SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is a group of techniques designed to optimise a site's visibility on the Internet. This means that web pages appear at the top of the search results. search by keyword. This is the main objective of online platforms. Indeed, when a page appears among the first proposals, it easily attracts Internet users. 

Search engine optimisation is no mean feat. What's more, 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 known as "SEO cannibalisation". Focus on this situation, which could wipe out your SEO efforts.

What is cannibalisation in SEO?

Cannibalisation 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 the referencing of a page.

The definition of SEO cannibalisation

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

Cannibalisation is the result, recurring keywords which appears when texts deal with related subjects. For example, you have a website on which you offer car hire services. Cannibalisation occurs when you are working on two or more pages of your platform on the same keyword "car hire". The same applies 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 hire", several of the following search engines are displayed your pages will stand out in the SERPs. This may seem like a good thing for your online visibility, but it's not. In fact, cannibalisation considerably reduces your site's performance in a number of ways. 

The impact of SEO cannibalisation 

When several pages on your website target the same request, search engines are unable to determine which should appear first. In this case, it may happen that the search engine chooses the content that appears to be the most relevant to the query. most relevant to the keyword. To the detriment of other pages. However, it is possible that the page highlighted is not the most relevant to your business. Internet users will therefore access content that does not correspond to what they are looking for. The result of this is that you generate less turnover. Vur potential customers land on a presentation page instead of a transaction page. 

What's more, the cannibalisation reduces performance of each page. The effect of this is to divide the relevance signals between several texts. Signals that should 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 cannibalisation harms 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 cannibalisation and duplicate content 

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

Despite this, cannibalisation and duplicate content can have the same harmful effects on your site's SEO. In the majority of cases, Google will penalise the page you wish to highlight on the SERP. This page may also be cannibalised by another of your articles. 

Note that even if you take all the necessary steps to create unique texts, the risks of cannibalisation remain. Many online platform owners are unknowingly victims of this situation. However, some platforms see cannibalisation a way of increasing the click-through rate. They hope to repel their competitors by ensuring that several of their content items appear on the SERP. This strategy is not recommended because Google's algorithms are complex.

What factors encourage cannibalisation? 

Very few internet platforms deliberately engage in cannibalisation. However, there are certain factors that encourage this to happen. 

Duplicate articles

Very often, the creation of similar texts is at the root of cannibalisation. Some marketers choose to work on several pages for the same keyword. The aim 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 the search results. 

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

  • Poor URL management.
  • Indexing page filters.
  • Duplicate content due to duplication of the HTTPS version and the http version.

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

Flaws in the organisation of headings and tags

If you have an e-commerce site, you need to make sure that you organise your sectional pages with optimum delimitation. Otherwise, you risk ending up with pages that cannibalise each other. This organisation should 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 cannibalisation. 

Repetition of similar keywords

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

How do you detect SEO cannibalisation?

Are you noticing that your productions aren't generating the traffic you'd hoped for? Think about checking whether this is a cannibalisation problem. There are various techniques you can use to detect this situation. 

Verification on the Google search engine

This search engine allows you to carry out various commands to detect SEO cannibalisation. All you have 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 analyse these proposals. If you notice that two of your Urls are positioned one on top of the other, there is cannibalisation. 

You can also use the "site" command to detect any SEO cannibalisation. Google lets you see the URLs for your domain that are indexed for each query. To do this, enter "site: lenomdevotresite + keyword" in the query bar. Check this regularly by 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 cannibalisation. This tool gives you access to a wealth of information about the visibility, traffic and position of your website. This means you can find out exactly which queries your productions are ranking for.

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

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

Using SEObserver 

SEObserver is a comprehensive tool to help you implement your SEO strategy. It will be invaluable when you want to know how your website is performing. precise data concerning the referencing of your site. It also allows you to see the results depending on the queries you use. This makes it easier to detect cannibalisation.  

