It’s Ok to Have Two SEO Pages Focused on the Same Phrase

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It's Ok to Have Two SEO Pages Focused on the Same Phrase

It is ok to have two separate pages on your website focus on the same keyword phrase in some situations.  Modern SEO is about the topic and intent of the page, not the specific phrase.  But that doesn’t mean you should keyword stuff and create multiple versions of a page, it means focus on the user intent and experience.

What was mostly factual years ago is now a myth.  The rumor that you cannot focus two pages on the same keyword comes from a fear that your site will get a duplicate content penalty or devaluation.

There were three main concerns:

  • If search engines have to choose between two, they choose another site that makes it easier to know which page should show up for that phrase.
  • When content competes, both pages move to the lower pages in the SERPs because it isn’t sure which is the best experience.
  • Only one page can win, so the page that ranks may not be the best one and you lose some conversions.

Now that we have machine learning like Google’s MUM and BERT, combined with on page and tech SEO, things have changes.  Modern search engines look at the surrounding words in the paragraphs, headers, and titles.  They try to determine the correlations and topical relationship of these phrases with their relevance to the person searching’s needs.

Some search engines may also look at a user’s past searches and where the person is in their consumer or content journey, then determine which of the two “competing” pages are the better result at this person’s current stage.  Last is the tech part combined with the content.

I’ll use blue widgets as the example and pretend we have an ecommerce site.  This same concept applies to publishers, service providers, and everything in between.

If you sell blue widgets through your store and also have a blog, you likely have a sales page for blue widgets and a blog post about blue widgets.  On top of that there’s likely multiple short form posts related to blue widgets like how to guides, definitions, and uses.  This is where asking yourself “How can a search engine choose the best one?” to show to the user when both are optimized for “blue widgets” is your job as a marketer.   The answer is simple, it is a mix of the wording you use, the internal links you build, and the schema on the page.

Your ecommerce page should never define what a blue widget is, the person already knows and is ready to shop.  Instead it should have copy about what the blue widget is compatible with, the solutions it provides and what it does not provide or help a customer with.  The page can also contain other content that helps the shopper make a more informed purchase.  This includes how blue widgets fit into their every day lives.  Then there are your long form lead pages, landing pages, and blog posts.

The content on the blog could have a long form post or multiple shorter pieces of content that define what blue widgets are to educate people just starting their research.  Blog content could also feature step-by-step guides for using blue widgets, the history and evolution of them, interesting use cases, and other informative, but non-commercial topics.

These educate the person so they know how to make an informed decision, but the person may not be ready to shop.  This is why this content does not go on the commercial page.  If the content does convince them to purchase, use an internal link and a call to action in a relevant place to bring them to the shopping page.

Now you can begin applying the tech SEO elements.  When you mention blue widgets in a piece of content, build an internal link to the proper page.

  • If the internal link is in content and the content is about shopping like a best XYZ list, comparisons between two models or versions, or something else, it goes to the shopping page.
  • If the content is about the history, versions and variations, and is to educate or show examples of the product, the link should go to the most relevant article on the blog.

Search engines may use the wording around the links to determine the intent of the page you’re linking to, and they may use the specific keywords you link off of.  These signals you send may help them learn when to show the page in their search results and what queries it may help the searcher with.  And to make it even more easy for search engines, deploy proper schema.

Ecommerce schema can include product, online store, and have features like prices and availability.  Schema combined with shopping content helps signal the page is a shopping experience so the search engine knows it should show up for someone searching to purchase a blue widget at that moment.

Blog content could have article, blog posting, or news article schema (depending on the type of content) which signals this is not a shopping experience but is informational.  This page should be shown for someone looking for more information and is not ready for a direct conversion.  It could be comparisons, reviews, articles, ebooks, guides, definitions, questions and answers, listcicles and gift guides, or anything else informative without a direct conversion element.

SEO changes as new technology comes out, but the core values always remain the same.  With machine learning and schema you can have two pages for the same keyword phrase if your content, on page, and code are solid.

By doing this you make it easier for search engines to know when to show which page, and show that your website has a proper page experience for each step of the consumer’s journey.  Your site becomes a complete resource and authority on the subject.

Don’t worry to much about having two pages focused on the same phrase, just make sure the experience is the correct one for the potential visitor and do your best to reduce confusion for the search engines with code, content, and on page experience.

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