Keyword Cannibalization – How To Fix it for Improved SEO Ranking

Keyword Cannibalization: Is your website not ranking in top search results? Have you dared to try every SEO trick but your site still does not rank? Then you should read the post. Learn how pages with duplicate focus keywords can affect your ranking.

Stop Devouring Chances To Rank in Google!

Many SEO professionals trick search engines with more pages using similar keywords. In other cases, if you are running a website for a long time 90% chances website has multiple pages targeting the same keyword. Considering, higher ranking for that keyword on organic search results. After all, crawlers are more likely not to rank in Google.

Don’t Try to Rank Highest With Pishing SEO

If you’re following this practice, you should stop acting.

Targeting a specific niche across website pages have a side effect on your SEO ranking. Unfortunately, you’ll end up harming content that good for your SEO. Search engines will not be able to distinguish between articles to rank higher to a certain query.

But, why?

Does your website have multiple pages rank in SERPs with a similar keyword? Then you’re actually competing against yourself. You will be surprised to know this. Each page has a decreasing authority, lower CTR, and lower conversion rates than a consolidated page shall have.

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

First, understand what is cannibalization? Cannibalization is a marketing phenomenon. It refers to a situation when sales volume, market share, or sales revenue of a new product by reduced altogether. The issue is of utmost importance in marketing strategy when a company intends to implement brand extension.

Keyword Cannibalization is a situation where a website has multiple pages that all have content with the same keywords. This is problematic because Google or other search engines will only rank the most relevant webpage in their SERPs for queries that have many results with lots of backlinks. This can result in low rankings and significantly less traffic for your website. 

The fix might involve changing meta titles to make them unique, merging pages together on common themes, adding fresh new content to the existing page, or deletion of duplicate content. Because Keywords are an integral part of SEO don’t overlook this issue when there’s been a change from one device type to another- an iPhone keyword string may not overlap with a desktop keyword string due to different meta titles and descriptions.

As mentioned earlier it is difficult to find out if a site has keyword cannibalization. This problem often goes undetected until there’s a significant drop in rankings for important keywords. To test this theory, try Googling your brand name or product names with the terms ‘compare’ or ‘comparison’. If you are ranking highly for keyword cannibalization, this same term won’t rank at all.

Keywords are an important part of SEO because they tell Google the theme of your webpage. If too many pages have the same keywords Google will not list them all in their SERPs or worse, only one page will be listed even if your site has more than one webpage with the same keyword. Once you have identified a site that has this issue, think about what pages can be merged together. In rare circumstances, it might require the deletion of some content to resolve the issue.

Google is aware of Keyword Cannibalization and tries to address this problem by awarding citations for unique content – something that doesn’t happen automatically. Sites with unique content build integrity and this, in turn, leads to more search traffic and higher rankings.

Keyword Cannibalization is an easy problem to overlook because sometimes it requires a shift from one device (desktop) to another (mobile). There may be similar keywords on an iPhone site as opposed to the desktop version that might have on SEOmoz or SEOBook for example. This is the first way to help identify if your site has this problem. The easiest solution is to use Google Search Console to check your mobile page speed and Overall Page errors.

If you are part of an agency with multiple clients, it may be difficult to pinpoint where the keyword cannibalization is happening. An easy way to find this problem is to compare a desktop page with the mobile version and look for overlapping keywords. Use Google Search Console to check your mobile page speed and Overall Page errors. If there are no issues with the site, it could be an issue of content overlap resulting from multiple pages with similar keyword strings.

How To Identify Keyword Cannibalization?

Once you recognize the keyword cannibalization problem, fixing it can be easy. Identifying the cause is easy by creating a keyword matrix. Begin with creating a list of important URLs and their associated keywords.

For example, your site sells women clothing online:

Once you’ve listed down the URLs and related keywords, run down the list to suspect identical keywords.  If you identify any, especially, across core pages, you’re probably experiencing keyword cannibalization.

Similarly, keyword cannibalization can also occur if page meta titles and descriptions are targeting an identical niche keyword. However, the best way to identify keyword cannibalization is to use SEO tools like SEMRush.

How Keyword Cannibalization is Killing Your Site SEO?

Is your website a victim of keyword cannibalization? How to learn if your website pages have duplicate keywords? One of the reasons we perform SEO is to guide our website for better performance.  When we do, we work in the truce of search engines. To help you make your job easy. Let’s begin with understanding how keyword cannibalization can affect your website to rank:

1. Duplicate Content in Search Engines

Search engine optimization says duplicate content has a negative impact on search engines. Just like any other user, search engines also get confused about which URL to rank. While targeting multiple pages you are putting your site at risk to duplicate content, poor quality content, and replicates. Thus, this lowers your chances to target similar traffic.

