Sponsored Content: Pi Datametrics – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Thu, 19 Jan 2017 19:51:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 Can company structure spawn cannibalization? Most definitely. /can-company-structure-spawn-cannibalization-definitely-262379 Mon, 07 Nov 2016 12:34:37 +0000 http:/?p=262379 With so many business structure possibilities, it can be particularly complicated to consolidate content across departments, especially if it’s created in isolation. Internal structure can therefore dictate content efficiency, and decentralized structures can, in turn, spawn duplicate, overlapping or conflicting content. What is cannibalization? Cannibalization is a term coined by the digital community to refer […]

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With so many business structure possibilities, it can be particularly complicated to consolidate content across departments, especially if it’s created in isolation. Internal structure can therefore dictate content efficiency, and decentralized structures can, in turn, spawn duplicate, overlapping or conflicting content.

What is cannibalization?

Cannibalization is a term coined by the digital community to refer to internal content duplication and its effect on market search performance.

What do we mean by content? Anything that’s crawled and indexed by search engines: landing pages, blogs, rich media, PDFs and so on. While it’s impossible not to have some crossover in search theming, displaying largely similar content across your digital real estate can have a detrimental effect on your market share and bottom line.

As each piece of internal content fights to be seen for the same search query, overall visibility is impacted, and any domains affected see an overall drop in ranking, if not a complete eradication.

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Major US high street retailer loses presence and revenue for wedding ecommerce

In the above example, we can see multiple pieces of content struggling to gain long-term traction in Google US for the search term, “wedding guest dresses.” Six separate e-commerce pages flip rankings as a result of replicate content and theming and ultimately drop out of the conversion zone (page one, positions one to 10) by a whole 96 places, or nine pages.

What’s more, all of those six pages are housed on the same domain of a multimillion-dollar US high street retailer. This internal cannibalization will have cost them huge amounts in revenue, especially given the date range, as it’s during peak wedding season.

Why does cannibalization occur?

A business’s structure is often reflected in its digital makeup: international departments are often represented on different TLDs, and different internal departments can be assigned their own space on the root domain via a subdirectory/subfolder/subdomain or can even be presented via an entirely separate and unique domain.

Different online infrastructures are implemented for a number of reasons: to serve a variety of web assets to separate audiences; to distinguish departmental budgets/profits/losses; or to gain search real estate and build ecosystems.

There are four different types of internal cannibalization to reflect different structural inefficiencies:

  1. Internal keyword cannibalization
  2. Subdomain cannibalization
  3. International cannibalization
  4. Semantic flux cannibalization

All forms of cannibalization ultimately hinder growth and present a big, hugely overlooked commercial problem.

Content conflict: A communication breakdown

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Expanding on the theme of weddings, we’ve created an example to demonstrate the effect of duplicate theming. Let’s assume each e-commerce “wedding dress”- related page in the example above has an equal backlink and social profile. If content is also similar on each page, Google has nothing to differentiate them and will pit all three against each other in the search results.

Marrying your content together

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However, if we were to introduce a dedicated landing page themed around “wedding dresses,” then share that page on social media and include a backlink to it from the home page, as well as all three subsidiary category pages, this content will gain authority in Google and will, in turn, have a better chance of being visible, as it has no other content to compete against.

How much of an issue is cannibalization?

It’s clear that the industry mindset is very much focused on content creation and volume, when you consider that:

  1. we’re forever reminded that “content is king.”
  2. over 40 percent of online marketing budget is spent on content.
  3. search engines thrive off of fresh and frequently updated content.

… and with that in mind, it’s also clear that cannibalization isn’t just going to go away.

But imagine the difference in ROI if your brand’s content was to perform in position one, rather than position 10, for one of its highest-converting terms. For some, that could mean thousands, if not millions in revenue uplift. Cannibalization makes this uplift completely unattainable.

How to fix cannibalization

Avoid creating content in isolation

Poor communication between teams can lead to power struggles; marketing teams don’t want to feel that their content is being dictated by SEOs, or created just for optimization’s sake, but equally, SEOs don’t want to be relied upon for retrospectively patching up mistakes like cannibalization. However, if the two join forces, both will reap the benefits. While content teams are challenged to prove the value of their content, SEO teams are pressured to drive traffic through good rankings. They just need to realize the value of a strategic alliance on their own performance.

In these circumstances, data-related KPIs are critical to organizing teams and giving a clear and unified strategic focus. If both SEO and brand teams are encouraged to measure long-term success metrics, then approaches to content creation will evolve into a smarter process of curating and protecting digital legacy.

