As the world continues to become more technologically savvy and aware, control shifts from the marketer to the consumer. In the past, when working on a new page for a site, marketers would find the keywords that they wanted to rank for and then create a separate page of content for every keyword on that list.
Now, with help from Google’s ever-changing algorithm, digital marketers have become more attuned to the intent of their audience. Instead of creating content based on a keyword, we create content where there is a need and base it around a larger topic that fits the intended searcher’s intent. For more on intent-based content marketing, check out this blog by Marketing Land.
If your site has been around for awhile, there may be issues with content created for keyword searches instead of content created for intent-based searches. We will discuss a few ways to identify this issue and help you solve it.
Competing content would have been a friendlier term, but cannibal content really drives home the danger behind this website issue. Essentially, cannibal content is when you have multiple pages that are competing for the same keywords. This can happen when you have created pages for individual keywords instead of for a specific topic.
To find cannibal content, review the content on your site and look for pages with similar topics, then head over to Google’s Search Console and compare the two pages to see if they are showing clicks, impressions, or rankings for the same keywords.
Cannibal content issues can be fixed in two ways, either by merging the content into one page, or by optimizing both pages to the point where they do not overlap keywords. If you have never merged content, seek a professional for assistance, as you will need to remove the old page and redirect the old link to the new link.
Indexation bloat occurs when a site has pages indexed by Google that should not be. There are many reasons why this can occur. Often we see this issue with e-commerce sites that tend to use faceted navigation and filters to make the user experience better. This can also occur when your site has not been set up correctly and is allowing Google to crawl and index pages such as your login page, disclaimer, or other pages that do not need to be indexed.
However, going back to the subject of this article, if you are working with an older site, you may be seeing a multitude of pages with thin content that have no chance of gaining traction in the search engine results. In this circumstance the best thing to do is a content audit of your site and see what pages have not been getting traffic. Then go to those pages on your site and see if they still contain any value for your visitors or if the topics are already mentioned on your site. If you find a more successful page on your site related to the same topic, your best bet will be to merge and redirect this content as mentioned above. For more information on how to identify all index bloat issues and fix them, check out this blog by Search Engine Watch.
Poor Page Metrics and Conversion Issues
You may determine that you have an issue with one (or many) of your pages. For example, you have content that is bringing in organic traffic, but the traffic is poor quality or the page is not converting visitors. What should your first step be? First let’s define some common Google Analytics terms used to measure page metrics:
- Bounce Rate: A bounce occurs when a user visits your site and exits without triggering any other event or request. The bounce rate is the rate of these single-page sessions divided by all sessions. The level at which a bounce rate is considered high varies by industry and the type of content, but typically we like to see bounce rates under 70-80%.
- Average Time on Page: This one is a little more straightforward, the average time on page is the average time spent on the page by all users.
- Conversion Rate: The conversion rate for a page is the total number of sessions with conversions divided by the total number of sessions on that page. Conversions could be contacts to your firm, resource downloads, or other types of engagement, depending on your goal for users on a given page.
Once you locate and analyze these numbers for the pages that are suffering, you can then think back to the quality of the page and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this page match the intent of our potential clients?
- Is it unique to our site?
If the answer is no, then the page needs to be either edited or merged into another page.
Common Sense, Not Always Common
At the end of the day, the easiest way to create content that will engage users is to put yourself in the shoes of the person to whom you are marketing. One way to do this is by creating customer avatars that dive into the lifestyle of a potential client and understand what makes him or her tick. Digital Marketer supplies a worksheet on their site to help you get started.