2. Targeting Same Topic or Keyword

Targeting and ranking for a similar keyword is unethical SEO practice. Don’t forget, Google is smart! It understands what your page is about and whether it meets the search’s intended needs. This is why you cannot try to rank multiple pages on similar pages.

3. Lower Conversion Rate On Similar Topic

If one page is ranking better than others then it’s less relevant to search engines. Thus duplicate pages with similar topics will rank low-quality pages. Why waste time on different pages with similar topics if one of these ranking better? This will potentially result in losing leads when they will land on pages that are cannibalizing with less relevancy. You need to focus on efforts for one page instead of spending energy on lower-converting pages.

4. Diminishing Authority With Similar Content

Cannibalization results in valuable organic traffic to the quality page. While any lower quality page ranking higher will split your CTR. Consequently, you have turned yourself into your own competitor.

At times, your site can have multiple Authors creating numerous similar content. Altering their titles, description, and body text can kill your time. Warning! the issue is real and easy to overlook. Especially, when the site owner’s sole objective is to earn traffic. If you really want site traffic to grow, improving cannibalization is your friend.

5. Unwanted Web Pages Ranking in Search Engines

This biggest challenge is SEO professional experience about cannibalization. When two or more website pages are ranking similar to relevant keywords. Or if the lower-performing page is ranking higher than the one that does not perform. Indeed, you need to take immediate action to alleviate the issue.

6. Fake Internal Anchor Text

If a website has duplicate internal anchor text for different URLs, search engines will get confused. These can cause keyword canonicalization by killing SEO performance.

7. Duplicate Title Tag (Meta Data)

Duplicate title tag keyword cannibalization is a complex problem than any other factor. The issue is when two or more pages have similar title tags (or meta titles) which target similar keywords. Finding a duplicate title tag and changing it can honestly take time especially, with an E-commerce website.

6 Popular Keyword Cannibalization Checker Tools

Learning how to identify keyword cannibalization is simpler than it looks. Firstly, start with auditing your website. Secondly, you need to do some serious content mapping and keyword research. You can take the help of the following third-party tools to track your keywords.

1. – Best Keyword Cannibalization Checker Tool

Now finding and fixing keyword cannibalization is easy with Keylogs. Keylogs is an online platform that offers free to premium SEO tools. The tool lets users identify opportunities, track rankings, grow traffic, and mark changes. The tool is free for one search while the pro version will cost you 99 € /m. Here are the product highlights:

  • Automated keyword cannibalization checker
  • Track pages and keywords
  • Build a backlog of data
  • Search, filter, and export data

2. SERP Robot – Keyword Tracker

SERPRobot is a free Google SERP checker tool. It is a simple tool to offer insight into keyword ranking in search engines. 

  • Real-time data
  • Genuine results
  • Free tool
  • API access
  • Up to 365 days of history
  • Automatic Reports
  • Advanced checking of locations and languages

3. Ahref – Pretty Good SEO Tool

You have probably heard the AHREF tool billions of times. But do you know, now you can find web pages with duplicate focus keywords? Audit your website with the Ahref SEO tool. One of the best keyword research tools. A clever way to identify duplicate pages is by using the ‘Organic Keywords’ search feature by Ahref. This will allow you to access a list of keywords that are used within your domain. Here are some features of Ahref over others: 

  • Graphical representation of keyword cannibalization pages
  • Finds pages with duplicate keywords
  • Quick and easy way

4. RankTrank – Free Keyword Cannibalization Checker

RankTrank is a free SEO tool. The company offers over 30 varieties of tools for digital marketers. Get a never-ending supply of keyword suggestions, backlink information, competitors’ insight, and content planning. Here are a few important features of the RankTrank tool: 

  • Pull out data from Search Console into sheets
  • Identify keywords with maximum traffic on different pages
  • Find cannibalized keywords your site is ranking

5. SEMRush – Popular SERP Tool

SEMRush offers a complete solution for SEO, PPC social media, competitive research, and content. The tool allows locating your site’s organic keywords. The information will help you to identify keywords copied across web pages, blog posts, subdomains. Thus, causing each other to rank in search engines. Here are some features of the tool: 

  • Find the right keywords for SEO and PPC campaigns
  • Gather phrase matches and related keywords
  • Get long-tail keywords
  • Explore multinational and multilingual environments

6. Google Search Console – Free SEO Tool

Google Search Console is not only used as a Google rank tracker tool. But it can also improve SEO and solve the problem of keyword cannibalization. If you cannot afford to buy premium SEO tools, Google Search Console is a free SEO tool for good ranking. Do not ruin website visibility in search engines. Use the webmaster tool to diagnose keyword cannibalization. Analyze the URL ranking on similar search result queries.

