5 | Content Cannibalization & Voice Search with Jon Earnshaw


Don’t create content in isolation.

Three things to ask yourself before creating something new; what are other people doing, what already exists and what is indexed in the search results? Read on or listen to the episode to find out more.

About Jon Earnshaw:
In search industry for over 10 years
Used to be a full-time lecturer in Business & Emerging Technologies
CTO & Co-founder of PiDatametrics
Coached me for my talk at Brighton SEO conference in 2017
Content Cannibalisation:
Jon has worked with many businesses, among which are news sites as well as retail. He suggests that before you create any content, ask yourself these three things;

What are other people creating?
What already exists on your site?
What already exists in the SERPs?
Example of what happens when you don’t think of the above 3 things:

There is a company in the travel sector. They wanted to write more content on a specific place in Italy and sent an editor out there. They explored and came back with great ideas for content which was then created and written. As they injected this into their eco-system however, they found that their visibility went down. They already ranked in position 2 in the search results for that travel destination and were receiving advertising revenue off the back of it. Since the new content went live though it was competing with their similar content piece.

Lesson in content creation to ensure you don’t have internal conflict:

Firstly, internal conflict is where your content pages drop overall rather than being replaced by another.

Divide your content into 3 broad categories;

Neutral content that will not be impacted by the new content you’re putting up
Complimentary content that will support the piece
Conflicting content which may cause conflict and visibility decreases
Decide what will be the doorway into your new world – will it be the original content or the new piece and if so, how will you inter-link between them. Start with understanding the mind of the searcher to create the most appropriate doorway.

Optimise around the topic rather than keywords:
RankBrain algorithm update is a bit like their disambiguation engine. It looks and works out complex searches, a lot of the time using artificial intelligence to do so, so it’s a matter of writing around the subject and using synonyms rather than just the one search term. It’s a matter of making contextual connections within our own sites.


I have been using PiDatametrics to test a group of pages by adding synonyms into the footer and found that not only were those pages now showing up for the synonym searches but also ranking higher for the original set of keywords.

Voice Search:
By 2020 50% of all searches are predicted to be made by voice. People are much happier to use Alexa, Google Home etc.

Answering Questions: searches are made in a different way so think about HOW these will be asked if done so by voice rather than typed. Include these questions within the page itself.
Dialogue & Conversations: It’s not just about creating content for one or two questions but making content for the whole topic because you have conversations with these at home and on the go. Keep in mind that there are potential clicks in these searches as well but usually after the searcher has asked 4/5 questions.
Artificial Intelligent: News companies are using it to create content whilst Google is using it to understand semantic relations and topics so test different ways of creating content for voice, be it separate pages for each question or 1 Q&A page with multiple questions and answers.
Best practice SEO still relevant: basic SEO is still needed, so page optimisation, correct coding and external links to show authority and appear in the results in the first place.
Responsibility in Search:
Editors need to take more responsibility and adopt an approach to content creation that is contextual. This will remove internal conflict because a lot of the time they’re failing to curating content that’s being created.

We also have an ethical responsibility. Lexi Mills (ex Distilled) gave an SEO talk that mentioned this and she gave an example of how she found out someone close to her unfortunately was diagnosed with Cancer so she went straight onto Google to look at the life expectancy. She wanted to see the data right in front of her (which when she saw it, caused her to faint and have a panic attack) but what she needed was to understand the complexities of knowing this is very much dependent on a number of factors, such as age, type of cancer and stage of the sufferer. We therefore, as content creators for Google, have the ethical responsibility of understanding the searcher and create content dependent on that circumstance.

Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes


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