Keyword cannibalization eats up your website

Keyword cannibalization is a funny term.

But, it can literally spell death to an afflicted website.

Keyword cannibalization is a SEO term used to describe the situation where multiple pages on a website are competing for the same keyword or phrase. This can lead to confusion for search engines, which can result in lower rankings for all of the pages.

Keyword cannibalization can have a number of negative consequences for a website. It can lead to a decrease in organic search visibility, as search engines may be confused by the multiple pages targeting the same keyword. This can lead to a decrease in traffic and conversions, as well as a decrease in overall rankings. Additionally, keyword cannibalization can lead to a decrease in the quality of content, as multiple pages are competing for the same keyword, leading to a decrease in the overall quality of the content. Finally, keyword cannibalization can lead to a decrease in the overall user experience, as multiple pages targeting the same keyword can lead to a confusing and disjointed experience for the user.

What are the causes of keyword cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is primarily caused by the following problems.

  • Poor keyword research - Not doing proper keyword research can lead to keyword cannibalization. This can happen when multiple pages are targeting the same keyword or similar keywords without any differentiation.
  • Duplicate or similar content - Duplicate content can be a major cause of keyword cannibalization. If multiple pages are targeting the same keyword, but with the same content, search engines will not be able to differentiate between them and will not rank them properly. Duplicate content can have a negative impact on a website's search engine rankings. Search engines may penalize sites with duplicate content by lowering their rankings or even removing them from the search engine index entirely. This can lead to a decrease in traffic and a decrease in revenue. Additionally, duplicate content can lead to confusion among users, as they may not be able to tell which version of the content is the original.
  • Confused internal linking - Not linking to other pages on your website can also lead to keyword cannibalization. This is because search engines will not be able to differentiate between the pages and will not be able to rank them properly. Improper internal linking can also tire out search engines making the website vulnerable.
  • URL structure not aligned to keyword strategy

Avoiding keyword cannibalization

Focus on generating high-value thought leadership content for your audience is a proven way to stay from such problems. Even then, it is likely that publishers end up creating similar content. News websites sometimes face this challenge. Here are some tactical ways to stay clear of keyword cannibalization.

Keyword research backed by tools

Keyword research tools can help avoid keyword cannibalization by providing keyword suggestions that are related to the keyword being researched. This allows marketers to find related keywords that are not too similar to the original keyword, thus avoiding keyword cannibalization. Additionally, keyword research tools can provide data on the search volume and competition of each keyword, allowing marketers to select keywords that are more likely to be successful.

Continuously analyze content

Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on a website target the same keyword. This can lead to confusion for search engines, which can result in lower rankings for all of the pages. Analyzing existing content can help avoid keyword cannibalization by identifying pages that are targeting the same keyword and ensuring that each page has unique content that is tailored to a specific keyword. This will help ensure that each page is optimized for a unique keyword and that search engines can easily identify the most relevant page for a given query.

Keyword-focused internal linking structure

Keyword Cannibalization Keyword cannibalization is when multiple pages on a website target the same keyword or keyword phrase. This can lead to confusion for search engine crawlers, which can result in lower rankings for all pages involved. Implementing a keyword-focused internal linking structure can help to avoid keyword cannibalization by providing clear pathways for search engine crawlers to follow. By linking related pages together with the same keyword, it helps to ensure that the search engine crawlers are able to identify the most relevant page for a given keyword or keyword phrase. This can help to ensure that all pages involved are given the best chance of achieving a higher ranking.

Reality bites

Keyword cannibalization isn't just theory. When it happens, it bites real hard. The Znbound team learned about keyword cannibalization the hard way by loosing valuable SERP rankings. In this instance, it was coupled with the problem of subdomain SEO, and Google's SERP diversity update. It was a tough 8 weeks while all this played out. In the end, it all had to be written out to 'expensive' education.

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