“What do you do?” It’s a commonly asked question when first meeting someone, and it’s a good question to ask every page on your website. That’s right: Every page. Each page within your site’s hierarchy serve a clear purpose. If the page doesn’t serve a purpose, you might as well have planted a tree in a forest, asked Google to find it, and rank it for “fancy rubber duckies.”

To stand out and get found by Google, pages not only need to serve a purpose, but they need to be unique from one another. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t have multiple pages on the exact same topic – having too much of a good thing can confuse Google. And the last thing you want to do is compete with yourself in the SERPs. Like I always say, fighting with yourself in the mirror doesn’t really get you anywhere but crazy. Let’s not be crazy, folks.

To start, let’s clarify “multiple pages on the exact same topic:”

Rubber DuckiesExact Same Topic Across Multiple Pages:

Page 1: Rubber Duckies

Page 2: Rubber Ducks

Page 3: Rubber Duckies

Different Topics Across Multiple Pages:

Page 1: Fancy Rubber Duckies

Page 2: Evil Rubber Duckies

Page 3: Rubber Ducks vs. Pet Rocks

The second situation is best; each page, while relevant to one another, can be a stand-alone topic. More specifically, each page could rank for a different phrase or keyword in search. Now, let’s analyze your site. Do a page audit and assign a topic or phrase to each page.

DIY Page Audit:

    1. Pull a list of your website’s URLs
    2. Find the Purpose: Write down the phrase that describes what 80 percent of that page’s content is dedicated to. This is the page’s “purpose.”
    3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Condense information to one page that is similar, or rewrite pages to rank for a different phrase. This might require refreshing ambiguous content or writing content from scratch.

The page audit is a quick way to find multiple pages unknowingly competing for the same piece of the ranking pie. Consider this your list of targeted keywords. If you have duplicates in your list you may think about combining information from similar pages. Another scenario: Switch focus or repurpose the content altogether.

Another way to evaluate the value of a page’s purpose is to use Google Analytics to determine what type of organic traffic the URL currently receives. If you want to get fancy, you can go a step further and figure out the purpose of each page, then compare that to actual search volumes. This means cross-checking your target keyword list with Ad Words to make sure you are going after the most advantageous search phrases.

You may be surprised what you find – or don’t find your website saying to the rest of the world. Whether it was on purpose or not can now be up to you. Drop a line below!

To learn more about our on-page content strategies, check out CLASS: An insider’s guide to the Slingshot SEO methodology.