Figuring out, Fixing, and Stopping Cannibalization — Whiteboard Friday


The writer’s views are totally their very own (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and will not at all times replicate the views of Moz.

On this Whiteboard Friday, Jon discusses easy methods to establish, repair, and forestall cannibalization. He identifies three particular kinds of cannibalization: inside, worldwide, and subdomain.

Digital whiteboard on the topic 'Identifying, Fixing, and Preventing Cannibalization'

Click on on the whiteboard picture above to open a excessive decision model in a brand new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz followers. How’s it going? My title is Jon Earnshaw. I am the Chief Product Evangelist at Pi Datametrics, and right now I’ll be speaking a couple of topic that’s tremendous near my coronary heart, and it has been near my coronary heart for over 15 years. Once I was analyzing the SERP in the future and I began to find this uncommon flux, and what I used to be seeing was content material that was doing rather well on web page 1 and instantly it drops.

Then after a number of weeks, we observed that it wasn’t dropping for no motive. This content material was dropping on account of different content material someway conflicting. Now, we all know there is not any such factor as a replica content material penalty, and Google has at all times mentioned that. However what we now have understood since then is that Google and different search engines like google as nicely have gotten more and more delicate to content material of the same nature, and that is what cannibalization is all about.

So right now we’re going to check out the way you establish it briefly as a result of you are able to do that with instruments. I’ll present you the way you repair it, and at last the way you stop it from taking place within the first place, and if you happen to get that bit proper, you clearly need not fear about one or two.

Step 1: Determine the kind of cannibalization

image showing the three types of cannibalization that you need to identify

So cannibalization, there are three varieties. Properly, there are extra, however there are three varieties that we sort of want to pay attention to.

The primary one is inside battle or cannibalization. I am going to use these phrases interchangeably. That is the place your content material conflicts with itself. Then we now have worldwide battle, and that is a very completely different kettle of fish, as a result of that is handled, for instance, by hreflang. So we’ll hold that out of the combo.

Then we now have subdomain battle, and subdomain battle is one thing that may at all times occur. For instance, if in case you have a assist subdomain,, and you have got content material on there that is just like the content material in your most important area, that is at all times going to battle. However we’re not going to speak about that right now. Actually, we’ll discuss inside battle and the way you repair it to begin with.

Step 2: Repair cannibalization points

image showing step two for fixing cannibalization

So we could say you get up in the future, you had been on web page 1 for “males’s blazers.” All of us wish to be on web page 1 if we’re promoting males’s blazers. Then instantly you discover your content material drops. Then if you take a better look, you may uncover that you’ve got a number of URLs returning over a time frame for a similar key phrase. A degree to notice about cannibalization, it occurs at key phrase degree.

It is not content material degree. It is all in regards to the key phrase. So one piece of content material might not be in battle for an additional time period, for a spinoff time period, for instance “males’s jackets” or “males’s summer time jackets,” and that web page might exist superbly on web page 1. However we could say that you’ve got one, two, three, 4 pages.

These might be males’s summer time blazers, males’s winter blazers, males’s 2023 blazers, for instance. The probabilities are if these pages are comparable and in the event that they comprise the key phrase that you just’re making an attempt to place for, i.e., “males’s blazers,” within the title, likelihood is you are going to get battle as a result of we all know that the HTML title is without doubt one of the strongest indicators to Google from a theming perspective.

URL, title, Header 1, meta description, content material, all of that counts. However you will discover if you make adjustments to the title, that may have a reasonably instantaneous affect on visibility in lower than 24 hours. So again to our scenario of cannibalization. For URLs, what can we wish to do? Properly, we have got to decide.

Which one can we wish to be the doorway into our ecosystem? As a result of if we do not decide on which one is the doorway into our ecosystem, then Google goes to make that call for us and we’ll find yourself in a scenario of cannibalization. Cannibalization, it might be in line. It might all be taking place on the backside of web page 1. Generally individuals say, “Properly, I am on web page 1, however I do not actually care.”

However it is best to care, as a result of think about your viewers are looking for the boys’s blazer they usually discover your piece of content material they usually find it irresistible, they usually come again the subsequent day they usually Google it once more, they usually discover it once more, “Oh, it is a completely different web page.” They go into the location in a distinct space. Immediately, I am confused as a result of we have got incoherent, uncoordinated, and haphazard doorways into our world.

So we have to make the choice and never go away that to the major search engines. There are a selection of issues that we are able to do to really repair this. However the very first thing we have to do is examine the place of the URLs for different phrases, for spinoff phrases. Do these items of content material place in their very own proper?

