Generally, people have a notion that having more pages targeting a particular keyword will provide a better ranking for that keyword. Well, if you have fallen for this trick let me tell you that it is 100 % false. Because optimizing your articles for the same terms will lead your rankings to fall downwards and become a victim of Keyword Cannibalization. In simple words, it can be thought of as ruining your chances of ranking in Google and will do more harm to your SEO.
This activity can highly affect your site when it’s in the growth phase as when you have several pages ranking for the same keyword, there are chances of your content being competing with itself. Therefore every page will suffer from a low CTR and decreased authority. In terms of SEO, it is known as keyword cannibalization.
What is Keyword Cannibalization?
The term keyword cannibalization refers to a situation wherein several blogs and articles of your site can rank on a similar query in Google. The reason behind this could be the similarity between topics or optimizing the articles for similar keywords. While you’re optimizing the articles for the same search queries, they are bound to tarnish each other’s chance to rank.
To help you understand it better, it’s like you “cannibalizing” your own results by dividing the content, links, CTR and conversions between two articles or pages. By doing this, you’re not making anything better for your site instead you’re requesting Google to contemplate your pages against each other and pick the one that fits best with the matching keywords.
What Effect Does Keyword Cannibalization Have on Your SEO?
Adding to your disappointment, keyword cannibalization has the potential to completely ruin your SEO. Many people who are a victim of keyword cannibalization hardly have any idea about it.
The major effect to your SEO would be in terms of queries leading to the wrong page, lost site traffic, and lost sales.
Decreasing Authority Of Page
It is better to have one page that has higher authority rather than dividing your CTR into several relatively significant pages. Unknowingly, many people turn their own site’s pages into competitors and fight for pageviews and SERP ranks.
Weakens the Links & Anchor Text
The backlinks that would have been attached to one amalgamated source of information will now be divided among two or more pages. Likewise, the internal links and anchor text leading your visitors to several pages rather than one highly authoritative page.
Google Might Depreciate the Value More Relevant Page
One of the primary ways of helping Google is the usage of keywords. It is with the help of keywords that Google understands what the page is all about. In case, if your keywords are similar it will become difficult for Google to pick one as the content gets similar, it might pick the wrong one.
Wastage of Crawl Budget
The term crawl budget refers to the number of times the search engine spider crawls the website. When you have different pages focusing on the same keywords, there are chances of crawling and indexing of pages that aren’t needed.
Mediocre Page Quality
Different pages targeting similar keywords will lead your users to think that your content is of poor quality and comparatively thin. Not only that, but it also tells Google that your content might not complement your keywords on each page.
Lower Conversion Rates
It is quite normal for one of your site’s pages to convert better than the other. Due to the same reason, it is advisable to lead your users to that page rather than landing them on the less relevant pages. With this, you’ll be on the verge of losing potential leads.
How to Spot Keyword Cannibalization?
Once you’ve recognized the issue, it becomes quite easier to fix keyword cannibalization. All you have to do is create an Excel sheet with all the important URLs of your site with their keywords. Once you’ve listed out the URLs and the keywords, you must always look out for any duplicate entries. If you find any duplicates, then your site is surely suffering from keyword cannibalization.
Now it’s time to fix the issue!
One of the reasons behind keyword cannibalization is targeting similar keywords in title tags. So, ensure to check them at least twice. If you’re someone who uses a rank tracking tool then you must ensure to check out the thin content of your site and the keywords that might have been put into the wrong page.
How to Solve Keyword Cannibalization?
Revamping the Website
One of the best ways to avoid keyword cannibalization is to focus on your most authoritative page and make it a landing page. This landing page must be linked to different pages that fall under the category of your targeted keywords.
Make Use of 301 Redirects
If you’re working on several pages that are ranking for similar keywords, then you must opt for 301 redirects. With this, you’ll have the opportunity to amalgamate your cannibalized content and link all the lesser important pages into a single authoritative page.
Always remember, this trick works only on pages with similar content and the ones with matching specific keyword queries.
Generating New Landing Pages
There are times when you might need a landing page that integrates all of the product pages in one space. In such situations, you will have an advantage of generating an eccentric landing page to act as your authoritative source page and link to all of your variations from there.
Integrating Your Content
If your pages aren’t distinctive enough to authorize having multiple pages with the same keywords, then you must amalgamate them into one page. By doing this, you’ll have the chance to pick two underperforming pages and convert them into an authoritative source.
Discover New Keywords
Now that all your problems related to content have been solved, the only issue that remains is a badly planned keyword strategy. All you have to do is discover new keywords. The only thing that must ensure is that the keywords describe your page’s content perfectly.
Keyword cannibalization is one of the most common problems of SEO. Surprisingly, the people whose sites suffer from keyword cannibalization are the ones who know the importance of SEO for their business. But they get into this trap while they are optimizing their site and fail to understand how to ‘speak’ Google’s language.
Well, if your website is cannibalizing its own target keywords, then it might not be tough to find a solution. Last but not least, even the damages in such cases are temporary.
We hope this blog on keyword cannibalization will help you in converting your thin content and pages into more authoritative ones which will then lead to better SEO performance of your site.
If you have any suggestions or feedback, please feel free to share it in the comments.