The majority of digital marketers use Google Search Console to find and treat technical SEO issues. People actually waste great potential as there are many rewarding insights to increase traffic in 30 days using the right technique. Look for queries that have more than a one-page ranking for them in the same position.

Optimizing keyword cannibalization requires strategic thinking. You need to identify which page you need to rank for the keyword and how to make it clear for google.

8 Tips To Avoid Keyword Cannibalization & Rock SEO

So now you have identified pages with duplicate keywords. But did you know, you could just stop the issue to happen in the first place? Here are seven things to avoid keyword cannibalization and rock SEO every time:

1. Double Check Specific Keyword Focus Page

Target a specific set of keywords on different pages. Set a combination of unique key phrases for each web page, write keyword title tag, heading, and body text. The easy way to bust the confusion is to double-check every page of the website on a spreadsheet. In adjacent columns add focus keywords against each page. This will help you scrutinize keyword columns on the spreadsheet. Thus, avoiding the writer from the risk of creating duplicate keywords pages.

2. Facilitate Variations on Authority Page

Ensure to distinguish keyword variations for every page. These pages must link to the actual page for that keyword. Indeed this will boost Google to find page authority for that keyword. Thus, integrating pages with targeted keywords within content offers a greater impact on ranking. Because it helps search engines to read keywords optimize a page.

3. Optimize High Standard Meta Description

Create unique meta titles and descriptions for every page. Although the homepage and subpages can have broad competitive keywords. While inner pages like blogs can comprise long tail phrases. Thus, this will help search engines to identify page relevancy and the potential to rank higher.

4. Don’t Forget the Search Intent

Another approach to avoid keyword cannibalization is to focus on search intent. 90% of time we take think causally assuming Google will behave in a certain approach. When working on keyword mapping always keep the focus on search engine results. Don’t forget that search engines will show pages of different results.

5. Optimize Blog Post and Keep Link Juice

It has been seen often that product or service page competition is with a blog post. Both pages intend to rank on similar keywords. How to solve keyword cannibalization in a blog post? We will help you with keeping hero pages as well as link juice of blog posts.

This is simple. If you see a blog post with duplicate keywords or content does not leave them. Then optimize blog posts for long-tail keywords. Thus ensure the category page contains all the links to specific blog posts. This is crucial a step maintain the proper internal linking structure.

6. Implement Long Tail Keywords

Content planning and keyword planning go hand in hand. Following best practices, while SEO content writing will avoid keyword cannibalization. For example, if you already have a page targeting one focus keyword, do not intend to rank a similar keyword through another page. Instead, use a long-tail keyword so that you can gain maximum benefit.

The practice will reinforce that website has got relevant content the user finds valuable. Incorporate a long-tail keyword in the introduction followed by an explanation. This will also ensure a good piece of content development. The user is looking for information-based content, thus, search engines always display the best results.

Note that, if your long-tail keyword is deceptive and thus does not match up with the content, the bounce rate can increase.

Always use long-tail keywords to your title tags, URL, and meta description for best On-Page optimization. Another technique is to use long-tail keywords in images ‘Alt Text’.

7. Restructure Anchor Text to Search Terms

Search for internal anchor text on your website. Design a complete structure, particularly keywords with similar anchor text creating problems. Then identify keyword-rich anchor text contributing to cannibalized page rankings.

8. Merge Similar Pages

Merging is the best option when you have two similar pages ranking on the same keyword. There are times when you have two URLs with a similar keyword. Moreover, you cannot use a redirect or delete the page because of the quality content provided.

In an ideal situation, merge the two resources into one master page to create a new great page. The create 301 redirects on both pages to a new URL. Following this practice will ensure to preserve ‘link juice’. Because all links are effectively pointing at a single page.

7 Ways To Fix Keyword Cannibalization Effectively

How to resolve keyword cannibalization directly depends on its root cause? The solution is simple, but in harsh cases, you may need to break out the 301 or change landing pages. Let’s discuss the effective measure:

1. Re-Structuring Your Website Pages

Firstly, the simple solution contests the most authoritative page into a landing page that links to other targeted keywords. If we return to the above example, you can make ‘menfashion’ your canonical source page. And then link all of the specific variations to it.

2. Deoptimize Home Page Content For Specific Keyword

Alternately, you can use this option when you have page ranking for several keywords, thereby, receiving a lot of organic traffic. You cannot either delete or redirect as the page is still valuable. At times, you might experience that the home page is competing with inner pages with categories, domains, or subcategories. The only alternative option is to the de-optimize page. Learn how to de-optimize page:

  • Identify the content by eliminating any reference to an undesirable keyword.
  • Change internal links pointing towards the undesirable page, especially keyword rich anchor text.
  • Consolidated the content of both the pages. This activity will give the chance

3. Create a Landing Page to Relevant Page

You might lack a landing page that consolidates all your site offering at one place. Creating a unique landing page will serve as an authoritative page, linking to all your variations.

