Google uses over 200 factors to rank websites on the first page of its search engine. While it’s nearly impossible to cater to every single one of those factors, it is important to understand what has the most impact on your search engine rankings.
This means that if you’re running an SEO strategy, it’s important to know about keyword cannibalization. This happens when multiple pages on your site are targeting the same keywords and can end up hurting your rankings.
In this quick guide, we’ll explain what keyword cannibalization is and how to fix it. Stay tuned for more tips on optimizing your website for search engines!
What Is Keyword Cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization is when you use the same keyword or phrase on more than one page of your website. It’s important to avoid cannibalizing keywords because it can cause major issues with your SEO rankings.
How so? When multiple pages are competing for the same keyword, it’s difficult for search engines to determine which page is most relevant. As a result, your organic positions could suffer. This means missing out on potential traffic and leads.
What’s more, cannibalization can also make it difficult for people to navigate your website. If they land on a page that doesn’t have the information they’re looking for, they may get frustrated and leave.
The Importance of User Intent
When it comes to keyword cannibalization, user search intent plays a big role. User intent refers to the reason why someone entered a certain search query.
For example, someone might search “red sneakers” with the intent to buy them, while another person might search for “red sneakers” with the intent to learn about their history. That’s where keyword cannibalization comes in.
If you have multiple pages targeting the same keyword, but each page has a different user intent, search engines may have trouble knowing which page to show for that query.
So when it comes to avoiding keyword cannibalization, it’s important to consider user intent and make sure each page is accurately targeting a specific user intent for that keyword. Otherwise, you could end up competing with yourself and hurting your search rankings.
Signs of Keyword Cannibalization
There are a few telltale signs that keyword cannibalization is affecting your search rankings, and the first is low rankings for desired keywords.
If you’re targeting multiple similar keywords, but you’re only seeing one or two of those keywords ranking well, the other keywords are likely being cannibalized.
Another sign is fluctuations in search traffic for specific keywords. If search traffic for a particular keyword drops suddenly or increases erratically, this could be an indication that Google is penalizing your website for keyword cannibalization.
Finally, if you notice that the click-through rate for a certain keyword is low, this could mean that searchers are finding your website, but they’re not finding what they’re looking for. If you see any of these signs, it’s important to take action to fix the problem.
How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization
Do you suspect that you might be guilty of keyword cannibalization according to the signs above? There are a few steps you can take to fix the problem.
Remove or Redirect Cannibalized Pages
Remove cannibalized pages by deleting them from your website. If you don’t want to delete them, you can 301 redirect them to another page on your site.
Redirecting cannibalized pages will help to preserve any existing link equity and traffic while still solving the issue of keyword cannibalization.
No-Index Cannibalized Pages
Another option is to no-index the lower-performing pages. This tells search engines not to consider those pages when crawling and indexing your site.
You can no-index a page using the robots meta tag. Or, you can adjust your website’s robots.txt file. From there, focus on optimizing and improving the remaining pages to strengthen their rankings and prevent future cannibalization issues.
Create Canonical Links
By specifying the correct URL for a piece of content, you can help search engines understand which version of that content is the most important.
This is especially important when there is duplicate content on your website, or if there are multiple ways to reach the same content (for example, through different URL parameters).
By creating canonical links, you can ensure that search engines index the right version of your content and that your users always end up on the page that you want them to see.
Rewrite Website Content for Better Optimization
After you’ve completed one of the suggestions above, it’s also helpful to rewrite your content. Keyword optimization is crucial here.
This ensures that you’re targeting the right keywords with the right search intent. Plus, it’s a great idea to refresh your website content frequently anyway.
By rewriting your content, you can ensure that each page is targeting a different keyword or phrase. This will help you to rank better in the search engines.
In addition, by rewriting your content you can also make sure that your pages are more user-friendly and relevant to your audience.
Create Intent-Focused Content
While you’re rewriting your content or creating new content, make sure you’re creating intent-focused content.
Too often, businesses create content for the sake of keywords. They don’t consider what the user is looking for. As a result, they end up with a lot of duplicate or similar content that fails to address the user’s needs.
Instead, focus on creating content that is designed to meet the user’s intent, regardless of keywords. This means taking the time to understand what your target audience is looking for, and then creating helpful and informative content that provides value.
You can use Google Search Console to find common search queries. This will tell you how people search for your business and what you currently rank for.
Get Help With Your SEO Strategy
At SarkarSEO, we understand that a successful SEO strategy is essential for businesses that want to stay competitive online. We also understand that it’s hard to be successful with SEO if you struggle with keyword cannibalization.
That’s why we offer affordable, customized SEO packages that are tailored to your specific needs. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, contact us today, and let us show you what we can do.