Have your product pages, blog posts, or landing pages not driven much web traffic despite you jumping through all the right SEO hoops? The cause may be something that many site owners have never considered: keyword cannibalization.
Keyword cannibalization is a common yet often overlooked issue that can significantly impact your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) performance. In this article, we’ll delve into what it is and why it’s detrimental to a site’s search engine rankings. Most importantly, we’ll cover how to resolve it effectively.
The ultimate goal is that your website’s pages work harmoniously to improve your online visibility and drive organic traffic. Get ready to elevate your SEO strategy!
What is keyword cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization is a situation in which multiple pages on a website are targeting the same keyword or phrase. This can lead to confusion for search engines. It’s difficult for them to determine which of the multiple URLs to rank for that keyword. As a result, the pages may end up competing against each other in search results.
It also means that your backlinks become diluted as they’re spread across multiple pages instead of a single page. With all of these factors combined, your overall website authority may become weakened. This often leads to a lower overall search engine ranking for the website.
Keyword cannibalization can also result in a poor user experience, as visitors may encounter multiple pages with similar content, causing frustration and confusion when they’re looking for specific information.
Furthermore, keyword cannibalization can create unnecessary work internally for your company. It requires additional time and resources to identify and fix the issue.
To avoid keyword cannibalization, it’s important to conduct thorough keyword research. That will include determining a unique focus keyword or phrase for each web page. This can help to improve the website’s SEO and overall visibility in search results.
How do you fix keyword cannibalization? Here’s a checklist.
- Identify keyword cannibalization. Crawl your website using SEO tools like Ahrefs, Google Search Console, or SEMRush to identify instances where two or more pages are targeting the same keyword or closely related keywords. You can also simply type “site:(insert your website) (insert keyword)” into a Google search if you suspect you have two pages targeting the same keyword. If you want a comprehensive content audit, contact an expert at rellify. Writers who use the rellify platform will find that it’s not possible to create an article with a focus keyword that’s already been used. The app will flash a message to alert the writer about the existing article and provide a link so the writer can check it out.
- Evaluate the affected pages. Review all the pages that are competing for the same keyword. Determine the purpose and quality of each page. Identify which one is the most relevant and valuable for that target keyword.
- Choose a primary page. Designate one page as the primary page for the target keyword. This should be the page with the highest relevance, value, and potential to rank well in search engine results.
- De-optimize competing pages. Modify the competing pages to remove the focus on that target keyword. Change the title tag, meta description, headings, and content to focus on alternative focus keywords or long-tail keywords that are still relevant to the page’s topic. Here, you’ll want to use a keyword research tool.
- Improve the primary page. Optimize the primary page for the target keyword by enhancing the title tag, meta description, headings, and content. A canonical tag can also help search engines understand that this is the “master page” among any similar content on your website. Ensure that the page provides valuable and unique information to users and complies with SEO best practices.
- Consolidate content (if necessary). If the multiple pages competing for the same keyword have valuable content that can complement the primary page, consider merging the content and redirecting the old URLs to the primary single page.
- Add internal links. Strengthen the primary page’s authority by adding internal links from other relevant pages on your website. Use descriptive anchor text that includes the targeted keyword.
- Monitor performance.Use analytics tools to monitor the performance of the primary page in search engine rankings. Choose the right KPIs to track, check for improvements, and adjust your strategy as needed.
- Conduct regular audits. Regularly review your website for instances of keyword cannibalism and address any issues that arise. Regular audits will help you maintain a healthy site structure and maximize your SEO efforts.
- Educate your content team. Ensure that your content creators are aware of the risks of keyword cannibalism. Go over the importance of proper keyword targeting in order to gain more traffic. Develop content guidelines and strategies that minimize the risk of cannibalization in the future.
An example of keyword cannibalization in action
Imagine you run a blog dedicated to the peculiar world of umbrella fashion. You’ve published two pages with entertaining articles: one titled “The Top 10 Most Outrageous Umbrella Hats” and another called “The Wildest Umbrella Hat Trends of the Year.” Unbeknownst to you, both articles heavily target the keyword “umbrella hats.”
Your readers are simply thrilled to explore the world of quirky umbrella headwear. Unfortunately, Google is left scratching its virtual head. It’s unsure which of these two delightfully bizarre articles should be ranked higher for “umbrella hats.” This would be a classic case of keyword cannibalism in action.
To resolve this conundrum and eliminate keyword cannibalization, follow these steps:
- Determine the primary page. Choose the article that’s most relevant and valuable for the keyword “umbrella hats.” Let’s say you decide on “The Top 10 Most Outrageous Umbrella Hats.”
- De-optimize the competing page.Modify “The Wildest Umbrella Hat Trends of the Year” by focusing on alternative, new keywords, such as “craziest umbrella fashion” or “bizarre rain accessories.”
- Improve the primary page.Optimize “The Top 10 Most Outrageous Umbrella Hats” by enhancing the title tag, meta description, headings, and content. Ensure it’s the go-to source for everything umbrella-hat-related.
- Add internal links. Strengthen the primary page’s authority by adding internal links to it from other relevant web pages on your site. Use descriptive anchor text that includes the target keyword.
By following these steps, and subsequently monitoring how each new page performs, you’ll have successfully mitigated the tragedy of “umbrella hat” keyword cannibalism. Both articles will begin to thrive and delight your audience with their charm. And hopefully, you’ll start protecting more people from the perils of holding umbrellas with their hands.
Fix keyword cannibalization with the experts
Identifying keyword cannibalization can be a tricky task, especially if you have a robust website filled with lots of content. In addition, fixing keyword cannibalization issues can take a lot of time and effort to sort out on your own. That’s where rellify comes in.
The experts at rellify can help by quickly conducting a thorough audit of your website and its content. They’ll flag instances of multiple pages targeting the same keyword. Then they’ll help determine a keyword strategy that most effectively gets your pagesranking higheron Google search results pages. Contact an expert at rellify to learn how their state-of-the-art content services can help revamp your entire digital marketing strategy.