SEO cannibalisation: Understanding and avoiding the pitfalls of this practice

Through our SEO Agency Optimize 360

La SEO cannibalisation is a phenomenon that can affect the visibility, traffic and, consequently, the performance of a website.

This is a situation where several web pages in the same domain are competing with each other for a position on search engines such as Google.

In this article, we'll help you to better understand what SEO cannibalisation is, what causes it and what you can do about it.

SEO cannibalisation

SEO cannibalisation: what is it?

To simplify things, we talk about SEO cannibalisation when two or more pages on the same site deal with the same subject and seek to position themselves on the same keywords. The risk is that these pages will weaken each other, as they will be perceived as competing with each other by the search engines. The result is a loss of opportunities to occupy a strategic position in the natural search results.

The consequences of poorly managed cannibalisation

It is important to note that if several pages target the same keywords, this will dilute the authority and relevance given by Google to each of them. As a result, the search engine could decide to give priority to one of them, to the detriment of the others. The consequences of uncontrolled cannibalisation are manifold:

  • Loss of visibility : the pages concerned could find themselves ranked lower in the organic results, or even outside the first pages altogether.
  • Loss of traffic : the poor presence in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) leads to a drop in the number of clicks and therefore a reduction in traffic to the site.
  • Ambiguity for the user : visitors can be confused if they come across several similar pages and don't know which page to choose to meet their needs.

How do you detect SEO cannibalisation?

To identify whether your site is affected by SEO cannibalisation, you need to carry out an in-depth analysis of all your web pages. Here are a few steps to help you do this:

  1. Do a complete inventory of your pages and the keywords they target. It can be useful to create a summary table with all this information.
  2. Analysing performance of each page : traffic, rate of conversionThis stage will enable us to identify those that benefit from certain queries and those that have a more negative impact.
  3. Determine whether there are duplication of content or subjects covered several times. There are various online tools to help you compare content and highlight similarities.

Ways to solve the SEO cannibalisation problem

Once SEO cannibalisation has been identified, action needs to be taken to limit its harmful effects. Here are a few possible solutions to remedy the situation:

Merge the pages concerned

If two different pages have similar content, the best solution is often to merge them into a single page containing all the relevant information. Don't forget to set up a 301 redirect to redirect users to the new version of the content and preserve your SEO.

Optimising keywords :

It is essential to clearly allocate specific keywords on each page to avoid them competing on the same queries. Try to find different angles to tackle the same subject or explore complementary themes.

Use "rel=canonical" tags

This tag is used to indicate to search engines which page should be favoured in the results for duplicate or very similar content. This helps to avoid confusion between pages and to better guide the SEO authority of each one.

Work on internal linking

Le internal networkingInternal links, i.e. links in your content that refer to other pages on your site, play an important role in the overall coherence and authority of your pages. Internal links must be relevant and allow users to navigate easily between the different sections of your site.

Conclusion: Remain vigilant to avoid SEO cannibalisation

In conclusion, it is essential to remember that creating unique and varied quality content is still the best way to guarantee good online visibility and minimise the risks of SEO cannibalisation.

By analysing your web pages on a regular basis, you will be able to quickly identify this type of problem and take the appropriate corrective action to maintain an optimum position on the search engines.

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