How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization (and Why It’s a Must)

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When you optimize pages for similar terms, your rankings may suffer because you will be “devouring” your chances to rank in Google. Make no mistake—if you don’t learn how to fix keyword cannibalization, your content will likely start competing with itself.   

What Is Keyword Cannibalization?

Simply put, keyword cannibalization occurs when several pages of a website rank for the same keyword. As a result, Google has trouble deciding which URL is most relevant. Hasty creation of landing pages/blogs or multiple sub-pages for growing websites is a common cause of keyword cannibalization.

If you don’t fix keyword cannibalization, you won’t able to show Google the extent of your knowledge for a search query or topic. In that case, Google will have to weigh up your URLs to identify the one that fits a respective question in the best way possible.

What does this mean?

It means that it’s possible then to have a less relevant page ranking highly. And as a result, users will not access the information you want them to see. Keyword cannibalization leads to fluctuations in SERP rankings, reduced online traffic, lower conversion rates, and, eventually, revenue loss.

Additionally, when you have multiple pages ranking for the same term, it will affect user experience and SEO in one way or another…

The Effects of Keyword Cannibalization on SEO

Although it may not seem like a huge deal, you need to know that keyword cannibalization can have devastating effects on your SEO. So, don’t be happy about a page ranking in the fifth or sixth slot for your target keyword—not when you can have one that ranks higher and yields better conversions.

Let’s take a closer look at how keyword cannibalization affects SEO…

It Causes a Decline in Conversions

Without a doubt, one of your pages will convert better than the rest. Unfortunately, keyword cannibalization prevents you from directing new visitors to such a page. That suggests the page will not be authoritative, resulting in the loss of leads since they will be landing on less relevant pages.

It Diminishes the Authority of Your Page

Keyword cannibalization splits your CTR across multiple moderately relevant pages. For that reason, maintaining one highly authoritative page becomes a challenge. In turn, your web pages will become competitors, and you will be fighting for SERP ranks and page views.

It Indicates Poor Quality

Your users believe that your content is stretching too thin when you have multiple pages targeting the same keyword. That also signals to Google that your content will probably not match your keywords on every page.

The splitting of backlinks between two or more pages instead of directing them to a consolidated source of information is inevitable in the case of keyword cannibalization. On the other hand, your internal links and anchor text will be leading visitors to several different pages instead of leading them to one authoritative page on a specific subject.

It Squanders Your Crawl Budget

The term crawl budget refers to the number of times a search engine spider crawls your website within a particular period. When there are multiple pages ranking for the same keyword, it results in the indexing and crawling of the pages you don’t need. Crawl budget isn’t a major concern for small websites, but it’s a grave one for large eCommerce sites or vendors with multiple products.

It May Cause Search Engines to Devalue the More Relevant Page

Google gains a better understanding of the contents of a website page through keywords. So, if all of your keywords are similar, Google will seek to find out which page is the best fit. Unfortunately, if your content is too similar, Google may fail to identify the most relevant page on your site.

How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization

So, how do you fix keyword cannibalization? Identifying the web page you prefer should be a priority when trying to solve the problem. Such a page should be the one receiving more visitors. Note that the root cause determines your ability to deal with a keyword cannibalization issue. Quite often, the problem is just a lack of proper site organization…

However, if you are dealing with a stubborn case of keyword cannibalization, breaking out new landing pages may be necessary. Below are some of the approaches you can take to fix keyword cannibalization. 

1. Consider Using 301 Redirects

Although using too many 301s is not recommended, it may be an option if you have several pages ranking for the same terms. Consolidating cannibalized content by linking all the less relevant pages to a single, more authoritative version is possible using 301s. Remember that this approach is only ideal for pages matching specific keyword queries or those with similar content.

2. Focus on Restructuring Your Website

You can restructure your site by turning your authoritative page into a landing page that links to other unique variations falling under the umbrella of your target keywords. For instance, if you have a shoe business, you can make “shoes” your canonical source page and link all specific variations to it.

3. Find New Keywords

If you have highly diverse, content-rich pages, and a poorly planned keyword strategy is the only thing you need to address, finding new keywords can be a solution in this case. You only need to ensure that your keywords describe the content on your page accurately.

4. Create New Landing Pages

You may not have a landing page capable of consolidating all your product pages. When that’s the case, creating a unique landing page to act as your authoritative source page and linking all your variations from there can prove beneficial. For example, if you sell shoes, you can name one page on your website “hiking shoes” and another “sneakers for men.”

5. Consolidate Your Content

Your pages may not be unique enough to warrant having multiple pages targeting the same keyword. In that case, consolidating your content into one page will be a wise idea. That allows you to turn two underperforming pages into a more authoritative source, which can address thin content issues.

Conclusion

Keyword cannibalization is increasing by the day. And if you want to improve your rankings in search, demonstrate your authority, and prove to potential customers that you can help solve their problem, you need to address it—now. The good news is implementing the tips above can help you fix keyword cannibalization and increase your online visibility.

(Want to know how your website is doing in terms of SEO and more? Click HERE to request a FREE website audit!)

 


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Filed Under: Business Tips

About Caitie

Caitie's background as an editorial assistant, blog writer, and proofreader has served her well in her current position within our content department. She applies the skills she has acquired through training and hands-on experience daily, ensuring the quality of the content provided to clients.

In her role, Caitie is responsible for conducting research and producing various types of educational content and sales copy. She is committed to ensuring each piece is optimized for search and speaks to the client's target audience.

Caitie is passionate about learning and seeks every opportunity to further expand on her knowledge of marketing best practices. In addition to undergoing StoryBrand agency training, she has met the necessary requirements to become a DigitalMarketer Certified Content Marketing Specialist and Direct-Response Copywriting Specialist, as well as Yoast SEO Copywriting and Keyword Research certified.

During her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and spending time with loved ones.