If you’re into SEO, you must know how vital Keyword research is. It’s the most crucial phase of the ranking venture as it determines how the rest of process Is going to be. However, dig enough into the keywords world, and you’ll encounter many vague terms. Today, we’re going to go through a major one that may ruin your ranking attempts without a notice: Keyword Cannibalization.
What is Keyword Cannibalization and how to prevent it?
Keyword Cannibalization: What is it?
Many people, even webmasters, think that the more pages you have targeting a keyword, the better your results are. Sadly, that’s not true. In fact, that can hurt your ranking and waste the great efforts you put on to get where you are. SEO isn’t about common sense; it’s about working smart and knowing some tricks to look good in Google’s eyes. Keyword Cannibalization is what happens when your website starts devouring itself. It’s when your website’s architecture relies on a single keyword. That may look smart, and people do it hoping to get more authority. Keyword cannibalization happens unintentionally most of the time. Using the same keyword or phrase for titles, anchor texts and header tags on different pages can cause great harm.
Why Is Keyword Cannibalization bad for ranking?
Keyword cannibalization can waste your ranking for many reasons. The main ones are:
You’re Ruining Your Conversion Rate:
Using the same keyword over many pages will result in destroying your CPR as you’re focusing on many pages with different performance instead of focusing on the one that’s better converting.
Kiss Your Authority Goodbye:
As said above, keyword cannibalization will result in turning your different pages into competitors fighting for SERPs, thus splitting your CTR between different pages. Search engines are web crawlers trying to understand your content, and keyword cannibalization will confuse Google and the others about which page to rank. So, while a user will find your website more relevant to a keyword if many pages are focused on it, Google will get confused about which one is more relevant to rank, which will leave three possibilities: Google will either:
- Rank yourdesired page
- Ignore all your pages
- Rank a secondary page instead of the one that you really want to rank
Both Google and Your Readers Will Perceive Your Content as Weak and Irrelevant
When users move from one page to the other, they’ll find that your content is poor and annoying, even duplicated and copied in some cases. The same goes for Google. As a result, your chances of getting links and referrals through shares will decrease.
Is Keyword Cannibalization always bad?
No, it isn’t. If you’re already ranking several pages on the first page for the same term/phrase, then keyword cannibalization isn’t bad and can actually boost your earnings.
How to Prevent Keyword Cannibalization?
The first step to preventing keyword cannibalization is identifying it. To do that, check our services page as we’re offering SEO audits for an affordable price. Once you do that, there are many measures to take to prevent the phenomenon. That includes:
Remove Duplicate Pages and Use 301 Redirects
This is perhaps the most obvious solution, if many pages are targeting the same keyword, find the most converting and relevant one and remove the rest. Remember to set a 301 redirect to the main page on every removed page to ensure internal linking and to keep your site’s structure intact.
Use Canonical Tags
Using multiple variations of the same keyword and linking them to the original canonical source of the term may be an excellent solution to prevent keyword cannibalization. As scary as they may be, canonical tags are useful when it comes to avoiding keyword stuffing. When you use them, you’re telling Google that no matter how many pages are using the same keyword, the most important one and the one you want to rank is the page you selected.
Get New Keywords
I know how hard it has been to find that keyword you’re trying to rank for, but you should consider finding new ones. That way, you’ll have a diversified content that will most likely satisfy Google’s crawlers.
As challenging as it may seem, you can prevent keyword cannibalization through different solutions, including the ones we mentioned above. Newbies and webmasters can fall for this mistake. If you’re concerned about your website optimization and SEO, you should start looking for signs of this problem. Have you suffered from this problem and found a way to prevent it that wasn’t mentioned above? Share your experience with us in the comments.