalize each other. This organization must also extend to Title and Hn tags that are present on your pages. Each tag must be relevant. As a reminder, competition on the same keyword between two unique pages leads to cannibalization. 

Repetition of similar keywords

When implementing your content strategy, avoid overdoing it. variations of main keywords. Indeed, repeating similar keywords on different pages doesn't bring any SEO benefits. On the contrary, it encourages SEO cannibalization. For example, there's no need to optimize several pages on your website for the keywords "rent a car" and "car rental". 

How to detect SEO cannibalization?

Noticing that your productions aren't generating the traffic you'd hoped for? Consider checking whether this is a cannibalization problem. There are a number of techniques you can use to detect this situation. 

Google search engine verification

This search engine allows you to carry out a number of commands to detect SEO cannibalization. All you need to do is enter your request on the dedicated bar. It then provides you with a list of results corresponding to the keyword you used. Now all you have to do is analyze these proposals. If you notice that two of your Urls are positioned one on top of the other, there's cannibalization. 

You can also use the "site" command to detect any SEO cannibalization. Google lets you see the URLs of your domain that are indexed for each query. To do this, enter "site: lenomdevotresite + keyword" in the query bar. Perform this check regularly, referring to the list of keywords you use on your site. 

Using Google Search Console

Your website is connected to Google Search Console? If so, you can easily put your finger on the problem of cannibalization. In fact, this tool gives you access to a wealth of information concerning the visibility, traffic and position of your website. You'll know exactly which queries your productions are ranking for.

To check whether or not cannibalization is taking place, simply navigate to "Performance". This data enables you to identify the queries that have brought the most clicks to your pages. By clicking on "Queries", you can check the requests of your choice. 

The "pages" tab, meanwhile, provides you with a list of the URLs for each query, as well as the corresponding statistics. If you notice that several URLs are associated with the same requestkeyword cannibalization.

Using SEObserver 

SEObserver is a comprehensive tool to help you implement your SEO strategy. It will be of invaluable help when you want to have a clearer idea of your SEO strategy. precise data concerning your site's referencing. It also allows you to view results depending on the queries you use. This makes it easier to detect cannibalization.  

Checking links with Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog lets you check up to 500 links in its free version. This tool helps you to quickly carry out a complete crawl of your web page. To do so, you need to enter the URL you wish to analyze. This action will highlight repetitive elements on your platform, such as : 

  • Page titles
  • Alt tags
  • H1 and H2 titles
  • Metadescriptions

For text repetition, Screaming Frog provides you with information on the similar degree of saturation. In this way, you can easily detect pages whose texts may cannibalize each other. 

How to solve cannibalization problems? 

Have you identified cannibalization on your website pages? These strategies can help. 

Merge your texts 

If you have pages that cannibalize each other, you can merge them to solve the problem. Indeed, consolidating several pages into a single one allows you to enrich your content. As a result, your pages benefit from greater relevance. Which is good for your website's reputation. 

By merging texts on pages marked by cannibalization, you can also remove duplicate content. This technique is particularly important when you have several different pages competing for the same keyword. 

The task is less daunting when you have a main page with links that redirect to pages corresponding to the same query. The same applies when none of the pages causing cannibalization stand out from the others. So all you need to do is make a few 301 redirects from the less relevant page. On the other hand, this technique requires great vigilance. If you use it across the board, you run the risk of damaging your SEO.

In addition, you can rework the texts of certain pages so that they become relevant for other keywords. In fact, you can offer several different texts for the same theme. All you have to do is determine the right various possible sub-themes.

Delete some texts or indexes

In some cases, pages on a website that share the same content don't have the same ability to bring in traffic. As a result, you can remove those that perform less well. This will enable you to control cannibalization. If you opt for this solution, declare the pages whose content you've removed in page 410 Gone. In this way, you preserve the user experience. 

Concerning the deindexingBut if you want to keep certain pages for one reason or another, it's a good solution. All the while avoiding cannibalization. 

