How To Identify & Eliminate Keyword Cannibalization To Boost Your SEO

Keyword Cannibalization

Written by Jeremy Earle, JD

April 27, 2022

Top Rated SEO Company

Using many sites to target a single keyword might sometimes do more damage than good when it comes to SEO. Cannibalization of keywords is a problem, and this article will show you how to avoid it.

How many pages on your website are ranked for the same keyword?

That might be a good thing.

It seems to reason that the more pages you have listed in search results, the more people will see your site.

Sadly, this is not always the case.

Using many pages to focus on a single phrase might have the opposite effect. Your SEO for that term may suffer as a result of your actions.

Having many sites ranking for the same keyword puts them in direct competition, which is terrible.

This results in fewer CTRs, less authority and reduced conversion rates for each page.

This SEO blunder is referred to as “keyword cannibalization” by us.

What Exactly Is “Keyword Cannibalism”?

CTR, links, content, and (often) conversions are divided across two sites that should all be on one, a practice called “keyword cannibalization.”

The breadth and depth of your expertise are not shown to Google when you do this. Your actions are also harming the authority of your site about that inquiry.

As a substitute, you’re asking Google to compare all of your sites and pick out the ones that best match the relevant keywords.

Think of a website selling shoes where [shoes] is the only term you’re targeting. As a result, you’re effectively telling Google that every page on your site is about shoes, regardless of what kind of footwear it is.

As a result, you’re competing against yourself for a single long-tail term that may be too wide to be of any economic value to your business.

Keyword Cannibalization Has These 6 Negative Effects On Your SEO

SEO might suffer as a result of keyword cannibalism. Keyword cannibalization is a problem that many people don’t even know about.

One page is in the fifth and sixth positions for their intended keyword may even make them delighted without recognizing that one authoritative website would likely rank higher and convert better.

In the real world, the repercussions are obvious. Consequently, there may be a decrease in traffic, a change in search engine ranks, and eventually a decrease in sales.

Why?

Because…

Your Page’s Authority Is Decreasing.

The CTR is distributed across several reasonably relevant sites rather than a single authoritative one.

For the sake of page views and SERP positions, you’ve effectively made your sites rivals.

Look at it from a reader’s perspective, searching for a new book on Amazon.com. Wouldn’t it be better to have a single book demonstrating your depth of knowledge on a particular subject?

Alternatively, would you rather have two or less comprehensive books on a subject, each of which leaves you longing for more?

Diluting Your Links and Anchor Text

Backlinks that might have been directed to a single source of information are now being diverted to many sites.

The same outreach efforts might have focused on gaining 25 backlinks to a single, higher-performing website instead of 10 backlinks for one and 15 links for the other.

It is also more probable that a well-researched page will be linked to than a shorter, less detailed one.

When it comes to your anchor text and internal links, you’re sending users to a wide range of various sites rather than a single authoritative one.

In Google’s eyes, a more relevant page may be devalued.

To assist Google to comprehend what our sites are all about, we use keywords.

As a result, if your keywords are all the same, Google may not determine which page is the most relevant to the search query.

Let’s imagine, for example, that you have two sites that are ranking for the same keyword together. You may be losing out on valuable, converting visitors if the higher converting page ranks lower.

You’re wasting money on your crawl.

This is the number of times a search engine crawler will visit your website in a certain amount of time.

Crawling and indexing pages that aren’t needed is a side effect of having multiple pages devoted to the same keyword.

Large e-commerce sites and merchants with many items may notice a change in their crawl budget, but smaller areas definitely won’t.

An Indicator of Subpar Web Page Design

Many pages devoted to the same keyword indicate that your material is likely to be too stretched. It also tells Google that the content on each page may not match the keywords you’ve used.

It Will Take A Toll On Your Conversion Rate.

You can count on at least one of your pages to outperform the others regarding conversion rates.

Rather than guiding new visitors to that page and making it the most authoritative page possible, you’re instead losing prospective leads when they arrive on less relevant sites.

Cannibalization of Keywords: How to Detect It

Keyword cannibalization is straightforward to solve once you’ve found the source of the issue.

Creating a keyword matrix is all it takes to identify keyword cannibalism.

