Some Pages Are Ranking for the Same Keyword | Internal Linking Others to the Most Satisfying Page | Keyword Cannibalization

Andrew
I have 3 pages all ranking for the same keyword. Is there any way to try and get the 'power' from 2 of these pages and move it to the most 'important' page?
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Kamran
yes you can use canonical for this. Put rel canonical tag on the two pages which points to the most important page. This will serve your purpose.'

Mike » Kamran
no. Do not do this. That is not what canonicals are for.

Mike
I would link from the other two pages to the page that you consider to be more important.

Kamran » Mike
No you are wrong here.What if they are already linked? Here you need to understand what he has asked in question. If 3 pages are ranking against same keyword, it is highly likely that the all are around the same topic and when the user wants to transfer power and authority to only one, it implies that he only want one page to rank rather than all 3. and to transfer 'power' and 'authority' , canonical is best possible solution here. Links from other 2 pages won't be enough to transfer all power and authority.
Mike » Kamran
No. You are wrong. What you are suggesting is a incorrect use of canonical tags.
Canonical tags are for identical or nearly identical content. Not three distinct pages that happen to be related to the same topic.
And it would be incredibly stupid to take the other two pages out of the SERP by canonicalizing them to the other page.
Kamran » Mike
Seems like you have not practically implemented canonical tags in real situations. Reading guidelines is one thing, implementing it across different situations gives you more experience and insights. My dear i have done multiple configurations in different scenarios. Canonical works fine when 2 pages have same topic or same theme. Just do it yourself to check the results.
If you again read the question it stated that he wants to move power from other 2 pages. when they will be powerless how can they rank in same spots. Ultimately it means he wants to retain only one. Once the important page will get power from other 2 pages its rank will improve further.
Mike » Kamran
Don't question my experience and try hurling insults. And I'm not your 'dear'.
The best solution is to continue pushing the rankings of all 3. If the OP doesn't want people finding the other two, canonical is not the correct solution. They should just 301 redirect the other pages in that case.
Again, the best option is to keep pushing the rankings of all 3 and have 2 of them linking to the "primary" page.
Kamran » Mike
You are again wrong here. You said keep pushing ranking of all three pages. Have you ability to understand the question even? All three pages are ranked against a singe keyword. It is always best to retain one page to avoid dilution in ranking. It will be completely stupid approach to push ranking for all three.
Mike » Kamran
Lol. Having three pages ranking doesn't dilute rankings. Keyword cannibalization is not real.
Kamran » Mike
Really? Keyword cannibalization does not exist?
some pages are ranking for the same keyword internal linking others to the most satisfying keyword cannibalization
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Mike » Kamran
Not as a ranking problem, no. It's a myth. It can be an optimization problem if there is a page that would convert better being outranked.
Kamran » Mike
well, it can be your opinion based on your experience. But i recently faced same problem with one of my sites. I have 2 almost similar pages ranking on same keywords. I used canonical and it worked perfectly fine for me. Now the primary page is ranking much higher if we compare it with rankings when there were 2 pages ranking.
Ben Allen 🎓 » Kamran
Mike is right. Canonicalizing 3 different pages is a terrible idea and internally linking from the weaker pages to the preferred one with appropriate differentiating anchor text is the way to do it while showing Google the subtle topical differences. Also, don't be rude, and being condescending while simultaneously giving such… irregular advice is kinda weird.
Colin » Kamran
When you use canonical in this “non identical pages” scenario what happens to the indexing of the two pages, as Mike suggested? I would assume they need to remain in largely same position, but below main page to have any benefit. I’m no canonical expert do feel free to tell me I misunderstand.

Mia
Choose the most powerful one to* link the other pages to, then choose longtail keywords or small keyword variations for the other two pages to use them as closely related searches to gain more visitor pull from the longtails/variations, and optimize the content and metas accordingly. That way you won’t lose the rank of the main page but you’ll gain more visitors from closely related searches //*edited a spelling error.

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Discussion :
Gary
Hi. I have a really big site with 13,000 articles. We are good for SEO users in general. I've got a whole team at the moment. However, we seem to be a bit random with our content strategy.
My partners were asking me if we make more articles on similar subjects crossing over with some of the details. Would it cannibalize the original article that was doing really well.
For our categories that are doing well that's a no brainer it would be good to do but what is the best way to do more articles on very narrow niches? Maybe like canonical towards the original article? Or do you think we can just link to the original article and that wont affect the original one detrimentally, unless we over optimize with anchor texts of course.
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Andrew 🎓
Create a cluster of articles around the same keyword and apply it to different audiences.
If you only want one page to rank, you should probably make it the one best designed for commercial intent.
Apply internal links from these audience articles to your target page and don't link out internally to any page that is competing for that keyword.
If at all possible, adjust the h1 and title to catch long tail traffic and avoid getting too close to the primary keyword with these various articles.
I've had the same issue with a really small pool of articles that relate to a product, and you just need to be conscious of how page rank is passed within your own site.
Doing this also helps establish topical relevancy and will hopefully work towards assisting Google in how it identifies your site.
If you want to go over it via Skype, I'd be happy to brainstorm with you.