Indicate the main page with a canonical tag 

If you don't have the option of deleting the pages causing the cannibalization, you can turn to a canonical tag. This method tells the search engine algorithms the primary URL. It also enables you to ensure that the ranking signals correspond to the primary URL. good canonical page. Moreover, the canonical tag is often indispensable for e-commerce sites that have several URLs for a single page. On the other hand, you should avoid using this method for productions that have no similarities whatsoever. It may not take them into account.

Review your site's structure 

If it's a poorly organized website that's causing cannibalization, take another look. platform structure. So you have no choice but to reorganize your pages. Do this in such a way that the new structure allows the query platforms to understand the tree structure of your site. Often, it's essential to update the headings to achieve greater consistency. 

At the same time, you must review the structure of the internal networking of your platform. This is to indicate to query platforms which URLs should be given greater prominence. Therefore, you need to create one-way internal links for texts with less relevance. These links must lead to the pages you wish to position. Also note that internal links must have the same anchor text, even if they point to different pages. 

Check the results of your decannibalization actions 

By correctly applying SEO decannibalization techniques, you should see the results of your actions within two weeks. These times vary according to the crawl Google performs on your website. The disappearance of SEO cannibalization translates into an increase and a decrease in the number of visitors to your site. position variation strong pages on the SERPs. You should also note that the weak page no longer appears in the proposals of the query sites. 

It is interesting to monitor the pages that caused the cannibalization via Search Console. This will enable you to easily analyze search results. Also, don't neglect to monitor your page's positioning.

How can you avoid cannibalization of your pages and texts?

Cannibalization is detrimental to your SEO. However, it can be avoided by taking a few relatively simple steps. 

Choose your keywords carefully

Choosing the right keywords for your texts is of vital importance for the natural referencing of your site. Each of your pages should be optimized for a specific keyword. However, avoid encroaching on the keywords of other texts. To achieve this, you need to proceed step by step. First things first, analyze keywords you already have. Then make a list of terms that you consider relevant to your company's activity. You can then dedicate each keyword to each page, while avoiding duplication. 

To avoid repeating the same keyword or phrase several times, you can create an Excel table. This table should include all the keywords with all the URLs on your site. This reduces the risk of duplication. If you're planning to cover topics that are related to those you've already published, simply check your file. This way, you'll be able to easily determine the best strategy for your site. writing your new content. 

In addition, you need to ensure that heading pages and sub-heading pages only target generic expressions. Product pages, on the other hand, should be optimized for specific product names.

Make sure every piece of content is unique 

Creating unique content for each of your keywords is the key to success. added value for your entire site. In addition, each piece of content should fully cover the keyword or phrase you're targeting. This way, you don't have to create several versions of a content to provide complete information. 

Moreover, having unique content isn't enough to optimize SEO. You also need relevant articles. This allows you to provide your audience with accurate information that meet their expectations. To help you in your quest for relevant texts, you can exploit SEO optimization tools. These platforms give you access to a list of a keyword's semantic field. 

Take into account the search intent of Internet users

The main objective of content writing is to respond to the query intent of your target customer. When a web surfer makes a query, he or she is guided by an idea and a message. precise requests. This request varies according to the search for information or the desire to buy. As a result, there are four types of research intentionsnamely :

  • Information search intent. It guides Internet users who want information on a particular service or product. 
  • Decision search intent. It occurs when an Internet user is already in the buying process. The purpose of this intention is to help the consumer make a decision.
  • Transactional research intent. It enables Internet users to compare products or services before making a purchase. 
  • Navigational search intent. It's for web users who want to go to a specific location.

How can you be sure that your content will meet the requirements of your target audience? You can use Google and type your chosen query into the search bar. Then analyze the results. 

Perform a regular SEO audit 

You can reduce the risk of SEO cannibalization by carrying out a regular audit of your site. This process involves in-depth analysis of your keywords and a study of your web pages' positioning. This audit will enable you to quickly identify pages at risk of cannibalization. The data you collect will also help you to set up an action plan adapted. This is to correct problems before they harm your ranking in search engine results. 

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