Add the URLs and relevant keywords for each essential page to a spreadsheet.

Your spreadsheet may look like this if your website sells shoes:

Use a keyword mapping tool instead. An example of one of these tools is shown below.

Make a list of all of your URLs and keywords, then go over the list to see any duplicates.

Keyword cannibalization may be a problem if you find any, particularly on your most important pages.

It’s now or never for those pages to be fixed!

Even if the meta information in your title tags seems to target the same term, double-check them as well.

The search for thin content and keywords applied to the incorrect page may also be an option if you’re utilizing a rank monitoring service.

Give your website some TLC at this time.

Cannibalization of keywords may be remedied.

How you address keyword cannibalism relies on the cause of the issue.

Often, the problem is just a matter of a lack of structure. Some circumstances, however, may need the creation of new 301 redirects or landing sites.

For your consideration, here are five options:

1.      Reorganize Your Web Page Structure

In many cases, it is best to select the most authoritative page on your site and make it into a “landing page,” which serves as the gateway to other versions of your targeted keywords.

An excellent canonical source page for a shoe product is “shoes,” Any other versions should be linked to it.

2. Create New Landing Pages for Your Website

As an alternative, you may not have a single landing page that serves as a hub for all of your product information.

In this situation, it would be advantageous to create a single landing page that would function as your authoritative source page and connect to all of your variants.

Hiking shoes and men’s sneakers might be included on separate pages, such as “sneakers for guys.”

Consolidated pages and variants should target both broad and long-tail keywords.

3. Organize Your Material

Instead of having many sites devoted to the same keyword, try consolidating them into a single page if your content is sufficiently distinctive.

Using this opportunity, two underperforming pages may be transformed into a more credible source. It may also be able to fix the problem of thin content.

Determine which page has the most traffic, bounce rate, time spent on page and conversions by looking at your statistics. Even though one page obtains the majority of traffic, you may discover that the information on the other page converts a more significant number of visitors.

The objective is to consolidate copy material on the page with the highest traffic. Ideally, you’d be able to keep your current position in the rankings while converting a more significant percentage of visitors.

Using this strategy, you won’t have to worry about your website being punished because of thin or cookie-cutter content.

4. Look for New Keywords

In the end, if you’ve already got a diversified, well-written website, and your only problem is a lousy keyword approach, you may need to identify new keywords.

Your keywords should appropriately represent the content of your website. Is the material on each page that ranks for the target keyword sufficient to satisfy a website visitor who has searched for it?

You may need to do some keyword research if the answer is no.

To find better keywords for related sites, a spreadsheet containing the following information might help:

Keywords and position in the search results.

The web address of the page.

Title and meta description for search engine optimization.

Word tally

Traffic that comes from natural sources.

Bounce rate

Conversions.

There are a lot of websites out there that use the exact keywords.

This information may be used to evaluate which pages are most useful, which can be merged, and which need new keywords.

Your keyword research tool may usually be used to locate the most relevant keywords for all of the pages you wish to maintain on your site.

See if there is a comparable broad phrase that you can target for one of your high-ranking long-tail keywords to get extra traffic to your site.

Reoptimize for the new term and update your spreadsheet for future reference and performance monitoring as soon as you discover it.

5. Using 301 redirects is a great way to get around this.

The use of too many 301 redirects may be detrimental to your mobile SEO, but they may be required if you already have numerous sites ranking for the exact phrases.

With 301 redirects, it is possible to combine your cannibalized material into a single, more authoritative version.

It’s essential to remember that this strategy works best for sites with similar content or matches specific keyword searches.

Conclusion

In most situations, term cannibalization may be remedied using one of these five approaches. You should still keep an eye out for how your CMS divides things that come in various sizes and colours if you run an e-commerce site.

Product variations are created on distinct pages in specific content management systems (CMS).

It’s best to utilize canonical URLs to combine link signals for items that are organized in this way in your CMS, or you may use robots.txt or meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”> tags.

Today, keyword cannibalism is more common than ever.

However, web admins who understand the value of SEO tend to be its victims. When it comes to optimizing their website, they don’t speak Google’s language at all, despite their intentions.

Good news: you don’t have to live with the consequences of your website’s keyword cannibalization forever.

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