People don't frequently consider the SEO notion of keyword cannibalization. It doesn't exist, according to certain SEO experts. However, the fact remains that SEO keyword cannibalization is a problem that might affect your rankings.
Use this guide to learn what keyword cannibalization is, what it is not, and how to identify and resolve problems that are impeding the high performance of your website.
What Is Cannibalization In SEO?
When you use an excessive number of the same or closely related keywords across your website's content, you risk keyword cannibalization. Due to this, a search engine like Google is unable to decide which information should be ranked higher. This implies that occasionally the website you don't intend to prioritize will be given a better position.
But what causes it?
Keyword Cannibalization happens for two major reasons. Firstly, in case you have optimized them for the same keyword, or secondly because the topics they cover are too similar. In other words, when posts or articles are optimized for related search terms, their chances of ranking are reduced. For any given query, Google typically displays no more than 1 or 2 results from the same domain. If your domain has a lot of authority, you could earn 3.
Why Is Keyword Cannibalization Bad For SEO?
Cannibalising your own keywords puts you in a Google search engine ranking battle with yourself. Let's imagine you wrote two articles on the same subject. In that circumstance, Google is unable to determine which article ought to appear first for a certain query.
In addition, crucial elements like backlinks and CTR are spread out among several postings rather than just one. They will all most likely rank lower as a result. As a result, if you enhance a post for a focus keyword you have already used, our SEO analysis will display a red bullet. Let's examine the drawbacks of keyword cannibalization in more detail.
Why does keyword cannibalization hurt SEO so much? It results in, among other things, the effects of eCommerce cannibalization:
- Gives an idea of a poor-quality page. The presence of many sites focusing on the same term signals to readers that your content is possibly overwritten. Additionally, it tells Google that your content on each page might not be consistent with your keywords.
- Reduce Conversion Rate and Traffic. Your landing page will eventually earn less traffic and, as a result, fewer conversions as it rivals with another one in a SERP.
- Loss of Website Authority and Content Authority. Users lose faith in the knowledge and authority of a website's designers when they see an excessive number of pages from it on the same subject, especially when those pages seem thin and inadequate. Google also does this.
- Link Value Being Diluted. Multiple pages that are actively or unintentionally optimized for the same keyword will have less ranking power from links. By doing this, the link juice is distributed over several URLs as opposed to being concentrated in one.
- Affects Crawl Budget: The number of times a search engine crawler visits your website within a predetermined time frame is known as your crawl budget. Multiple pages devoted to the same keyword cause unnecessary pages to be crawled and indexed. While small brands won’t suffer much, huge e-commerce sites or suppliers with a wide range of items could lose a lot of resources in form of the crawl budget.
Your SEO efforts will ultimately become a waste of time and money as a result of this unfavourable impact. Therefore, the best course of action in this situation is to inspect your pages for cannibalization problems, address them, and try to prevent them in the future.
How To Find Keyword Cannibalization Issues?
Fortunately, resolving keyword cannibalization in SEO is simple once the issue has been discovered. Making a keyword matrix is all that is necessary to detect keyword cannibalization.
Simply make a spreadsheet that includes all of the crucial URLs for your website and the keywords that go with them. You may also use a keyword mapping tool. When you've finished listing your URLs and their keywords, go over the list and check it for any duplicates. If you notice any, particularly on essential sites, you're likely experiencing keyword cannibalization.
It's time to update those pages now! However, always keep in mind that keyword cannibalization can also happen if your title tags' meta-descriptions appear to target the same term. Therefore, be sure to examine those, too. You can also use this scenario to look for weak content and keywords that were inadvertently placed on the wrong page, especially if you're utilizing a rank-tracking tool. It's a good idea to give your website some TLC right now.
In simple words, you can go through the following process to find keyword cannibalization issues:
- Do a content audit
- Look at historic rankings
- Run a site: search
- Run a Google search and remove host clustering
- Check for multiple-ranking URLs
Once the issues are identified, it’s time to fix them.
How To Fix Keyword Cannibalization Issues?
The problem is usually just a matter of organizing. However, you might need to create additional landing pages or separate out the 301s for exceptionally obstinate circumstances. Here are the top potential solutions to fix keyword cannibalization issues:
1. Organize Your Website
The most straightforward approach is frequently to convert your most authoritative website into a landing page that connects to other distinctive versions that fit under the general heading of your chosen keywords. If we take the example of the shoe product, it could make sense to make "shoes" the canonical source page and link to it from all other, more specialized variants.
2. Design Brand-New Landing Pages
Another possibility is that you don't have a landing page that collects all of your product pages into one location. In this situation, it would be advantageous to develop a special landing page that would act as your authoritative source page and connect to all of your variations.
As an example, we might make a page for "hiking shoes" and another for "men's sneakers." With your consolidated pages and your variants, you should be able to target both general search phrases and long-tail keywords.
3. Streamline Your Content
Consider consolidating your pages into one if they aren't distinctive enough to merit having several pages targeting the same keyword. This is an opportunity to combine two underperforming pages into one reliable resource. It could also address the issue of thin content.
