What is cannibalization?

What is cannibalization?

Cannibalization is where one site has two competing URLs and performs, we suspect, less well because of it. 

Possible reasons for low performance:

  1. the site is splitting its equity between its two different URLs
  2. Google is getting confused about which one to show
  3. Google considers it a duplicate content problem or something similar

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Cannibalization

moz.com

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Do we think we're underperforming?

Are there other examples of similar keywords where there was only 1 page that was doing better? Or was it when the 2nd page was introduced that the 1st collapsed?

Do competing pages both appear?

In case of similar keywords that are less ambiguous in intent, if those 2 keywords had completely different results, one could have 2 separate pages & make sure that they're clearly differentiated. But if same pages appear on all similar keywords, consider having 1 page as well because that seems to be what Google is preferring. It isn't separating out these intents.

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We see that out of the two URLS, one of them ranks, the other just falls away to oblivion, isn't even in the top 100. There's only ever one appearing at the same time, and they supplant each other in the SERP. When we see this kind of behavior, we can be pretty confident that what we're seeing is some kind of cannibalization.

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Sometimes there can be two pages that have a similar/same name but the content is actually about two different things.

Here Google may decide that the SERP is ambiguous, and the keyword requires multiple intents to be served, and the same website happens to have the best page for two of those intents.

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Consolidate or differentiate?

If there should only be 1 page, take the 2 pages, combine the best content, pick the strongest URL in terms of backlinks & history, etc., & redirect the other URL to this combined page.

If 2 pages are needed, make sure that they're clearly differentiated in terms of intent, information, & keywords.

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