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What Does Keyword Cannibalization Entail and How Can It Be Prevented?

A proficient search engine optimization (SEO) approach is one that ensures pertinent pages on your website are discoverable by the appropriate audience. Achieving this entails employing various on-page SEO techniques, including on-page refinement, a content enhancement plan, and collaborating with content marketing specialists to align your content effectively. When executed correctly, this will propel the relevant page up the rankings, driving the traffic you desire.

However, in the realm of strategies like SEO copywriting services, it’s imperative to understand how content marketing experts work to avert keyword overlap. For instance, if you lack an on-page SEO checklist or a comprehensive content optimization strategy, you may end up with pages that intersect, leading to internal competition and suboptimal results.

Hence, in the process of selecting content marketing experts to collaborate with, it’s crucial to be aware of the on-page SEO services they employ and the steps they take in website content management to forestall cannibalization in search engine results pages (SERPs).

What Exactly is Keyword Cannibalization?

So, what does the term ‘keyword cannibalization’ entail? In simple terms, it refers to the phenomenon that may occur on your website when multiple blog posts or pages vie for prominence in search engine rankings using the same keyword. While it might initially seem beneficial, as your web pages occupy more space in search results, it is, in fact, counterproductive.

Search engines like Google aim to furnish users with relevant results for their queries. However, if your pages are concurrently striving to claim the top spot for a specific keyword, they end up competing against each other. Consequently, instead of one page attaining a high authority domain for a keyword, you’ll have two pages depleting that authority as they vie for supremacy.

How Does Keyword Cannibalization Impact My SEO Strategy?

Let’s say you have two pages optimized for the same keyword. Even if they belong to the same website and adhere to all the criteria in your on-page SEO checklist, these pages are essentially in competition. When Google’s crawlers index your site, the algorithm struggles to ascertain which page should be displayed for a particular keyword, resulting in both being displayed.

Consider also the repercussions of cannibalization on user experience. Metrics like bounce rate, click-through rates, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and backlinks can influence your SEO rankings. Instead of directing users to the most pertinent page on your site, consolidating those metrics, you end up dividing them between two pages.

Another perspective is that two pages can hinder each other’s technical SEO performance not only due to keywords but also in terms of intent. If you have content targeting the same keywords, both intended to engage users in the early stages of their purchasing journey, each page might impede the other’s ability to secure a higher ranking.

After pinpointing keyword cannibalization during your content gap analysis, it’s imperative to take measures to prevent your pages from competing. Some of the adverse effects that may ensue encompass:

  • Dilution of page authority. We’ve previously emphasized the significance of authority in your digital marketing strategy. When you have a dedicated page on a subject, you can establish it as an authoritative page with a higher likelihood of securing the top spot in SERPs. However, in cases of keyword cannibalization, you’re essentially dividing your click-through rate between two pages.
  • Erosion of user experience. It’s always preferable to furnish users with the information they seek with as few clicks as possible. Instead of consolidating all the necessary information on one page, your website necessitates users to navigate through multiple pages.
  • Potential devaluation of the wrong page by Google. You may have intended for one page to receive more prominence than the other. However, due to cannibalization, Google’s algorithm is compelled to determine which one takes precedence, and there’s a chance it might select the wrong page.
  • Diminished value and quality of your page. Search engines like Google strive to deliver valuable information to their users. If it appears that more than one page is vying for a particular keyword, it might suggest a scarcity of substantial content pertaining to your niche.

Spotting Risks of Keyword Cannibalization and Preemptive Measures

Detecting keyword cannibalization is straightforward with a search engine like Google. To conduct a swift content gap analysis, enter “site:<your website> <keyword phrase>” in your search bar. This will furnish you with a list of pages ranking for those keywords. Seasoned content marketing experts and digital marketing professionals can implement measures to prevent two pages from competing for the same keywords. Webmasters can incorporate this into their on-page SEO checklist by scrutinizing their website for cannibalization via Google Search Console.

Unearthing more than one of your pages in search results for a keyword isn’t inherently detrimental. If your product or service falls within the same niche or industry, it’s commonplace for multiple pages to surface. For instance, roof inspections and roof maintenance represent distinct services, but providers may offer both, and their scopes may intersect.

In such scenarios, cannibalization isn’t necessarily detrimental, as long as one page is unequivocally favored over the other in search results. However, if you find that both pages appear in the same search result and rank poorly, that’s indicative of keyword cannibalization.

Leadshouse’s Effective On-Page SEO Services Mitigating Keyword Cannibalization

At Leadshouse, we take precautionary steps to ensure your website doesn’t impede its own potential for higher rankings on search engine results. Whether it’s our SEO copywriting services, CRO audit services, or content marketing services, we’re meticulous in avoiding instances of keyword cannibalization.

Following the identification of potential keyword cannibalization during a comprehensive website audit, we pinpoint the issue and propose the requisite remedy to minimize cannibalization without compromising the traffic and user count already accrued from both pages.

Conducting a Content Audit

An integral facet of content website management involves ensuring that your product and service pages, as well as your blogs and articles, aren’t pitted against each other. During a content audit, we undertake a content gap analysis and, leveraging tools like Google Search Console, scrutinize all your pages to identify duplicate content or instances where two pages bear resemblance and are susceptible to keyword cannibalization.

Based on your content audit, we can advocate various solutions. Typically, resolving instances of keyword cannibalization entails integrating the following on-page optimization strategies into your website content management:

  • Consolidating pages. If two akin pages convey substantially similar information, it might be advantageous to amalgamate the content into a single, more comprehensive page. This involves selecting the superior content and supplementing it with additional information present in the other page.
  • Implementing redirects. Given that internal linking and previous link-building strategies may already point to both pages, merging them might be challenging. In such cases, you could choose to retain the link to one of the pages but redirect it toward the page you decide to keep.
  • Rectifying internal linking. When crawlers index your website, internal linking furnishes Google with insights into which pages hold greater importance. If both pages are equally linked by other pages, determining their relative significance becomes problematic.
  • Removing outdated content. Duplicate content may arise from the fact that an older article addresses outdated subject matter, whereas the newer page provides updated information. Depending on factors like traffic, we may choose to delete the outdated content or enhance the stronger link with more current information.

Examine Your Historical Rankings

In addition to a cursory Google search, we can employ keyword research tools such as Ahrefs

 and SEMrush to pinpoint instances of keyword cannibalization. Drawing on your ranking keywords, your content, and its history, you can discern whether a page’s failure to rank is attributable to competition from another page.

Not all results on Google necessarily indicate cannibalization, which underscores the importance of evaluating ranking history as a more accurate means of identifying content optimization issues. Regularly scrutinizing your website for potential content concerns is an integral part of our website content management strategy.

Let Leadshouse Safeguard Your Website Against Keyword Cannibalization

Whether you’re availing of SEO copywriting services or formulating your content optimization strategy, it’s imperative to consider the impact of keywords on one page on the rest of your website. At Leadshouse, our on-page SEO services, including content writing services and CRO audit services, are designed to amplify your website’s visibility on search engines, while taking measures to avert occurrences like keyword cannibalization.

This underscores the importance of enlisting the content marketing services of experts who possess the expertise to manage your website content and ensure that each page competes effectively with other websites—rather than your own pages.

Reach out to Leadshouse today for a complimentary website audit and CRO audit, and gain insight into the services that can elevate your website’s performance.

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