Ensure content is regularly curated

It’s not just about cross-departmental collaboration; it’s also vital to curate content back-catalogues. We often see rushed content strategies, where the focus is on the creation and dissemination rather than on curation. Having high volumes of fresh content is by no means a bad thing; it demonstrates to both search engines and customers that your brand is forward-thinking and reactive. However, high volumes of similar or duplicate content can have the adverse effect: it’s banal for users to read, and potentially harmful to market performance.

It’s therefore always important to consider whether you have any existing material which, if revisited and updated, could serve the purpose of your new objective. Why create an entirely new asset and risk cannibalization, when you have a previous version which has built authority and accrued links and shares and is already performing?

Integrate SEO into every stage of content creation

Your website is one of your most important assets, and whatever happens to it today can affect your performance farther down the line.

That’s why it’s imperative for internal processes to be aligned to mitigate the risk of cannibalization. For this to happen, SEO teams need to be involved in content creation from the start, to:

  1. curate and review the structure of any relevant content already existing on site;
  2. provide theming insight and input into content creation — not to dictate the content agenda, but to guide it in the right direction with advice; and
  3. help the brand team measure the success of content in order to build a positive and successful relationship.

Conclusion

Failing to differentiate your brand can give your competitors greater market advantage, as you are effectively trapping your content beneath a glass ceiling. However, if you are able to rectify an overlap in content theming, you can instantly realize an improvement in commercial efficiency and market dominance, as this major soccer club did after re-theming multiple conflicting pages and improving internal linking.

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As semantic search evolves, it becomes even more critical to link your assets together to build a fully-formed ecosystem. Search engines can begin to understand the semantic relationship between your web assets, which can often save you from the dreaded drop.

It’s vital to take the right precautions when creating content to ensure your brand is forever visible and generating revenue. You can use the guide below to help you consolidate your content strategy.

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If you’d like to learn more about the four types of cannibalization, or if you think your content has been affected in any way, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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E-commerce trends: the difference between winning and almost winning /e-commerce-trends-difference-winning-almost-winning-257435 Tue, 13 Sep 2016 15:20:03 +0000 http:/?p=257435 No marketer needs to be told the value of data in informing and measuring the success of a campaign, but search trend data, in particular, can seem overwhelming, especially if content and SEO departments aren’t always joined up or organized efficiently enough to build a solid strategy from a large scope of data. Search data […]

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No marketer needs to be told the value of data in informing and measuring the success of a campaign, but search trend data, in particular, can seem overwhelming, especially if content and SEO departments aren’t always joined up or organized efficiently enough to build a solid strategy from a large scope of data.

Search data can be overlooked, or at least not used to its full potential, in planning marketing and content strategies around seasonal events.

As a marketer, you’re constantly challenged with targeting people at the right time. Search trend data not only gives you that insight, it enables you to understand consumer tastes and the seasonality of your offering.

Using search trend data in a new way

Every marketer knows what a typical seasonal search chart looks like, but for argument’s sale, let’s have a look at the one below, which demonstrates the search volume of multiple seasonal event terms. Peaks and troughs are consistent and predictable year on year.

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So, how do we use this search trend data for the benefit of SEOs, content, PPC and everyone within the digital department?
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We’ve incorporated a formula to decode the value of search trend data, which can form the cornerstone of any seasonal campaign: PIPR — or Plan, Influence, Peak, Repeat.

From observing retailers and e-commerce brands, we’ve noticed that many tend to release their campaign content just in time for seasonal events and are missing out on some big traffic and sales opportunities by doing so.

We’ve found that releasing marketing content a couple of months in advance of the consumer research stage is the best way to continuously maximize ROI, year on year — and we’ve got the charts to prove it!

Let’s start off by focusing on a single year of search volume data for the term, “Halloween Costumes,” which we’ve collected from Google Keyword Planner.

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Building a year-round seasonal strategy

It’s vital to know when the research and buying phases are during seasonal events, to be able to capitalize on demand from its inception.

By collating and charting annual search volume data (around event-based search terms) and applying a “Plan, Influence, Peak, Repeat” formula, we can kick off our campaign across all search, marketing and omnichannel activities.

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PIPR: Plan, Influence, Peak, Repeat

PLAN

1) Planning and publishing content

  • Optimize content (theme pages around most valuable terms, build link infrastructures, create social media activity, source advocates, apply relevant technical SEO and so on) and build authority in Google in time for the consumer research period.
  • Review any content you already have on the themes you’ve identified. It’s a common mistake to create new seasonal content every year instead of updating existing relevant content. If both new and old pages are themed similarly, it could lead to internal cannibalization.
  • Releasing content a season ahead is commonplace in most e-commerce businesses — unless an evergreen landing page already exists.