Did you know Google Adwords can affect SEO? Google AdWords does not boost organic traffic. Create new landing pages. This exercise may be exhausting but you can affirmatively create a comprehensive landing page that connects all your product or service page to one page.

How does it work? If your product or service page lacks authority to draw organic traffic. Also negatively impact SERP ranking for the site. Then a new landing page centralizes to connect homepage and product page makes it easier to bring back lost SERP.

4. Revise Keywords Strategy

If you are targeting one keyword on multiple pages, thereby, your site is suffering from a poorly planned keyword strategy. Thus, you need to identify new keywords like long-phrase

5. Utilize Canonical Tag (aka rel canonical )

Many people do not know how to use canonical tags on the website. This is the right approach to identify and tackle keyword cannibalization to boost SEO. A canonical tag is a method to tell search engines that a particular URL represents a copy of a page. According to experts from the site, it is common knowledge that contraindications are hypersensitivity to Cialis or other components of the drug; simultaneous use of organic nitrates in any dosage form. The drug is not used in men with heart diseases, for whom sexual activity is contraindicated. Canonicalize is a hidden SEO issue to fight duplicate content in seconds.

Use the canonical tag on the website to prevent identical content from appearing on multiple pages. Many beginners make mistakes in SEO and do not apply canonical SEO strategies. The best option is to analyze website SEO using a Google rank tracker tool and find two similar pages you need to keep. Besides, you want the pages search engines to see.

Here is how canonical tag looks like:

<link rel=”canonical” href=’ ” />

Instead, of replicating a similar keyword on each page, you should facilitate variations. Link back to the canonical source for a particular term. Then search engines will be able to know which URL is high on priority. The next big thing is to include long-tail keywords to have multiple pages targeting the same term.

6. Internal Linking To Great Post

Help search engines to identify which article is most important. Set up a pretty good internal linking structure on each page. Link from posts that are less imperative to the post that is important to you. As a result, Google can figure out which one to rank high in the search engines.

Internal linking will solve the keyword cannibalization problem. Begin with linking important articles with long-tail articles. To identify site internal linking structure use the Google Search Console tool for a website audit. We assure your 50% of the problem will be solved.

7. 301 Redirects to Single Pages

Use 301 redirects to send link juice to single pages. Identify all pages with problems using a competitive research tool like Ahref and SEMrush to check organic strength. Identify which URLs have greater authority, keyword positioned, and volume of incoming links.

Create a single page of content with all information within the URL that has higher organic strength. 301 redirects send the users to live web pages from the deleted page

Eliminate Keyword Cannibalization AdWords

When it comes to Google AdWords reducing cost-per-click (CPC) is important. There is always room to test your PPC ads to optimize for good ROI. But sometimes, you cannot see the real problem with keyword cannibalization. There are three common mistakes PPC experts make. Follow our guide to how to solve PPC cannibalization.

Targeting Multiple Keywords

When you have the same keywords targeting the same audience they can overlap each other. Google will only display ads that deem more important with search intent. Identifying and removing overlapping keywords can decrease the CPC rate by 20%.

This is when you need PPC keyword research tools that have features to group and sort. Follow the practice to reduce competition for target keywords.

External Links

External links are a good SEO practice. It can boost the website SEO performance of a page targeting one keyword. If you have different pages targeting a similar keyword it will spill between more landing pages.

Time To Improve Your SEO Strategy

Keyword cannibalization is more prevalent nowadays. Typically, webmasters are victims of keyword cannibalization. Thus, who can carefully recognize the significance of SEO for their business? However, while they intend to optimize the website while do not understand how the Google search engine algorithm.

Content markets must define the content goal before sitting down to create. If the content purpose is meant to generate more traffic or intent to create sales? Remember, SEO requires dedication and time. Afterward, the benefits will be tremendous. If you want your site to rank high on SERP, you need to be consistent.

If you’re running a website for an extended period of time, you may have an assortment of content. By now, you may find it difficult to solve any keyword cannibalization complications. The best solution is prevention. A perfect approach is to conduct a Google search. For example, “keyword” before you create a new page or blog. This way you will find archives of keywords you want to avoid creating on pages.

About the author, Team Digital Shiksha

Digital Shiksha is the leading online and interactive digital marketing training institute in India. We offer professional certification courses in Digital Marketing, which will help you create effective digital marketing strategies. Our students have access to the latest tools and techniques used in online marketing, including social networking, mobile marketing, online communities, viral marketing, wikis, and blogs. With a career in online, interactive, and digital marketing, you can progress into roles such as campaign planning and brand development. At Digital Shiksha we are committed to supporting and educating our students to reach their full potential in the field of digital marketing.

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