Tips to Identify & Avoid Keyword Cannibalization to Boost Your SEO
What is keyword cannibalization? This is a situation where the information architecture of a website relies on a single keyword or a single phrase in multiple places on the website.
This situation can really affect your rankings and thus should be taken seriously.
Keyword cannibalism can occur unintentionally where you have a number of pages on a website having the same keyword in the header tag, title, and anchor text. This can cause a lot of trouble when we regard Google guidelines.
The situation of overusing a keyword is called keyword cannibalization because you are splitting your CTR, links, content and even conversions between two or more pages.
This prevents Google from realizing the breadth and depth of knowledge that you have to offer and thus you are not able to improve the authority of your site for that particular query.
Problems Caused by Keyword Cannibalization
The problems that occur when a website engages in keyword cannibalization is that Google will not be able to identify which page is the most relevant for which specific query if all your title pages wish to be ranked for the same term.
Most websites that do this hope to get their whole website to be ranked higher which doesn’t happen and they also miss out on very many more amazing SEO opportunities.
These problems include:
Keyword Cannibalization Problem #1: Conversion Rate
You should focus your efforts on creating one page that will get you high conversion rates rather than spend time and energy on multiple pages which have very low conversion rates and which target the same traffic.
Keyword Cannibalization Problem #2: Content Quality
When multiple pages on your website have the same keyword they should also talk about the same thing.
This comes with the risk of having poor quality content which is replicated many times and thus lowering the chances of your website receiving links and referrals.
Keyword Cannibalization Problem #3: Internal Anchor Text
This keyword cannibalization really prevents you from actually concentrating the value of internal anchor texts on a single page.
Keyword Cannibalization Problem #4: External Links
If you have multiple pages which are targeting the same keyword your external links will have to be split between these different pages.
You will have to share the SEO value from your external links with multiple pages instead of concentrating all this effort on one specific page that will actually give you a higher rate of conversion.
Keyword Cannibalization Problem #3: Diminishing Page Authority
When you use the same keyword for multiple pages on your website you turn these pages into competitors. This will cause these pages to fight for SERP rankings and page views.
Keyword Cannibalization Problem #3: Google may Devalue the More Relevant Page
Keywords really help Google to understand what each page on your website is all about.
If you use the same keyword for each page, you force Google to choose which page best suits the query at hand and if your content is very similar then Google may get it wrong.
How To Identify Keyword Cannibalization
For you to be able to fix a problem you have to identify it first. Identifying keyword cannibalism is actually very easy.
You should just create a spreadsheet which lists all the important URLs of your website and their associated keywords.
The next step is to go through your list and see if there are any entries that have been duplicated.
If there is any duplication especially across core pages then your website is suffering from keyword cannibalism.
How To Fix Keyword Cannibalism
The method you use to fix keyword cannibalization will depend mostly on what the root of the problem is. The following are possible solutions you can use to deal with this problem:
Restructure Your Website
This is actually the simplest solution where you turn your most authoritative page into a landing page that links to other variations which are unique but fall under the same umbrella of your targeted keywords.
Create New Landing Pages
If you lack a landing page that can consolidate all the product pages you have on your website, you should create a unique landing page that will serve as your authoritative source page and link this page to all your page variations on your website.
Consolidate Your Content
If your page variations are not unique enough to necessitate having multiple pages targeting the same keyword, you should consider combining these variations into one page.
This gives you the chance to take underperforming pages and turning them into one page that is authoritative and actually converts more. This can also solve the issue of thin content.
Find New Keywords
If you have pages that are unique and have rich content and your only problem is poorly planned keyword strategy, then all you may actually need is to come up with new keywords.
You should make sure that the keywords you come up with actually describe what your page is about and this will have solved the issue accurately.
Use 301 Redirects
This should be your last resort as it can have a number of negative impacts on your SEO rankings.
It is, however, necessary when you happen to have multiple pages which are ranking the same terms.
The use of 301 redirects allows you to consolidate all your cannibalized content into one page that is a more authoritative version.
It should, however, be noted that this tactic is actually only suitable for pages which have similar content and match specific keyword queries.
This entails coming up with different variations of a keyword and linking them back to the canonical source for the specific term.
This will enable Google to know which version of the keyword is most relevant for each query given.
Though you should mainly consider Google for your SEO, never forget that your users also have to deal with multiple pages which are targeting the same keyword which is not good when it comes to user experience.
Using this method will ensure that you deliver a better user experience to your website users and also provide more relevant information.
Keyword cannibalization has become rampant in recent years than ever before. It is ironical to note that those who are affected most by this plague are webmasters who recognize and understand the importance of SEO for their business.
These masters do not fully understand how to use Google’s language despite the fact that they intend to optimize their website.
If you find that your website is cannibalizing its keywords don’t worry because the damage caused is not permanent and the solutions are not hard to come by.
If you have the right tools and the right attitude, then you can reverse the effects and give your SEO a significant boost.
When you follow the tips that we have given you in this article you will be able to easily fix this problem of keyword cannibalization and actually even prevent it from reoccurring.
It is important to keep in mind that instead of trying to rank for a single keyword you can choose to use long tail phrases as they will bring you the required results and spare you the headache of cannibalization to ensure that your pages are well optimized for success.