INFLUENCE

2) Consumer research and brand influence phase

  • Build marketing and content strategies around the time when consumers are researching, rather than when they are buying.
  • Publishing content too close to the purchasing period means target audiences may already have been influenced elsewhere during their research.
  • If you want to apply PPC to your content and landing pages at peak times of year, it makes more commercial sense to bid during the peak research phase, rather than the peak purchase phase. Not only will this drive more traffic to your site due to higher search volumes, but also, CPCs are often less competitive during these times.

PEAK

3) Peak purchase

  • If purchasers have not already been influenced by this point, you could lose the sale to a competitor.
  • Even if you’ve done a good job of influencing potential customers during the research phase, it’s still vital to have a strong brand presence at this time.

4) Capitalize on overhanging traffic

When interest is still relatively high, but cooling off, it’s a good time to discount products to clear stock, or to redirect traffic to another relevant landing page. If there is a straight drop after peak interest, however, you may want to focus your resources elsewhere.

REPEAT

5) Evergreen landing page strategy

  • Unlike paid media, organic search needs time to build traction. Creating and continuously updating a seasonal landing page throughout the year with evergreen content and enduring terms can ensure you garner links and power over time.
  • Google tends to prioritize these types of long-term pages over new URLs — so don’t delete the page!
  • What’s more, you’re likely to vastly improve your PPC Quality Score when it comes to bidding if you have an established landing page.

Three types of trend charts

Not all trends follow the same pattern. We’ve defined the three main types of seasonal search trend that you can expect to find when translating your search volume data into a year-round content strategy. These include: Single Sharp Peaks, Double Peaks and Single Extended Peaks.

These trends will vary in duration, depending on the nature of the seasonal event, and that will determine the length of each (PIPR) marketing activity. For example, a Single Sharp Peak will have a shorter “Influence” phase, whereas a Single Extended Peak will present a greater opportunity for influencing and building sales, as people are researching earlier in anticipation of the event.

Single Extended Peak — Example: Christmas

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Double Peak — Example: Travel

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Single Sharp Peak — Example: Black Friday

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Finding the key

The above charts were all created with search volume data sourced from Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends.

While these tools have recently been subject to a lot of changes and scrutiny based on their accuracy, they still prove to be some of the best benchmarking tools and are definitely workable.

Volume versus value: traffic for traffic’s sake?

Google’s tools are, indeed, useful for revealing search volume and trend insights, but we need to remember that volume doesn’t necessarily mean value.

A business can seemingly be doing well for a lot of big search terms, but if they’re not focusing on converting terms, then it’s little more than an exercise in self-promotion.

That’s why we need to make sure we’re focusing our annual content strategies (like the ones we see above) on the search themes and terms with the most potential for conversion.

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At Pi, we use an Organic Value Score to average all of the metrics used to determine a keyword’s intrinsic value and potential to convert, including (but not limited to) CPC, competition value and search volume. We then adjust this value ever so slightly, based on the themes that we know to be in line with a business’s key objectives. As a result, content strategies are focused not only on the most commercially valuable business terms, but also the ones with the most relevance.

What does WINNING look like?

Keeping tabs on the competition can be extremely useful in informing your seasonal campaign.

But before you start upcycling competitors’ strategies, you need to find out whether they’ve been a success.

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Market share based on high-value search terms throughout peak travel seasons

 

You can’t exactly get your hands on your competitors’ revenue and ROI, but you can view their daily or retrospective search performance to understand who’s achieving the greatest market share in your industry for the most organically valuable terms.

In article - Top performers - search term festival clothing - Pi Datametrics Position Explorer Chart

Daily SEO tracking reveals who’s dominating the festival season.

Stability is typical of top performers, and these brands above are getting it right. Daily SEO tracking will help you to discover the leaders in your industry, pinpoint which of their content gains traction in the SERPs and analyze what they have in common. You can then appropriate these working competitor formulas to boost your own content.

Be confident, not complacent

Most purchases begin with a stimulus of some kind; some are predictable, some are spontaneous. We’ll never be able to predict when someone gets a hole in their shoes, for example, but we can take a good stab at anticipating when they’ll be purchasing a pair of flip-flops for their summer holiday.

And that’s why search trend data is such a vital tool in enabling us to make informed, repeat strategic decisions on when to market and sell our products and services.

In saying this, however, we should make a concerted effort to ensure we don’t just rehash the same strategies year after year. It’s still of utmost importance to remain agile and be sensitive to new and emerging consumer demands.

 

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