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SEO Keyword Cannibalization

SEO Keyword Cannibalization

Despite the entertaining elements of Cloud Atlas or Sweeney Todd, cannibalism a bad thing. Especially SEO keyword cannibalization. 

Let's talk through it.

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is akin to a tug-of-war within your website. It transpires when multiple pages on your site inadvertently compete for the same or closely related keywords.

Essentially, it confuses search engines, leading to erratic rankings and suboptimal SEO performance.

Example: Imagine you run an e-commerce website selling smartphones, and you have two separate pages: a product page titled "best budget smartphones" and then a blog called "best budget smartphones." You're eating into your own ranking power and canceling yourself out.

Why Does it Happen?

Common culprits include a lack of content organization, subpar site structure, and unintentional SEO efforts, such as creating similar content for different pages.

Example: You have a blog section on your website, and over time, multiple blog posts on different aspects of smartphone affordability have been published. While informative, these posts may inadvertently compete with each other in search results.

How Does KW Cannibalization Impact SEO?

Keyword cannibalization wields a substantial impact on your website's SEO performance.

It dilutes your page authority, confuses search engines, and can lead to lower rankings, ultimately resulting in a perplexing user experience.

Example: Due to keyword cannibalization, your pages about "best budget smartphones" and "affordable cell phones" struggle to secure top positions in search results.

Consequently, users may encounter mixed signals and find it challenging to navigate your website effectively.

Conducting a Cannibalization Audit

To unearth instances of keyword cannibalization, embark on a systematic audit of your website's content. Begin by creating a list of target keywords and analyzing how many pages compete for each term.

Example: Using tools like SEMRush, compile a list of keywords for which multiple pages from your website appear in search results. This list will serve as the foundation for your audit.

Utilizing SEO Tools

Leverage a repertoire of SEO tools and software to streamline the process of pinpointing keyword cannibalization. Tools such as Google Analytics, SEMrush, or Ahrefs can expedite the identification process.

Example: Employ SEMrush's Site Audit feature to generate reports highlighting instances of keyword cannibalization. This tool offers valuable insights into pages that share common keywords, allowing you to focus your efforts on rectification.

Prevent Keyword Cannibalization

Merge related content pieces into a single authoritative page, eliminating the competition among your own web pages for specific keywords.

Example: Combine your product page about "best budget smartphones" and "best budget smartphones" blog into a comprehensive guide on "Choosing the Best Budget Smartphones."

Prune Irrelevant Content

Regularly assess your content inventory, identify outdated or irrelevant pages that contribute to keyword cannibalization issues, and consider deleting them.

Example: You discover an outdated product page for a smartphone model that is no longer available. Removing this obsolete page ensures that it doesn't interfere with your current product listings.

Streamlining Keywords

Simplify your keyword strategy by focusing on a core set of keywords for each page, ensuring clarity and minimizing keyword overlap.

Example: Instead of targeting numerous variations or keyword themes like "budget-friendly smartphones" and "economical cell phones" on a single page, choose a primary keyword and synonyms that offer a cohesive user experience.

Internal Linking Strategies

Master the art of employing descriptive and contextually relevant anchor text within your content. Craft anchor text that guides both users and search engines effectively.

Example: In a blog post discussing smartphone features, use anchor text like "best camera smartphones" to link to your dedicated page on smartphone camera reviews.

Content Hierarchy

Establish a structured content hierarchy that aids in logical internal linking. Ensure that your content flows seamlessly, benefiting both users and search engine crawlers.

Example: If you have a comprehensive guide on "Choosing the Perfect Affordable Smartphone," create subtopics within the guide, allowing you to link to specific sections from relevant pages.

Regular Auditing

Maintain a routine of periodic content audits to assess the relevance and functionality of your internal links. Address any discrepancies promptly.

Example: Conduct quarterly audits to verify that your internal links remain intact and direct users to the most current and valuable pages on your site.


Chapter 5: Managing Backlinks

Identifying Backlinks

Utilize backlink analysis tools to identify websites linking to your content. Recognize any problematic backlinks that contribute to keyword cannibalization.

Example: Employ tools like Moz's Link Explorer to identify websites linking to various pages on your site and evaluate their impact on search rankings.

Contacting Webmasters

Initiate communication with webmasters of external sites linking to your content. Request updates or alterations to backlinks to enhance SEO optimization.

Example: Reach out to webmasters who have linked to your smartphone-related content and propose linking to your consolidated guide on "Choosing the Perfect Affordable Smartphone."

Link Reclamation

Implement link reclamation techniques to consolidate link authority and redirect it to your priority pages, resolving issues related to keyword cannibalization.

Example: Utilize a tool like BuzzStream to manage link outreach, ensuring that backlinks from authoritative sources are redirected to your desired landing pages.

SEO Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization may be a complex SEO challenge, but with the knowledge and strategies outlined in this primer, you are equipped to navigate this labyrinthine issue effectively.

Stay vigilant, conduct regular content audits, and optimize your internal and external linking strategies to ensure your website's success.

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