Cannibalization of content

During our talks at State of Search, Dallas (Oct 2016) and Brighton SEO (April 2015) we proved that keyword cannibalization is not only real but is far more common than you might imagine.

Pi Datametrics CTO, Jon Earnshaw, demonstrated, unequivocally, that even small overlaps in page theming and content on a site, across domains and even between related sites can be both incredibly confusing to Search Engines and harmful to organic performance.

Jon focused on content, confusion, conflict and ultimate loss of revenue.

The history of SEO and content creation

We went through a period of many years where content was abused by SEOs trying to game Google. This involved things like keyword stuffing and creating lots of content because we thought that’s what the search engines wanted. But we’re (by and large) past that and now that we’re in the age of semantic search CONTENT is once again and rightly KING! In fact, 40% of online marketing budgets are spent on content, and this is a very good thing!

Why do we create content?

Because we want people to discover, consume and share it, and in turn we anticipate that this will drive up traffic and revenues. But in order for this to happen, they first have to find the content that we’re creating.

And there’s an assumption that just because we’ve spent a great deal of time and effort crafting something beautiful, we assume that it’s going to be readily found and consumed.

We’ve been making two mistakes:

  1. We’re creating content in isolation – We often see editors spending hours researching and creating an article
  1. We’re failing to curate it – We also often see those same editors then moving straight on to their next article without a second thought

Cannibalization of content - State of Search - Jon Earnshaw - Isolation

1. Creating content in ISOLATION leads to cannibalization

Often we work on different articles or pieces of content at the same time, because we know that:

  • Content is King
  • People like to consume content
  • Search Engines love it!
  • We’ve got budget to spend on it!

When we use the word ‘isolation’ we don’t mean working alone in a quiet room – there’s nothing wrong with that!

Rather, we mean that editors are writing without reference to existing on-site content or what’s already indexed in the Search Engines.

Cannibalization of content - State of Search - Jon Earnshaw - Curation

2. A lack of CURATION leads to cannibalization

Secondly, content is created but not curated. We turn our backs on the very content we’ve worked so hard to produce, and this is where the problems begin.

And it’s this ISOLATION and the FAILURE TO CURATE that leads us to internal cannibalization.

To see examples of multi-million dollar brands losing organic visibility and huge amounts of revenue as a result of content conflict, view or download our ‘Cannibalization of content deck’

Get the content flowchart:

Cannibalization of content - Jon Earnshaw

If you think your digital assets are suffering from cannibalization, get in touch. We’ll work with you to devise a strategy for remedying conflict and boosting performance.


Download the full deck here

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