Keyword Cannibalization: How to Stop Your Content from Eating up Your Traffic
DashClicks Team
Nov 9th, 2022 at 09:52 AM

Keyword Cannibalization: How to Stop Your Content from Eating up Your Traffic

Even if you have the best SEO experts on board, keyword cannibalization can still happen to you.

Now what is keyword cannibalization, you may ask?

It is a common term used when different pages on a website target similar or same keywords and compete against each other to hamper the organic performance of the site.

Let’s take an example to understand this further. Suppose your website has two web pages about “on-page SEO.” If you can get more overall organic traffic by combining the two pages into a single page, it means it’s a cannibalization problem. The presence of those two pages is hurting your organic performance.

Put simply, when your content competes with itself, your rankings get negatively impacted. If you take a look at the current scenario, keyword cannibalization is something that is happening to even the best of us.

However, the good news is – you can identify and fix it!

In this post, we’ll discuss how to identify keyword cannibalization on your site and fix it. It will help you stop your own content from eating up your traffic. Let’s dive right in.

Why Is Keyword Cannibalization Not Good for SEO?

Before we discuss how to identify and correct keyword cannibalization, let’s see how it’s bad for SEO (search engine optimization).

Basically, you compete with yourself for ranking in Google when you cannibalize your own keywords.

Suppose your site has two posts that are on the same topic. Now, Google will not be able to differentiate which post to rank higher for a specific query. Also, crucial factors such as CTR and backlinks will get diluted because of the presence of multiple posts. This will, in turn, lead to lower ranking for both the posts.

Another scenario where keyword cannibalism can take place is when you optimize posts for focus keywords that are almost the same. For example, you write two articles about how to build a content strategy. The first post is titled ‘How to build a content strategy to boost SEO growth?’ and is optimized for the focus keyword ‘content strategy.’ The second post is titled ‘How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy?’ and is optimized for the focus keyword ‘content marketing strategy.’ You give these posts a slightly different angle but they are still very similar. In such a case, Google will face difficulty in determining which of the two posts is the most relevant.

Keyword Cannibalization Example

How to Recognize Keyword Cannibalization on Your Site?

It’s actually easy to spot keyword cannibalization on your site. You can detect such an issue in an exhaustive SEO audit of your website.

Without any further ado, let’s discuss three easy methods to identify keyword cannibalization on your site:

1. Use Your Website Search Widget

Before starting to write a new post for your site, conduct a search for its main keyword in your website search widget. It will help you check if it appears elsewhere.

Even if you are not working on a new post and just want to see if some keywords are competing with each other, you can use the search widget to search for them.

2. Make Use of the “SITE:” Command

The SITE command helps you detect your indexed pages. To use it, all you need to do is enter “site:” in Google’s search bar.

But why are we talking about this command in this post

This is because when you add key phrases/search terms in quotes to the SITE command, you can view the content within the domain you enter.

Open Google and enter this in its search bar – site: + “keyword” (check the image below as an example).

Site Command Example

The result of such a search will be a SERP containing all the URLs of that particular domain that are indexed and have in common the very keyword that you have quoted.

Now all you have to do is analyze the search results and see if you are competing with yourself for ranking in Google.

3. Use Google Search Console

You can check for keyword cannibalization if your site is registered on Google Search Console.

Here are the steps you need to follow to check for it:

A. Login into your Google Search Console account, select the property and go to the section “Search results.”

B. Set the date to last 28 days and press the New + Button. You will see a dashboard.

Google Search Console - Search ResultsImage Source

C. Select “Query” and enter the keyword you want to check for keyword cannibalization.

D. After the Query is selected, you can scroll down and look for the pages.

Scroll Through PagesImage Source

How Do I Fix Keyword Cannibalization?

If you find that you do have a cannibalization issue, don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to fix it. Let’s discuss them one by one.

1. Merge Similar Content Pages

When you check for pages with the same target keywords, you may come across different content pages that serve the same purpose. If you find such pages, you can consider merging them.

When you merge pages with similar content, it boosts your SEO, simplifies your website, and may help the merged page rank higher in the SERPs.

Merge Similar ContentImage Source

Note: You may also come across two pages that cover the same topic but target separate audiences. If these pages are performing well, then you don’t need to make any changes to them.

2. Remove Outdated, Irrelevant Content

In case your website has a lot of outdated content pieces that no longer hold relevance, it’s time to do away with them entirely. You also need to remove content that is not as high-quality as your recent posts.

Why do we recommend that you remove these kinds of posts?

It’s because these posts may be cannibalizing other content on your website and may be chomping down on the ranks of your new posts.

3. Improve Internal Linking

You can also set up a decent internal linking structure to assist Google in determining which article is important. Here’s what you need to do:

Link from posts that hold less importance to the ones that hold the most importance. This helps Google in determining which post it should show the highest in search results.

The bottom line? Internal linking can also help tackle keyword cannibalization. This is because it convinces search engine algorithms to rank your preferred content over other posts on your website.

4. Optimize For Different Keywords Instead

If you don’t want to merge or delete posts to tackle your keyword cannibalization problems, you have the option to keep your content as well. All you need to do is optimize it for other keywords instead.

This way, you boost your SEO efforts as well.

Check this example to understand what we are talking about.

Suppose you have two high-quality, informative articles on your website – one is titled “Step-Wise Macrame Craft Projects” and the other is titled “15 Fun and Easy Craft Projects.” Both of these posts are optimized for “craft projects.”

Now, if you look closer, the second post is more relevant to individuals searching for “craft projects.” So, what you can do is, take the first post and optimize it for another keyword, like “macrame.”

The result? You now have two great, non-competing posts that can show up in Google for two completely different keyword searches.

5. NoIndex Duplicate Content

You can also noindex duplicate content. You can do this for pages that hold importance for your business but which you don’t want to rank for.

When you noindex such pages, they become invisible to search engines but stay on your site.

Noindex Duplicate ContentImage Source

How DashClicks’ White Label SEO Services Can Help You?

Are you a digital marketing agency that lacks the required time or expertise to provide the best SEO services to your clients? If yes, then you can think about hiring white label SEO services for your clients. You can partner with DashClicks, a reputed white label agency with over a decade of experience in the industry. When you hire these services from DashClicks, you get to impress your clients and get their website ranked at the top spot for multiple search terms in various search engines including Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

The panel of experienced professionals at DashClicks will deliver only the best results to your clients and help them tackle keyword cannibalization, here’s how:

  • DashClicks uses professional SEO tools to research keywords and track keyword usage.
  • After DashClicks’ team chooses the best keywords for your clients, they add them in the Analytics app. This app then helps track monthly rankings at any time.
  • At the time of setup, DashClicks will perform an initial website audit for your client that will check for any existing keyword cannibalization issues.
  • You can also provide a list of keywords you want your client’s website to rank for. DashClicks will pursue this request and also suggest alternatives or improvements based on the professionals’ recommendations.
  • DashClicks also confirms topic selections that go along with your SEO subscription plan.

The bottom line? You can choose and trust DashClicks’ white label SEO services to be the extension within your business that helps you grow and scale.

Wrapping It Up

We all make the mistake of pushing similar blog posts when it comes to producing content for a select range of keywords. Hence, it’s crucial to know how to spot and correct keyword cannibalization. It stops your content from competing with itself and boosts your rankings.

Now that you are armed with the right tips and tricks, you can easily identify and fix keyword cannibalization on your site. Because rankings change all the time, it’s best that you conduct a cannibalization checkup once in a few months. All the best!

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