Every web page is in the race to be on top of the search engine, and in the run are a hundred thousand websites, including yours. Your page's SEO ranking can be easily affected. So it is very important to keep a check and do an SEO audit from time to time. 

Have you ever wondered if you are killing your own pages? Are you using the keywords right? Maybe you are just not aware of the issue yet! 

In this blog, I will tell you what keyword cannibalization is in SEO, how to identify it, fix it, and why it is important to do so. 

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is one of the common issues in search engine optimization. This happens when a site effectively uses the same keyword multiple times on its pages. 

It can cause issues as search engines penalize websites for keyword stuffing. Therefore, websites with keyword cannibalization issues might not rank as high as they could or should in search engines. It can potentially have adverse effects on the website's performance.

For example, if a page has multiple instances of the same keyword, such as “red shoes,” “shoes red,” or “cheap red shoes,” Google might decide that the page is targeting too many keywords and drop the site out of their index. 

It is not suitable for business websites to lose traffic, especially when people use search engines like Google to discover businesses. But there are many ways to fix keyword cannibalization leading to your website's downfall. 

Identifying Keyword Cannibalization

Fixing keyword cannibalization is simple once the issue has been identified. Typically, a search along the lines of “Domain + keywords” will yield the results you're searching for.

Make a list of your URLs and the keywords associated with them, then go through the list and look for duplicates. Any instances of duplicates, mainly on core pages, indicate that your site is suffering from keyword cannibalism.

Even if the meta information in your title tags looks to target the same term as the meta information in your body text, keyword cannibalization can occur. Additionally, you can utilize a rank tracking tool to look for thin content and keywords that have been accidentally applied to the wrong page.

However, there are many ways you can fix keyword cannibalization. 

Fixing Keyword Cannibalization

Combine Keywords In Right Way

Keywords are bound to cannibalize themselves, but if you combine them in the right way, they can be used to your advantage. 

Let's take a look at an example. Including keywords at the beginning of your headline allows for more clicks from the very beginning. It is also important to use your keywords throughout the content so that you don't simply draw people in with a misleading title. 

Once they have read through your content, they will most likely have found some solution to their problem and will be grateful that you pointed them.

Use Internal Linking

Internal linking is one of the most under-utilized SEO tactics out there. Internal linking allows you to connect related content on your site with one another, which helps search engines determine your site's relevancy.

If you don't have a lot of links connecting your content, then Google will assume it's not very relevant and won't rank it as highly. By using internal links to connect different pages on your site, you will show Google that these pages are related, leading to higher rankings and more traffic.

Combine Articles

By now, you must have understood that keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages have the same keyword. This can happen when you have a site that has many articles on the same subject, but they are all on different pages.

The problem with this is it will decrease your rankings for that keyword and make it difficult to get traffic from search engines. Your best option if you want to rank for a keyword is to create one page dedicated to the word and make sure all of the information of that word is on that page.

Re-optimize Content

When you first start building out your site, you may end up with a lot of duplicate content or keyword cannibalization. You might have 20 pages with the same title and meta description. This can be resolved by re-optimizing all of your URLs to be as unique as possible and also to include keywords that are relevant to each page's content.

This is a quick way to get more traffic from Google, but only if it is done correctly. If you re-optimize your pages to be unreadable, Google will penalize you for it. 

Luckily, it is easy to stop this from happening. You can use a plugin like Yoast SEO for WordPress to prevent this from happening.

Remove the Content

This may seem to be a little bizarre. However, if the problematic web content is no longer relevant to your website, you may want to consider completely removing it from your website. 

You should delete older, less professional, personal blog posts that use target keywords if your website ad business has developed and the content is still ranking higher than your targeted web content. If the content is no longer available, then the problem is also no longer functional.

Why should you fix Keyword Cannibalization?

Many people who are affected by keyword cannibalization are completely unaware of the problem. They may be content with one page being in the fifth and sixth positions for their target keyword, despite the fact that one authoritative website would likely rank higher and convert better.

You should fix keyword cannibalization seriously because:

You're undermining your Page's Authority.

You're distributing your CTR across numerous marginally relevant pages rather than having one highly authoritative page. This is important as you might have already established your page, and you are in the run for gaining page views and SERP rankings along with your competitors. 

Google might devalue Relevant Pages.

One of the most important ways we help Google understand our pages is by using keywords. And wouldn't it be too bad if Google understood it differently?

If all of your keywords are the same, Google will try to figure out which page is the greatest match, but it may make a mistake if your content is too similar.

The page is of poor Quality.

Your visitors will notice that you have several pages devoted to the same keyword. This means your material is most likely stretched thin. It also informs Google that the content on each page may not be relevant to the keywords.

Wrapping Up!

Let's take a look at two facts: SEO is here to stay, and keyword cannibalization could only hamper your growth. While there is more competition on ranking first on search engines, it is very important to look into keyword cannibalization. 

Keyword cannibalization is an underestimated issue for your website, and you must make sure that it gets the attention it needs. Only then can your website have a chance to make its way to the top!

Need assistance? Contact us to solve your issues. 

                                                                                                                             Editor: Amrutha

Frequently Asked Questions

Keyword cannibalization is an SEO problem where multiple pages on a website target the same or very similar keywords. This competition among internal pages can confuse search engines and hinder a site's overall search visibility. When multiple pages vie for the same keyword, it can lead to reduced organic traffic as search engines struggle to prioritize which page to rank or may not rank any highly. To mitigate this, SEO experts typically consolidate or reoptimize content, ensuring each page targets distinct keywords and provides unique value to users, helping to improve search engine rankings and user experience.

Keyword cannibalization arises when multiple pages on a website contain overlapping content and keywords. To resolve this issue, one can employ a canonical URL, designating a primary webpage for Google to index as the original source. Alternatively, revisiting older content and optimizing keywords can also mitigate keyword cannibalization, enhancing overall SEO and ensuring that each page serves a distinct purpose in search engine rankings.

Keyword cannibalization is detrimental to a website's SEO, but it's important to note that it becomes a genuine problem when multiple pages compete for the same keyword, negatively impacting the site's organic performance. Fortunately, this isn't always the case because web pages typically rank for various keywords simultaneously. Hence, careful keyword management and optimization can help mitigate cannibalization issues and improve overall search engine rankings.

To identify keyword cannibalization, utilize the Performance report in Google Search, examining top queries to detect multiple pages ranking for the same keyword. You have the option to filter results by clicks or impressions based on your preference. This data-driven approach enables efficient identification and resolution of keyword cannibalization issues, ensuring optimal search engine performance.