Understanding Keyword Cannibalization in SEO and How to Resolve It
Keyword cannibalization refers to a situation where multiple blog posts or articles on your website are competing for rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs) for the same search query. This occurs when the topics covered or the optimized keywords are too similar across different pieces of content. The consequence of keyword cannibalization is that these competing articles or posts diminish each other's chances of ranking high in search engines. Typically, search engines like Google only display one or two results from the same domain for a specific query, although high authority domains may have up to three results.
To illustrate keyword cannibalization, let's consider an example where two articles were written about the same topic but optimized for slightly different key phrases. The first article titled "Does readability rank?" was optimized for the key phrase [does readability rank], while the second article titled "Readability ranks!" was optimized for [readability ranking factor]. Although these articles had different angles, they were still quite similar, making it challenging for Google to determine which article should rank higher.
Keyword cannibalism is detrimental to SEO for several reasons. Firstly, when you compete with yourself for rankings, search engines struggle to determine the most relevant and important content. Secondly, factors such as backlinks and click-through rates (CTR) get diluted across multiple posts instead of being concentrated on a single piece of content. As a result, both articles are likely to rank lower. Consequently, our SEO analysis flags the use of focus keywords that have been used before with a red bullet.
Recognizing and Resolving Keyword Cannibalization
Recognizing whether your site is affected by keyword cannibalization is relatively straightforward. You can conduct a search for your site using a specific keyword you suspect may have multiple results. For example, you can search "site:yourdomain.com readability ranks." If you observe multiple results for the same keyword, it's a sign of potential keyword cannibalization.
To resolve keyword cannibalization, follow these four steps:
Audit your content:
Assess and analyze your existing content to identify instances of keyword cannibalization. Determine which articles or posts are competing for the same keywords.
Analyze content performance:
Evaluate the performance of each piece of content, considering factors such as traffic, engagement metrics, and conversions. This analysis will help you decide which articles to keep and which ones to merge or delete.
Decide which ones to keep:
Based on your analysis, select the most valuable and highest-performing articles to retain. These will become the primary content pieces for your chosen keywords.
Act: Merge, delete, redirect: Take action by merging similar articles into a single comprehensive piece of content. Rewrite and combine the information, making it more valuable and unique. After merging articles, remember to delete the redundant ones and set up proper redirects to the primary content.
Improving internal linking can also help resolve keyword cannibalization issues. By establishing a well-structured internal linking strategy, you guide search engines to understand which articles are the most important. Link from less important articles to the most critical ones, reinforcing the relevance and priority of your primary content.
For online shops or e-commerce websites with similar product pages, consider linking back from each product page to the corresponding category page, which should be the optimized page to rank. Additionally, periodically assess old product pages that may cannibalize more important pages and delete or redirect them accordingly.
As your website grows, keyword cannibalization may become more prevalent. Regularly check the keywords you want to rank for and evaluate if any cannibalization issues arise. Adjust your site structure, rewrite articles, and merge similar content when necessary.
Keyword cannibalization can hinder your SEO efforts and impact your website's visibility. By proactively recognizing and resolving this issue, you can ensure that your content is optimized effectively and that each piece has the best chance of ranking high in search engine results. By implementing these strategies, you'll enhance your website's SEO performance and maximize its visibility to your target audience.
By proactively recognizing and resolving keyword cannibalization, you can ensure that your content is optimized effectively and that each piece has the best chance of ranking high in search engine results. At Media Masters Plus+, our web design company, we understand the importance of solid SEO strategies in driving organic traffic to your website. Our team of experts can help you navigate the complexities of keyword research, content optimization, and site structure to ensure that your website stands out in search engine rankings. With our web design services, e-commerce development using Shopify, and SEO expertise, we can help your small business or local company achieve online success. Contact Media Masters Plus+ today and let us take your SEO efforts to the next level.