What Is Keyword Cannibalization in SEO
What is keyword cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization is when you use the same keyword on more than one page of your website. This can lead to confusion for search engines, which may not be able to determine which page is most relevant for that keyword. As a result, your pages may compete against each other in the search results, and neither may rank as highly as they could if there was only one page targeting that keyword.
How can keyword cannibalization hurt your website?
When two or more pages on your website are optimized for the same keyword, it can create confusion for search engines. As a result, your website’s ranking may suffer and you may even be penalized by Google. Keyword cannibalization can also lead to lower click-through rates and less traffic to your website. If potential customers see multiple results from your website for the same keyword, they may assume that you’re not an authority on the topic and choose to visit another site instead.
How can you avoid keyword cannibalization?
There are a few things you can do to avoid keyword cannibalization:
Do your research
Use keyword research tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends to find out which keywords are most popular for your topic.
When writing about a topic, be as specific as possible. This will help you target a more niche audience and avoid competing against yourself for the same keywords.
Use different variations of your keywords
If you’re targeting the same general topic with multiple pages, try using different variations of your keywords. For example, if you have two pages about “dog breeds”, one could focus on “small dog breeds” and the other could focus on “large dog breeds”.
How can you fix keyword cannibalization if it's already happening on your website?
- Conduct an audit of your website to identify all instances of keyword cannibalization using Google Search Console.
With Google Search Console (GSC) you can find out if there are any cannibalization issues between your advertising campaigns.
To start, go to the performance report and you will see by default a list of queries that your site has earned impressions and clicks. Then go to the pages tab to check the associated URL for the queries with the stat data.
Another way to check for keyword cannibalization is through the Google search operator.
Use the “site:[domain] keyword” search operator on Google to find a list of pages relevant and optimized for s specific keyword.
- Make changes to your website’s content, titles, and tags to differentiate the pages that are competing for the same keywords.
- Remove or redirect cannibalized pages
Apply 301 redirects on pages of your website that has the same intent and only keep one page which is the strongest for the specific keyword and intent. Once you have identified the strongest page for the search intent, apply the 301 redirects.
In addition, make sure to update the internal links pointing to the page you remove.
- Monitor your website’s progress over time to ensure that the changes you’ve made are having the desired effect.
- Repeat the process regularly to ensure that keyword cannibalization does not become a problem again in the future.
Why is it important to avoid keyword cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization is when you use the same keyword or phrase multiple times on your website, on different pages or posts. This can confuse search engines as to which page is most relevant for that keyword, and as a result, split the traffic between the pages.
This can hurt your SEO efforts because it dilutes the power of your keywords, and makes it harder for search engines to determine which page is most relevant. It can also lead to lower search engine rankings and less traffic to your website.
To avoid keyword cannibalization, you need to carefully choose your keywords and only use them once on your website. Make sure each page or post is optimized for a different keyword or phrase, and that there is enough unique content on each page to distinguish it from the others.
If you think you may have keyword cannibalization on your website, you can use a tool like Google Search Console to find out which pages are being affected. From there, you can make changes to your website to fix the problem.
Keyword cannibalization is a common issue that can hurt your SEO efforts. By carefully choosing your keywords and ensuring each page on your website is optimized for a different keyword or phrase, you can avoid this problem and improve your search engine rankings.
Examples of Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization can hurt your website’s SEO performance for some reasons. Here are a few examples:
Ranking URLs Changes
The ranking URLs that constantly change are a common sign of keyword cannibalization and typically means Google cannot figure out which page should rank.
Ranking Positions are Fluctuating
Some of the top search result pages have been known to change because keywords were being used in more than one place, which caused a fluctuation in where they would rank.
Ranking Keywords Struggle To Increase
When a single page dominates the ranking for its parent domain, it can sometimes be difficult to rank higher than that one entry due to both pages having equal authority.
The URL that Ranked on the Target Keyword is Wrong
The right keyword should always be used in the right URL to ensure that they rank for the exact term but if the keyword was used on multiple pages, the tendency is that the target keyword will rank on the wrong page.
Preventing Keyword Cannibalization Through Organization and Planning
When you first start building a website, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of adding new content. However, if you’re not careful, that same enthusiasm can lead to keyword cannibalization – a common SEO mistake that can have disastrous consequences for your website’s ranking.
What is keyword cannibalization? In simple terms, it’s when you use the same or similar keywords on multiple pages of your website. This might seem like a good idea at first – after all, you want your site to be easily found by potential customers – but it can do more harm than good.
Here’s why: when multiple pages are competing for the same keyword, it confuses search engines and makes it difficult for them to determine which page is most relevant. As a result, your pages may end up competing against each other for ranking positions, ultimately leading to lower visibility and traffic.
How can you avoid keyword cannibalization? The best way is to carefully select the keywords you use on each page of your site. Make sure that each keyword is closely related to the content on that page, and that there’s enough variation between keywords so that they don’t trip over each other.
It’s also important to use different keywords in different parts of your website. For example, if you have a blog post about “SEO tips,” don’t also use that exact phrase as a title for your home page. Not only will this create keyword cannibalization, but it will also make your website look like it’s trying to keyword stuff, which can hurt your credibility with both search engines and visitors.
Keyword cannibalization is a common issue on large websites, especially those that have been around for a while and have added new content over time without taking keyword cannibalization into account. If you think you might be suffering from keyword cannibalization, conduct a site audit to identify any potential issues. From there, you can make changes to your website to ensure that each page is optimized for its unique keywords.
Final Thoughts on Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization is a common SEO issue, but it’s easy to fix once you’re aware of it. By conducting a site audit and making changes to your website’s structure and content, you can ensure that each page on your site is optimized for its unique keywords. This will help you avoid any potential SEO problems caused by keyword cannibalization.