To find the page that performs the best in terms of traffic, bounce rate, time on page, conversions, etc., start by looking at your metrics. You could discover that while one page gets the majority of visitors, the other provides content that draws in more users. Consolidating the copied content that converts on the page with the greatest traffic in this situation is a smart move. Another advantage of this strategy is that you won't have to worry about your website being punished for having content that Google deems to be shallow or generic.
4. Employ 301 Redirects
Even while it is normally advocated against utilizing too many 301 redirects, you may need them if you already have several sites that are ranking for the same keywords. By referring the less important pages to a single, more reliable version, 301s enable you to combine your cannibalized content. But keep in mind that this strategy only works for pages with comparable content and those that match certain keyword queries.
5. Delete Content
Although it is extreme, it is wise to completely eliminate problematic online content, specifically if the content is no longer relevant to your website. This might happen due to numerous reasons including the expansion of the company. In such cases, you can delete previous, less professional, personal blog posts employing a specific set of keywords that are still showing up above your targeted site content.
6. Remove Keywords
Removing a keyword is always a possibility if you wish to keep some specific content for other reasons and its existence isn't essential. Although manual solutions are typically longer and more laborious, this method has the advantage of being very straightforward and simple to use.
7. Alter Your Internal Linking
Links generate value for search engines like Google. Thus, if you connect to another piece of content or website, the linked content may be ranked higher by the search engine. So, try expanding or altering your website's internal linking so that less significant information connects to the content you wish to emphasize and prioritize. By altering the internal linking, you are telling the search engine results page (SERP) that the linked content should take precedence.
8. Change Inbound Link Requests
If you conduct a search on your website, you can discover that one of the factors that contribute to less significant content continuing to rank higher than your more recent, relevant content is the building of links from other websites. You may use software to track backlinks if you have the resources and the time to do so, especially if the websites with which the connections are associated are extremely powerful ones.
9. New Keyword Research
Finally, if your website already has a wealth of pages with a wide variety of content and the only problem is a poorly thought-out keyword approach, perhaps all you need to do is to identify some new keywords. Just make sure the content of your page is adequately described by your keywords.
Will the content on each page that ranks for the target keyword satisfy a website visitor who used it in their search?
If the response is negative, you might want to look into keyword trends. You may find better keyword prospects for related pages by looking at your pages in a spreadsheet with the following information:
- Keyword & rank.
- The page URL.
- SEO title & meta description.
- Word count.
- Organic traffic.
- Bounce rate.
You should be able to identify pages using the same keywords using these factors. From there, you may identify the most valuable pages, those that can be combined, and those that require fresh keywords.
For all of the pages you wish to preserve, you can often utilize your keyword research tool to determine the most pertinent terms. If you have two blogs that are performing well for the same long-tail keyword, consider concentrating on a related broad term for one of them to increase traffic. When you discover that term, adjust your optimization strategy for it and update your spreadsheet with the relevant information.
How To Avoid Keyword Cannibalization?
Whether you're just getting started with website development or considering adding a new page, you need to anticipate cannibalization incidents from the very beginning. Some fantastic capabilities in the SEO PowerSuite tools might assist you in avoiding keyword cannibalization eCommerce problems. Here are a few strategies for handling it.
1. Conduct Keyword Research With An Eye Toward Intent
Therefore, consider the intent a keyword carries while searching for target keywords for a new landing page. Make careful to address this intent while producing new content. The likelihood that the landing page will be deemed pertinent for this term will rise as a result.
2. Examine Ranking And Intent Aspects In SERPs
SERP analysis has a direct relationship to the prior idea. Analyze the SERP for the target keywords before developing content for a landing page. You will ultimately save a ton of time and work by taking this action.
Look at the sorts of content that are prominently shown for a certain term. What purpose does it serve? It makes sense that if your content addresses transactional purposes, etc., it would be challenging to score high for an informative search query.
3. Track the placements of keywords.
A fantastic but sometimes underappreciated option is keyword mapping. It could assist you in avoiding keyword cannibalization and determining what content you will need to produce in the future when combined with a content strategy.
You may use a keyword mapping spreadsheet to combine a content strategy with your existing pages and allocated keywords. Use the Automated Tasks and Alerts scheduler and the keyword mapping feature in Rank Tracker to simplify things. Set up automated ranking checks, and the keyword cannibalization tool will handle your daily tasks with the least amount of work from you.
Read More: How Many Keywords Can You Target For A Single Page To Rank?
4. Regularly Audit Your Website
Site faults are typically a significant disadvantage for SEO. You can do routine keyword cannibalization audits using WebSite Auditor. Simply set up an automatic job to check your site on autopilot, and the program will scan it and even send you a report. Regarding term cannibalization, be aware of duplicate content problems, the layout of the website, internal links, and anchor texts.
Today, keyword cannibalization is more common than ever. Ironically, webmasters who understand the value of SEO for their company are frequently its victims. They want to improve their website, but they don't really know how to communicate with Google. You can always do that with the assistance of a professional SEO consultant.
It is because when determining search rankings, modern search algorithms are far more intelligent and discriminating. The key to ranking well on search engines is always going to be having quality content, and avoiding SEO cannibalization can help you highlight better and draw attention to your intended content.