Watch Out for Content Cannibalization

November 28, 2018

Competition is an essential part of healthcare marketing — it leads to innovation, helps improve the customer experience, and (hopefully) staves off complacency. In the battle for ranking in digital healthcare marketing, there is one competitor organizations should never go up against: themselves.

Jonathan Catley, director of sales and marketing, MD Connect, Inc.

Jonathan Catley, director of sales and marketing, MD Connect, Inc.

Unfortunately, companies don’t just compete but get eaten alive, by their own digital marketing efforts, in part, because of content cannibalization. Content cannibalization, sometimes called keyword cannibalization, is a process in which a website devours its own presence within search engines. This typically happens when a single website has multiple pages targeting the same keyword or theme. By targeting the same keywords, your pages are forced to compete with one another, bringing down the ranking potential of each page.

It’s easy to see how this problem can occur, especially as more hospitals are becoming part of health systems. Approximately two-thirds of nonfederal hospitals in the U.S. are part of a health system, according to the 2018 edition of Hospital Statistics from the American Hospital Association. That’s up about 14 percentage points from 2013 stats. With each hospital comes a website to fold into the larger brand. And potential internal competition.

While it is easy to create the problem, finding a solution can prove much harder.

Jonathan Catley, director of sales and marketing at MD Connect, Inc., a Boston-based healthcare digital marketing firm, suggests starting with the basics.

“There are many facets of content cannibalization — from duplicate content to having multiple overlapping content campaigns. For integrating organizations, the best place to start is with the URL structure,” Catley says.

Learn more: Cannibal Content: Is Your Content Eating Itself Alive?

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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