Earlier than we begin tampering, earlier than we begin enjoying with titles, earlier than we begin redirecting, earlier than we do something, do they place in their very own proper? Then we now have selections to make. One attainable selection, and I’ve seen a number of shoppers do that, is to really merge one of many older bits of content material and put that in with the brand new content material, and that works splendidly as a result of we’re not dropping something.

So we merge that, after which, after all, we 301 the unique article. So we instantly get that injection of authority. Okay, downgrade the theme. How do you downgrade the theme? Keep in mind the title, the strongest aspect on the web page? We will truly change the title so it isn’t about males’s blazers. We will say “males’s outfits for the summer time,” if that is applicable.

Once more, let’s not try this if that web page positions in its personal proper as a result of we do not wish to lose that site visitors. We will additionally examine the site visitors to the web page as nicely. Internally hyperlink. If we resolve, for instance, that A is the web page that we wish to be our doorway, let’s give it the authority that it must place.

Let’s hyperlink internally from B, C, and D to A utilizing the anchor textual content “males’s blazers.” What are we doing? Properly, we’re saying to Google this web page over right here is all about males’s blazers, and the anchor textual content and people hyperlinks are going to present that web page the authority that it wants.

So we try this along with a few of these different choices. We will additionally No Index if applicable. So we now have quite a few instruments in our arsenal. However simply think about that we love all of those pages and we do not wish to lose these as a result of that is summer time blazers, winter blazers, linen blazers, and different blazers.

One other factor that you are able to do, in case your CMS permits, is to really construct a hub web page. Let’s name that hub web page Males’s Blazers, and let’s hyperlink down from the brand new web page, name that Web page X, Males’s Blazers, to this one utilizing the anchor textual content “summer time blazers,” to this one, Winter, Linen, and so forth. Then crucially, we take the interior linking right here and we hyperlink again from all of those to the hub web page.

What have we created there? This excellent hub and spoke construction inside our website that your viewers are going to make sense of and Google goes to make sense of it as nicely. So actually it is about sending indicators to Google in order that Google does not get confused.

So that is right down to us as a result of the search engine is extremely delicate. In order that’s how one can repair it, and you have got quite a few selections.

Step 3: Stop cannibalization

Lastly, my favourite half, how do you stop it? How can we not need to undergo this and this? Properly, the important thing to stopping it truly is to make use of one of many 4 pillars of contextual optimization.

Step 3: Preventing Cannibalization through contextual optimization

Contextual optimization is all about optimizing within the context of the SERP, optimizing within the context of your opponents, optimizing within the context of Google’s algorithms, and optimizing within the context of your ecosystem. So what we imply right here is about earlier than I inject any new content material with reference to males’s blazers into my ecosystem, I’ve bought to cease and suppose and ask the query, “Is there something inside my ecosystem that’s probably conflicting?”

That is the primary query you ask, as a result of if there are different items of content material within the ecosystem with “males’s blazers” within the title, likelihood is they will battle, and you could find yourself taking one web page of web page 1 of Google and your web page by no means will get to web page 1. So you could lose out throughout. So a very easy means of analyzing your ecosystem is with a website operator.

So intitle, and also you herald intitle, and we’re searching for, in inverted commas, “males’s blazers” as a result of that is going to return all of the pages out of your website, that Google has listed, which have “males’s blazers” within the title.

Keep in mind, the strongest theme. So we’d discover earlier than we inject the brand new content material, hey, I’ve bought A, B, C, and D in my ecosystem. So we then return right here, and we make the choice. If this can be a new piece of content material, I can begin to undertake and deploy a number of of those methods to forestall it from taking place within the first place.

Truthfully, cannibalization of content material is inflicting a lot lack of visibility. I might estimate someplace round 40% of content material that is sitting on web page 2 and three is right down to this. Determine the conflicts. As soon as we have finished that, we establish the enhances. How do you establish the enhances and why?

Properly, I am going to inform you why. As a result of if you put a brand new piece of content material into your ecosystem to go sit alongside these, it wants authority if it should carry out nicely, and one of the best and quickest means of authority is to get that from different pages on a associated theme that discuss blazers or males’s model or males’s style. We do one other website operator right here,

Overlook the intitle. Let’s search for “males’s blazers” within the physique copy. We will try this, and we are able to discover enhances. As soon as you’ve got discovered the enhances, you wish to create hyperlinks utilizing “males’s blazers” because the anchor textual content to your new piece of content material. How do you discover older items of content material?

Inverted commas, “2019” or “2018.” Add that, you will instantly begin to discover older content material that you have completely forgotten about and, along with these hyperlinks, which are going to inject authority. You’ll be able to then add some redirects. Actually, in a nutshell, that is all there’s to it, figuring out, fixing, and stopping, and I assure these are all going to give you the results you want.

Thanks for watching.

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