Keyword Cannibalization in SEO
The term “cannibalization” in digital marketing recognizes the issue of having more than one page challenging for the similar or same keyword to rank higher in the search engine results page. By introducing the RankBrain algorithm in 2017 the cannibalization problem has been prevented by Google.
What is Keyword cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization is a practice of focusing the same keyword more than one article or blog post or a page on a website.
It is also against the Google terms of doing keyword stuffing across multiple pages. Keyword stuffing is the practice of adding as many keywords to your post to rank higher in the search engine results page.
By doing this process Google will get confused to show which page is relevant to the query and it will pick one of your articles from all of them.
If you do cannibalization with your own keyword then it means that you are competing with your self to rank higher in Google.
If you have two posts on the same topic as “ SEO Tools “. The post is optimized as “Free SEO Tools” and the second post is optimized as “Popular SEO Tools” to focus the same on the keyword.
Then in this situation, Google is not able to differentiate both of the articles to rank for which query and become more difficult to show the relevant information for the users.
As a result, it will rank both of them low on the results page.
Content cannibalization is also one of the cannibalization in SEO which effects your website. In this practice also targeting the same keyword for several web pages will occur which leads to the Google penalty.
Most common problems to find cannibalization in SEO
In two main places, you will find problems regarding cannibalization
1. Metadata level
If two or more webpages of the same domain have metadata such as headings and title tags that target the similar or same keywords then cannibalization occurs.
2. Page content level
At page content level cannibalization occurs when two or more webpages of the same website contain the same meaning with the same topics but differ at a content angle i.e., writing with different ideas.
What are the types of cannibalization in SEO?
There are two types of cannibalization in SEO
1. Hard cannibalization
Hard cannibalization occurs when you have reasonable hard cannibalization which effectively harming your site.
2. Soft cannibalization
Soft cannibalization is more on the moderate range which means this won’t affect your site but pay attention to it.
How to Identify Keyword cannibalization in SEO
To identify the keyword cannibalization first you need to create a spreadsheet in which list all your website’s important URL’s with their associated keywords.
For example, if your website sells watches, then prepare your spreadsheet like this:
Google search console tool is one of the best tools for free to know more about the performance of your site. Let’s do the process of searching cannibalization by using the Google search console tool.
Step 1: Go to Google Search Console and log in
Step 2: Click on performance and
Step 3: Click on New
Then now we will filter for one of our queries.
Step 4: Click on the Query
Step 5: Now enter the keyword you want to search
Step 6: Now click on the PAGES
Here you will find what are the URLs of your website getting impressions from the entered keyword in the top ten pages of Google search results page.
Now you can see what pages coming up with search query.
Also some of the keyword cannibalization checker tools which will help you
How to eliminate keyword cannibalization to boost your SEO
If you don’t want to delete the cannibalizing page which is bringing a lot of traffic from other keywords to your website and your intention is not to redirect that page because it is still valued. Then the best option for you to do de-optimization of that pages for particular keywords.
- Go through the content and remove any references to that unwanted keyword.
- Change the internal links which are pointing to the disagreeable page. Links with keyword-rich anchors are the most important here such as any links covering the unacceptable keyword in the anchor text which helps unwanted page to rank for that keyword then change the anchors.
- Also, change any external inbound links pointing to that particular page that is using undesirable keyword. You can use the Anchors report in semrush tool to find these.
- One of the best options is to combine similar content pages that are targeting the same keyword. Then 301 the both of the pages to the new URL.
- One more best way is to delete that page which won’t offer any value to your visitors. But before deleting check whether the page consists of internal links or not. If it has internal links then add a 301 redirect to a similar page. To find out these you can also use Anchors report in Ahrefs’ site explorer.
- Select exact and perfect keywords to describe your page content.
- Use canonical URLs to consolidate duplicate URLs for similar pages.
To identify the duplicate keywords including close variants you can use free Adwords Script.
You can also go through some useful sites given below