Our CTO Jon Earnshaw took to the Brighton SEO stage once more to present Pi Datametrics unique research and comprehensive findings on suspicious SERP flux, in the context of Ecommerce.
Focussing on Pi Datametrics’ client Waterstones, Jon identified two forms of cannibalization and worked through these issues with Waterstones to stabilize rankings.
Using data from Pi’s enterprize SEO platform, Jon showcased the effects of duplicate content across Waterstones’ digital portfolio.
Whilst each book came in many forms and varieties (paperback, hardback, audio books, ebooks etc.), their synopses and descriptions were the essentially same, which greatly affected their organic search performancethe .
Content cannibalization is a major issue in Ecommerce for any company that reuses or permits resellers to resuse copy across product lines.
With the “Canonical Book Formula”, Jon showed how Waterstones managed to work through their internal cannibalization issues. At each stage of the book lifecycle, Waterstones needed to choose a “Canonical Book” to direct authority to in the SERPs.
Hardbacks and paperbacks, as non-differentiated objects, would return for the same search query, so it was important that Waterstones communicated to Google which one they needed to rank at a given time, as well as which one needed to be taken out of the crawl space entirely.
As we’ve previously explored in our stolen content tests, cannibalization doesn’t just occur internally. External conflict is another major issue affecting performance across the digital arena. In this example, Waterstones’ book review content was scaped or at least partially duplicated by competitor sites like Harpercollins, causing their rankings to nose-dive and losing them vital presence in the Google Knowledge Graph.
By appropriating Waterstones’ content, Harper Collins had jumped up 99 places into their exact former position.
With the advice of Pi, Waterstones re-wrote their book descriptions to include unique content which enabled them to regain their rankings and Knowledge Graph status almost instantly (well, within 10 hours, which is still pretty fast in SEO terms!).
If you suspect that your site is suffering from internal or external cannibalization, and would like to see how Pi could help you recover your positions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.