Cannibalization – Moz

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The creator’s views are totally his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and should not all the time replicate the views of Moz.

In as we speak’s episode of Whiteboard Friday, Tom Capper walks you thru an issue many SEOs have confronted: cannibalization. What is it, how do you determine it, and how are you going to repair it? Watch to seek out out! 

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Video Transcription

Happy Friday, Moz followers, and as we speak we will be speaking about cannibalization, which right here within the UK we spell like this: cannibalisation. With that out of the way in which, what will we imply by cannibalization?

What is cannibalization?

So that is principally the place one web site has two competing URLs and performs, we suspect, much less properly due to it. So possibly we predict the location is splitting its fairness between its two completely different URLs, or possibly Google is getting confused about which one to point out. Or possibly Google considers it a reproduction content material drawback or one thing like that. One manner or one other, the location does much less properly on account of having two URLs. 

So I’ve obtained this imaginary SERP right here for example. So think about that Moz is making an attempt to rank for the key phrase “burgers.” Just think about that Moz has determined to take a wild tangent in its enterprise mannequin and we will attempt to rank for “burgers” now.

So in place one right here, we have got Inferior Bergz, and we’d hope to outrank these individuals actually, however for some purpose we’re not doing. Then in place two, we have got Moz’s Buy Burgers web page on the subdirectory, which clearly does not exist, however it is a hypothetical. This is a business touchdown web page the place you may go and buy a burger. 

Then in place three, we have got this Best Burgers web page on the Moz weblog. It’s more informational. It’s telling you what are the attributes to a superb burger, how are you going to determine a superb burger, the place do you have to go to amass a superb burger, all this type of more impartial editorial info.

So we hypothesize on this state of affairs that possibly if Moz solely had one web page going for this key phrase, possibly it may really supplant the highest spot. If we predict that is the case, then we’d in all probability speak about this as cannibalization.

However, the choice speculation is, properly, really there might be two intents right here. It is perhaps that Google needs to point out a business web page and an informational web page on this SERP, and it so occurs that the second greatest business web page is Moz’s and the perfect informational web page can be Moz’s. We’ve heard Google discuss in recent times or representatives of Google discuss in recent times about having positions on search outcomes which can be kind of reserved for sure sorts of outcomes, that is perhaps reserved for an informational end result or one thing like that. So this does not essentially imply there’s cannibalization. So we will discuss a bit bit afterward about how we’d kind of disambiguate a state of affairs like this.

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Classic cannibalization

First, although, let’s discuss in regards to the traditional case. So the traditional, actually clear-minimize, actually apparent case of cannibalization is the place you see a graph like this one. 

Hand drawn graph showing ranking consequences of cannibalization.

So that is the sort of graph you’d see quite a lot of rank monitoring software program. You can see time and the times of the week going alongside the underside axis. Then we have got rank, and we clearly need to be as excessive as potential and near place one.

Then we see the 2 URLS, that are shade-coded, and are inexperienced and pink right here. When one among them ranks, the opposite simply falls away to oblivion, is not even within the prime 100. There’s solely ever one showing on the identical time, and so they kind of supplant one another within the SERP. When we see this type of habits, we will be fairly assured that what we’re seeing is a few sort of cannibalization.

Less-obvious instances

Sometimes it is much less apparent although. So a superb instance that I discovered just lately is that if, or at the very least in my case, if I Google search Naples, as within the place title, I see Wikipedia rating first and second. The Wikipedia web page rating first was about Naples, Italy, and the Wikipedia web page at second was about Naples, Florida.

Now I don’t assume that Wikipedia is cannibalizing itself in that state of affairs. I feel that they only occur to have… Google had determined that this SERP is ambiguous and that this key phrase “Naples” requires a number of intents to be served, and Wikipedia occurs to be the perfect web page for 2 of these intents.

So I would not go to Wikipedia and say, “Oh, you need to combine these two pages into a Naples, Florida and Italy page” or one thing like that. That’s clearly not needed. 

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Questions to ask 

So if you wish to determine in that sort of more ambiguous case whether or not there’s cannibalization occurring, then there are some questions we’d ask ourselves.

1. Do we predict we’re underperforming? 

So probably the greatest questions we’d ask, which is a tough one in search engine marketing, is: Do we predict we’re underperforming? So I do know each search engine marketing on the planet seems like their web site deserves to rank greater, properly, possibly most. But do now we have different examples of very comparable key phrases the place we solely have one web page, the place we’re doing considerably higher? Or was it the case that once we launched the second web page, we out of the blue collapsed? Because if we see habits like that, then which may,  you realize, it is not clear-minimize, however it may give us some suspicions. 

2. Do competing pages each seem? 

Similarly, if we take a look at examples of comparable key phrases which can be much less ambiguous in intent, so maybe within the burgers case, if the SERP for “best burgers” and the SERP for “buy burgers,” if these two key phrases had utterly completely different outcomes typically, then we’d assume, oh, okay, we must always have two separate pages right here, and we simply have to be sure that they’re clearly differentiated.

But if really it is the identical pages showing on all of these key phrases, we’d need to contemplate having one web page as properly as a result of that appears to be what Google is preferring. It’s probably not separating out these intents. So that is the sort of factor we are able to search for is, like I say, not clear-minimize however a little bit of a touch. 

3. Consolidate or differentiate? 

Once we have found out whether or not we need to have two pages or one, or whether or not we predict the perfect resolution on this case is to have two pages or one, we will need to both consolidate or differentiate.

So if we predict there ought to solely be one web page, we’d need to take our two pages, mix the perfect of the content material, choose the strongest URL when it comes to backlinks and historical past and so forth, and redirect the opposite URL to this mixed web page that has the perfect content material, that serves the slight variance of what we now know is one intent and so forth and so forth.

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If we would like two pages, then clearly we do not need them to cannibalize. So we have to be sure that they’re clearly differentiated. Now what typically occurs here’s a business web page, like this Buy Burgers web page, paradoxically for search engine marketing causes, there is perhaps a block of textual content on the backside with a bunch of editorial or search engine marketing textual content about burgers, and that may make it fairly complicated what intent this web page is serving.

Similarly, on this web page, we’d at some stage have determined that we need to function some merchandise on there or one thing. It may need began wanting fairly business. So we have to be sure that if we will have each of those, that they’re very clearly chatting with separate intents and never containing the identical info and the identical key phrases for probably the most half and that sort of factor.

Quick tip

Lastly, it will be higher if we did not get into the state of affairs within the first place. So a fast tip that I’d suggest, simply as a final takeaway, is earlier than you produce a chunk of content material, say for instance earlier than I produced this Whiteboard Friday, I did a web cannibalization so I can see what content material had beforehand existed on that was about cannibalization.

I can see, oh, this piece could be very previous, so we’d — it is a very previous Whiteboard Friday, so we’d contemplate redirecting it. This piece mentions cannibalization, so it is probably not about that. It’s possibly about one thing else. So so long as it is not concentrating on that key phrase we ought to be fantastic and so forth and so forth. Just take into consideration what different items exist, as a result of if there’s something that is principally concentrating on the identical key phrase, then clearly you may need to contemplate consolidating or redirecting or possibly simply updating the previous piece.

That’s all for as we speak. Thank you very a lot.

Video transcription by

Jerry Gordon

About Jerry Gordon

Webmaster, nature and tech lover. Jerry manages the day-to-day operations at DigiToolsadvisor. He loves enjoying his free time, but most of all, trying new tools to master.