Saturday 4th of February 2023

What is Keyword Cannibalization and How to Avoid it?

For users who are searching for a specific item or product, search engines can be extremely effective, but narrowing down candidates to a smaller, more-manageable pool is harder when doing a general search.

Owners and managers of local businesses will likely serve a local market, but you may also serve a global market with your goods or services. As a result, the entire world also becomes your competitor. In order to achieve high search rankings and ease of use, it is more crucial than ever to utilize keywords correctly!

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is usually explained as occurring when you have multiple pages on your site that target the same keyword – that is, when one takes over the ability to rank the other and neither both perform as well as they should. For example,

If you have several blog posts or articles on your site that rank for the same search term in Google, this is called keyword cannibalization. You either optimized them too much for the same keyphrase or their topics are too similar.

In reality, it isn’t quite like that.

Even if two or more pages on your website target the same keyword, they won’t rank if they aren’t optimized for the same term.

The issue of cannibalization has to do with intent.

Hence, having multiple pages that have the same intent results in Keyword Cannibalization!

If your posts or articles are optimized for the same search queries, they will compete with each other for ranking space. As a result, you are basically competing against yourself.

A couple of years back, John Mueller was asked a question on Reddit AMA:

“How does Google view keyword cannibalization? People believe that multiple pages about the same topic will confuse search engines, which hurts ranking outcomes.”

As a response, John said:

We just rank the content as we get it. If you have a bunch of pages with roughly the same content, it’s going to compete with each other, kinda like a bunch of kids wanting to be first in line, and ultimately someone else slips in ahead of them :). Personally, I prefer fewer, stronger pages over lots of weaker ones – don’t water your site’s value down. — John Mueller, Google

What kind of Problems that Keyword Cannibalization Cause?

  • Your ranked pages keep changing in Search Engine Results
  • Your ranked keywords keep fluctuating
  • It’s really hard to increase the rank of a keyword you want
  • Wrong URL might rank on SERP

How to Identify Keyword Cannibalization?

To check that your website affected with Keyword Cannibalization, simply Googling the below query:

site:yourdomain.com + “suspecting keyword”

Here, <yourdomain.com> is your website’s homepage and “suspecting keyword” is that keyword you’re suspect. By doing this, you can identify that you’re suffering from keyword cannibalism or not for those keywords.

How to Fix/Avoid Keyword Cannibalization on Your Website?

As soon as you recognize that your website has keyword cannibalization problems, you need to take the below action item:

  • Audit your webpage content
  • If you see the cannibalized pages, then try to merge those multiple articles into single article.
  • If you don’t wish to merge, then you can remove that page and implement 301 redirection to a page you want to pass rank.
  • If you don’t want to remove that cannibalized page, then simply add NOINDEX meta tag in <head> section of that page.
  • Final suggestion is to implement internal links to the relevant pages. By the way you can check relevant pages are already present on your site and no need to create same intent page.

Process-driven approaches can be implemented to not only identify, but also fix, cannibalization problems on a regular basis. These steps can prevent such problems from recurring.

Keyword Cannibalization is a common SEO issue and you need to work on this for better performance of your pages.

To get a good ranking, good content is always the most important factor, and you can ensure you are not keyword cannibalizing by making sure your intended content is highlighted and gets the attention it deserves.

We hope this article helps you some, and we would really happy if you drop your comments!

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