SEO is a complicated and ever-shifting game, but one thing is certain: keyword cannibalization can quickly put an end to your success. Keyword cannibalism occurs when multiple pages on the same website are competing for the same keyword phrases, resulting in fewer visitors than expected due to competition within the site itself. This can be a major issue if you’re trying to drive traffic to your website, so it’s important to take steps to ensure that your pages aren’t cannibalizing each other.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the basics of keyword cannibalization and how to identify if your site is suffering from it. We’ll also discuss how to fix and prevent keyword cannibalism so you can ensure your SEO efforts are being maximized.
What Is Keyword Cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on your site are targeting the same keyword or phrase. This can lead to a lot of confusion for both search engines and users as they try to determine which page is most relevant to their query.
When a search engine crawls multiple pages that all contain the same keyword, it won’t be able to determine which page should rank highest. This leads to multiple pages from your site competing against each other for the same keyword, thus “cannibalizing” their own rankings.
For example, if you have a blog post and a product page both targeting the keyword “red shoes”, it’s possible that neither page will show up in search results due to the confusion. What will happen next is that search engines will rank other relevant pages higher in the SERPs, thus making your website less visible to potential customers.
Why is keyword cannibalization a problem?
Keyword cannibalization causes several problems:
Firstly, it prevents a website from achieving its full potential in search engine rankings since multiple pages are competing for the same keyword and splitting the visibility instead of doubling it. This can lead to a decrease in organic traffic and revenue to your website.
Secondly, keyword cannibalization can result in duplicate content issues – if two or more pages contain the same content, search engines may not know which one to rank, leading to a lower ranking for both of them.
Finally, keyword cannibalization can also create confusion for users – if multiple versions of the same page appear in search results, it can lead to frustration and affect user experience. In turn, this may result in users not clicking on any of the results or even leaving your website altogether.
Identifying keyword cannibalization
Finding out if your website is suffering from keyword cannibalization is fairly simple: you need to check if multiple web pages are using the same target keywords. For this, you will have to manually review your website content and compare it with the list of target keywords.
Once you’ve identified duplicate content issues, you can start taking steps to fix them – either by consolidating web pages or rewriting content.
To make this easier, you can also use SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to identify keyword cannibalization. These tools allow you to quickly review content on your website, compare keywords and analyze the competition.
To identify keyword cannibalization issues, you should review the analytics metrics for each page. This includes things like page views, bounce rate, time on the page and conversions.
If you find one page outperforming others relative to your target keyword, this could indicate that pages are competing against each other for rankings. Additionally, if two pages have similar performance metrics then it’s likely that they’re cannibalizing each other.
For example, if one page has higher page views and a longer time on page, then it’s likely that it is ranking better for the target keyword. In this case, you should look at consolidating the content and redirecting the unnecessary pages to reduce keyword cannibalization.
Analyzing backlinks is a smart way to identify keyword cannibalization issues. Here, you’ll want to look for pages that have a high number of backlinks pointing to them. If multiple pages on your website have the same target keyword and similar backlink profiles, it’s likely that they are competing against each other for rankings.
In this situation, you should consider consolidating the content of both pages into one and redirecting the other to that page. This will optimize your website’s keyword usage, and help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
For instance, if you have two blog posts about “how to bake a cake”, it might be better to consolidate the content into one post and redirect the other. This will help avoid keyword cannibalization and offer your readers a comprehensive resource on baking cakes.
In addition, it’s important to note that some backlinks may contain duplicate or near-duplicate content. To avoid this, you should try to link back to different pages on your website or use nofollow links when linking to the same page.
Comparing keyword rankings
This is another way to spot potential keyword cannibalization issues. If two pages are competing for the same keywords, it’s important to research and identify which page is performing better. Once identified, you can implement changes like updating meta titles and descriptions, optimizing content, or redirecting irrelevant URLs. Doing so will help your website rank higher in SERPs and prevent keyword cannibalization.
By closely examining your website and keeping an eye out for keyword cannibalization, you’ll be able to optimize your SEO efforts more effectively. This can help keep your pages from competing against each other and ensure that the most relevant content is targeted by search engines.
For example, if you have two pages targeting the same keyword, it would be wise to compare their organic rankings. If one page is ranking higher than the other, focus on optimizing content and titles for that page so it will rank even higher.
Checking and auditing content
To identify keyword cannibalization, it’s important to audit your content regularly. This means looking at all the content you’ve created to identify pages that could be cannibalizing each other.
You should also look for any pages with duplicate or similar titles, as search engines may think they are targeting the same keyword and therefore competing against each other. Additionally, make sure to check any meta descriptions to see if they contain your target keywords.
Finally, check to ensure that your content is optimized for the right keywords and phrases. Consider adding more relevant content to pages with less traffic, or revising titles and descriptions on more popular pages so they focus on different topics instead of cannibalizing each other.
Regular content audits are also an effective way to prevent future occurrences of cannibalization by identifying and removing duplicate content, redirecting old URLs to newly updated pages, and creating a plan of attack for maintaining keyword-optimized content. By analyzing how your current content is performing and making the necessary changes, you can keep your site optimized for search engine success.
- Once identified, keyword cannibalization can be addressed in several ways, including:
- Consolidating pages with similar content into one page
- Optimizing titles and headings for pages targeting different keywords
- Reducing the number of internal links that link to multiple pages with the same keyword
- Adding unique content to each page
How is keyword cannibalization beneficial?
Keyword cannibalization can be both beneficial and detrimental to a website’s performance. It is important to determine what keywords are best for each page and optimize them accordingly, as well as monitor which pages are competing against one another. Doing so will help to ensure that your pages are optimized properly and provide the best experience possible for visitors. This will help to ensure that your website is successfully reaching its target audience and delivering the desired results.
Keyword cannibalization can help to improve the quality and relevance of each page, providing visitors with more information about a topic. By optimizing each page for a different keyword, search engines may also reward your pages by offering them higher rankings as they are considered more relevant than multiple similar pages on the same website. Additionally, consolidating or reducing the number of pages that share the same keyword can help to reduce competition, as only one page will be competing for that particular term.
By following these steps, you can help to avoid keyword cannibalization and create a better SEO strategy for your website that will increase traffic and improve search engine rankings. With careful planning, regular monitoring, and appropriate optimization techniques, you can maximize the potential of your website and ensure that it is well-positioned to succeed in a competitive online marketplace.
If you need more help, an SEO company in Kolkata can help you to develop an effective SEO strategy and ensure that your website is optimized for success. Their team of experts can provide advice on keyword research, content creation, landing pages, link building, and more, so you can be sure that your website is ready to compete in the online marketplace.