Gary
So if we have one that ranks #3 for example with the title "Nike Trainers That are most Popular in France". Should we avoid a title for new articles that contain titles with Nike and France?
Andrew 🎓 » Gary
Depends.
If people search popular Nike trainers in France and they search for the top rated Nike trainers in France, then you could write two articles.
In general, keyword plus modifier can have a myriad of additional modifiers.
X + Y + [z | A | B | C | D]
I've also seen people write two articles, get backlinks with a specific anchor text for one article and then later redirect that article to the primary article in an attempt to get the single page url to get ranking for both queries.
Gary
Would rel=canonical work for that? If I spelt it right. lol
Andrew 🎓 » Gary
I don't think you necessarily need to establish that the canonical version of the page is A on your page B. Just make sure its unique enough and do the internal linking and see from there.
The backlinks and anchor text used can also help prevent the cannibalization.

Gary
Might seem a bit weird me asking this being I am an SEO but just letting our contributors do what they want up until now has been good for us. I just think we need to be more concerted now to get to the next level. Ie, #1

Allen » Gary
Have you used cora/pop/surfer to see what #1 has that you don't?
Gary
That's a good idea. Maybe I can show my guys some videos. Keith's for example. I think we are doing well on the content front anyway but worth a shot double checking if we are missing things isn't it. I would hire some guys from here but we get most of our staff for free and its hard to compete against free. Plus they are good themselves. Just this group is on the bleeding edge and I'm trying to get my guys up to speed more.
Gary
We are really good with researching individual articles. Some of the best. We even do proper expectations and such for primary research but I need to work on our macro strategy more.
Keith L Evans 🎓 » Allen
I was thinking the same Good tip. 👍🏻

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Diaz
When dealing with big sites with thousands of articles I've always found areas of opportunity in:
1. Internal linking
2. keyword cannibalization and content consolidation
Anyways, regarding your questions:
"My partners were asking me if we make more articles on similar subjects crossing over with some of the details. Would it cannibalize the original article that was doing really well."
Maybe.
Check the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for the related subjects/keywords you want to focus on. Do you see different articles ranking for those keywords? Or are the same articles ranking for those related subjects you want to rank for? If the same article is ranking then it would be better to expand/optimize your current content instead of creating more content.
"For our categories that are doing well that's a no brainer it would be good to do but what is the best way to do more articles on very narrow niches?"
What I said above. Sometimes the best option would be to expand your original article instead of creating more articles.
"Maybe like canonical towards the original article?"
Mmm would make no sense to create more articles then canonicalize them to the original, if what you want to do is to rank for more subjects/related keywords. You would just work a lot for nothing.
The rel canonical it's just a suggestion, it can be ignored by Google if they feel like it. And if they do take it into account, that would mean they would not index your new article and would pretty much ignore it so, no point in writing it.
"Or do you think we can just link to the original article and that wont affect the original one detrimentally, unless we over optimize with anchor texts of course"
It's difficult to "over optimize" internal anchors. Though I almost always interlink with phrase match instead of exact match keywords.
Paul
I think you can create related content which people can read only if you have more data about it make sure it's not too thin and you are creating it just for the sake of creating it
Luis
I'm no expert but something that has worked for me very well has been creating individual articles that stem from the main one I want to rank, and create different content levels. For example: say I write about "English Language Tests" in one long post and I mention and describe 5 different tests (1st level). Well, now you have 5 different posts you can write, each for an individual exam (2nd level). Now, each exam has 4 or 5 different parts: speaking, writing, etc. You can write a post for each part (3rd level). And then you can write a post about strategies to prepare each part (4th level). In my case, I haven't reached so many levels, but I can tell you I've managed to hog the SERPs for some keywords with 2 or 3 results in the top 5, without cannibalization at all.
Obviously, implement internal linking wisely and it will help you a lot.
Albin
I would consider doing a content audit and consolidating similar articles into more thoughtful pieces rather than over-strategizing with clusters or internal linking. Sometimes less can be more as it's better for Google to view one piece as the authority on multiple topics rather than numerous pieces as less of an authority on multiple topics.

Smith » Albin
Agreed. Update the content or consolidate, wouldn't create too many new pages. Looking at Google Console really will tell you what to do often times.
Gary
Good point. However its already 2,000 words for example and the couple above it are only 1000.
Albin » Gary
I wouldn't worry about word count too much unless you have data to suggest that it's important for a given topic

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