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 this, you need to enter the URL you want to analyse. This action will highlight repetitive elements on your platform such as : 

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

When it comes to text repetition, Screaming Frog gives you information on the similar degree of saturation. In this way, you can easily detect pages whose texts may cannibalise each other. 

How can cannibalisation problems be resolved? 

Have you identified cannibalisation on the pages of your website? You can remedy the situation with these strategies. 

Merging your texts 

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

By merging the texts on pages marked by cannibalisation, 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 arduous when you have a main page with links which redirect to pages corresponding to the same query. The same applies when none of the pages causing cannibalisation stand out from the others. So all you need to do is make some 301 redirects from the less relevant page. However, this technique requires great care. It risks damaging your SEO if you use it across the board.

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. To do this, all you need to do is determine the correct various possible sub-themes.

Delete certain texts or indexes

In some cases, pages on a website that share the same content do not have the same ability to bring in traffic. As a result, you can remove those that perform less well. This will allow you to control cannibalisation. If you opt for this solution, declare the pages whose content you have removed as page 410 Gone. In this way, you preserve the user experience for Internet users. 

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

Indicate the main page using a canonical tag 

If you don't have the option of deleting the pages causing the cannibalisation, you can turn to a canonical tag. This method involves telling the search engine algorithms the primary URL. It also allows you to ensure that the ranking signals correspond to the primary URL. good canonical page. In addition, the canonical tag is often essential 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 the structure of your site 

If it's a poorly organised website that's causing cannibalisation, take another look. the structure of the platform. So you have no choice but to reorganise your pages. Do this in such a way that the new structure allows the query platforms to understanding the tree structure of your site. It is often 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. The aim is to indicate to the query platforms which URLs should be given greater prominence. You therefore need to create one-way internal links for texts with less relevance. These links must lead to the pages you want to position. Note also that internal links must have the same anchor text, even if they point to different pages. 

Check the results of your decannibalisation actions 

If you apply the SEO decannibalisation techniques correctly, you should see the results of your actions within two weeks. These timescales vary according to the crawl that Google performs on your website. The disappearance of SEO cannibalisation translates into an increase and a decrease in the number of visitors to your website. 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 cannibalisation via Search Console. This will enable you to analyse the search results easily. Also, don't neglect to monitor the positioning of your page.

How can you avoid cannibalisation of your pages and texts?

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

Choose your keywords carefully

The choice of keywords for your texts is of vital importance for the natural referencing of your site. Each of your pages should be optimised 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, analyse the keywords you already have. Then make a list of terms that you consider relevant and that are linked to your company's activity. You can then dedicate each keyword to each page, while avoiding duplication. 

To avoid repeating the same keyword or expression several times, you can create an Excel table. This table should include all the keywords with all the URLs on your site. This will reduce the risk of duplication. If you are planning to cover subjects that are related to those you have 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 should ensure that heading pages and sub-heading pages only target generic expressions. Product pages should be optimised with the name of a specific product.

Make sure each piece of content is unique 

The creation of 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 expression you are targeting. This way, you no longer need to create several versions of a piece of content in order to provide complete information. 

Moreover, having unique content is not enough to optimise natural referencing. You also need to have relevant articles. This will enable you to provide your audience with accurate information that meet their expectations. To help you in your search for relevant texts, you can make use of SEO optimisation tools. These platforms give you access to a list of the semantic field of a keyword. 

Take into account the search intentions of Internet users

The main aim of writing content is to respond to your target customer's requests. When a web surfer makes a query, they are 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 research intention. It guides Internet users who want information on a particular service or product. 
  • Decision-making research intention. It occurs when a web user is already in the buying process. The purpose of this intention is to enable the consumer to make a decision.
  • Transactional research intent. It allows Internet users to compare products or services before making a purchase. 
  • Navigational search intent. It is aimed at Internet users who wish to visit 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 analyse the results you get. 

Carry out a regular SEO audit 

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

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