KEYWORD CANNIBALIZATION

What is keyword cannibalization and how to deal with it?

Keyword Cannibalization

When you optimize your content for SEO, or while doing a SEO audit, you may have added keywords. Yet, a common mistake content creators often fail to notice is keyword cannibalization. This is a problem that affects the ranking of your content. It may even cost your posts the first position on the SERPs.

Keyword Cannibalization

What Is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword Cannibalization happens when many sources of content from your web page compete against each other. Thus it affects the ranking of both the posts adversely. This issue usually happens due to optimization. When you optimize your blogs or articles for the same search queries, it can cause keyword cannibalization. This may also occur if the content topics are alike, and you optimize them for the same keywords.

How to Identify Keyword Cannibalization? 

There are a few ways to find and fix the issue of keyword cannibalization. One way is by checking it manually. Whereas you can also use an automated process offered by many websites online.

To use the manual process, you will need to insert your website into any site explorer. A site explorer helps you check the organic traffic generated by your website. It can also review the inbound links of your web page. After you have pasted the link on the link explorer, you can view the organic keywords report. You should export it to a CSV report.

After this, you can import the file to form a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet can enlist the posts’ URLs, and the keywords each of them are ranked for. It will also help simplify your work to check and delete any excess or unwanted data. Then you can search through the data to cut down on any keywords that exist more than once.

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Why is Keyword Cannibalization An Issue? 

There are several reasons why keyword cannibalization is problematic for your content ranking. It can cause a post that is not as well written to get a higher ranking than the one that is more high quality.

Keyword cannibalization can also confuse Google’s algorithms. This makes both of the posts rank much lower on the SERPs. The low ranking is because of all the inbound, backlinks and CTR division among the posts. Since backlinks are a prominent ranking factor, it will decrease the ranking.

The conversion rate has the potential of turning your posts’ viewers into leads. If the user comes across a less relevant post before the precise one, it will reduce the conversion rate.

Moreover, many posts with the same content will make it seem like your work is of low quality. As you split up the content concentration among the pages.

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When is Keyword Cannibalization Not An Issue? 

If your posts take the first or second slot on the SERPS, keyword cannibalization is not an issue. But, for these cases, consistency is the key. If your posts ranking continues to be on the first and second place on the SERP’s, it won’t affect its ranking. Since it gives them the chance to gain the highest CTR, this would not be a problem for such posts.

If you own an online store that sells different products, you don’t have to worry about keyword cannibalization. For products targeting the same keyword, it would be self-explanatory. Since there can be many products that are the same and only vary in little details. For this situation, the basis of keyword cannibalization is on the category page. You can link each product page back to its category page.

Read here on how to spot keyword cannibalization through Ahrefs. 

How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization?

The first step to fixing keyword cannibalization is to merge similar content. This would make two posts that are above average into a single high-quality post. It is even beneficial to redirect the page you delete afterwards to the page that you are keeping. This will increase your ranking since google values a lengthy and detailed post more.

Sometimes, keyword cannibalization can be a result of how you structure your website. A landing page can become an authoritative source. It can act like a ‘category’ page that can link to all your other products or work. For specific useful yet clashing posts, you can use a canonical tag. This is an HTML code that helps differentiate a more critical version of the text from a less important one. So Google will index the content.

If redirecting and deleting isn’t an option for you, there are other ways to sort the issue. Since both the posts or pages are still good content that bring a large viewership, you can keep both. However, you should audit and analyze your content accordingly. To make sure the posts deserve to be two stand-alone posts competing for a ranking. Optimizing for new and diverse keywords is always helpful. You can also alter the backlinks that are rich in the specific keyword(s). Internal linking also helps you to rank any desired post better than another.You can link less relevant content to one that is more important.

How to Avoid Cannibalization Issues in the Future? 

It is challenging to tackle keyword cannibalization. Especially when it has built up over the years. It’s better to do a site search with your keyword beforehand. So that you don’t have to struggle to fix the situation altogether. If you see any posts from your website that are already targeting a specific keyword, try avoiding it.