How to prove a site is suffering from conflicting content

22 Dec 2016


Written by:Alexander van Aken

After reading many interesting articles, including 'Identifying keyword cannibalization for better SEO' and 'Solving suspicious flux with a canonical strategy', by Pi Datametrics, I decided to investigate whether some of the websites I manage have internal conflict issues.



Results for

For the Dutch domain of, multiple landing pages existed that competed with one another for the theme of build your own website (eigen website maken)

On the 26th of January, three of those landing pages were 301-redirected to for the purpose of increasing organic traffic and keyword rankings in

Results were monitored during the months of February, March and April. During this period no changes to on-page SEO were made, nor were any backlinks directed to this page.

For this case study, data was analyzed within Google Analytics, Google Search Console and a keyword rank-tracking tool.


Google analytics data

manually detecting internal conflict

Daily organic traffic between 21st Dec - 11th March. Red arrow indicates the implementation of the 301 redirects.

Straight after the implementation of the 301-redirects there is a clear increase in daily organic traffic to

Is this uplift temporary?

manually detecting internal conflict - google analytics weekly traffic uplift

Weekly organic traffic between 1st Dec 2015 - 16th April. Red arrow indicates implementation of redirects (26th Jan).

It’s clear from the plot of weekly traffic that the effects of the 301 redirects are long term.


Is this uplift seasonal?

You could assume that January is always a slow month for this landing page. Unfortunately, there is no data from January 2015 to compare YOY performance and validate this theory. The data only goes as far back as 21st of July 2015.

manually detecting internal conflict - google analytics 301 redirect traffic uplift

Orange line = Weekly organic traffic from 5th Nov - 25th Jan. Blue line = Weekly organic traffic from 26th Jan - 16th April.

This chart demonstrates the notable uplift between the periods preceding and following the 301 direct implementation on January 26th. The orange line represents weekly organic traffic from 5th Nov – 25th Jan and the blue line displays significantly higher traffic thereafter.

The number of organic visitors, rose from 501 to 3,429 between both time periods. This constitutes a substantial increase of 584%.


Google Search Console data

manually detecting internal conflict - google analytics 301 redirect clicks uplift

Daily clicks from the 14th Jan - 13th April for the landing page in Google Search Console. Implementation of the 301 redirect is indicated by the red arrow.

In GSC it is clear that the number of clicks also increased structurally after the implementation of the 301 redirects. Unfortunately, data is retained for 90 days only so we could not look at any data prior to the 12th January 2016.


Did keyword rankings associated with this landing page increase?

Rankings for 10 keywords associated with the landing page were tracked prior to and following the implementation of the 301 redirects

manually detecting internal conflict - 301 redirect keyword ranking uplift

These are all Dutch keyword terms related to the topic of 'Building your own website'

In almost all cases the keyword rankings increased structurally.

In total, there was a net increase of 20 positions, seven of which occurred on page one in the SERPs.

This is important to note, as it’s harder to move the needle onto the top page of Google from beyond page one.


Keyword ranking success over time

The following graphs demonstrate the change in rankings over time. Each chart represents a keyword grouping based on similarity and relevance. A plot combining all data would be too hard to interpret.

manually detecting internal conflict - 301 redirect keyword ranking uplift charted

Keyword rankings for before and after the 301 redirects (which were implemented on the 26th January).

Out of 10 keywords, eight increased in organic rankings. The phrase online website maken(build website online) decreased in rankings.

A reason for this may be that it's the only phrase containing the word online, which Google might consider more relevant for another landing page within the domain.(i.e. the landing page ranks well for terms like website online).

Arguably, we can further optimize on-page elements so that Google will start to associate our chosen landing page with online website maken.


Manually identifying internal conflict: It can be done, but only on a small scale, over a long duration

Hostnet experienced internal conflict for 'Build your own website' related phrases.

This problem was resolved by 301 redirecting three conflicting landing pages, which shared similar content, to

On the basis of our data, we can conclude that the 301 redirects led to a structural increase in organic traffic, clicks and keyword rankings.

The results were satisfactory, but in total we used six tools to analyze keyword rankings, traffic and internal competition between landing pages. It took us over a month to get the results presented in this case study.

Also, we know that we are only scratching the surface here. Our method is not scalable and inherently limited, whereas with daily data from Pi Datametrics, internal conflict could have been detected sooner, and this work could have been done in a matter of days, as opposed to months.

What’s more, the majority of internal conflict issues would be solved entirely using Pi, whereas we currently estimate that we have only addressed about 10% of all issues affecting our domain.



As ever, we'd love to hear your thoughts on this number one search issue, so feel free to leave your comments below.

What's more, if you think your site has been affected by internal conflict, book a demo to find out how Pi can help.

Book your demo now


Want more? Read our other cannibalisation studies:


Louise Linehan

Louise Linehan

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