Cannibalization and SEO? How do these two worlds connect? In today’s SEO world, the term keyword cannibalization was created to refer to the issue of multiple pages which compete for similar keywords. That’s why it’s called cannibalization.
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Cannibalization In SEO:
Keyword cannibalization is an unnoticed and unfortunate problem which harms several pages’ SEO potential. Search engines become confused when more than one page is targeting the same keyword. As a result, the search engines struggle to decide which page should be ranked for the key term.
So what, right?
Is the keyword cannibalization good for my website? Is it hurting my site’s rankings? The answer to the question depends on the exact keywords, situation and user intent when searching for a specific term.
Keyword cannibalization, in a nutshell, is neither black nor white. There can be grey areas, as well.
Is This Serious?
Almost every website today has some degree of cannibalization which needs resolving, and blogger outreach agency looks for ways to find possible solutions. It’s a bit hard to estimate how a single page can be held back by this especially since it involves several pages that have limited potential. Analyze several clusters of pages if you want to treat this issue instead of single pages.
Finding Cannibalization Problems In SEO
Usually, you can find two primary placements for keyword cannibalization.
1.) Metadata Level:
When there are more than two pages with headings and title tags that target the same keywords, cannibalization happens. This is easier to fix since you only need to adjust the metadata.
A lot of e-commerce sites today have keyword cannibalization in their category and subcategory pages intending to target particular keywords. To fix this, you have to have one page focusing on the main category and the other pages with more specific details.
More often, people have a hard time differentiating the metadata of e-commerce sites to target a specific keyword subgroup. Most e-commerce pages often have only a few texts on them. This type makes metadata essential since it becomes the elements that search engines look at to differentiate one page from another.
2.) Page Content Level
On the other hand, cannibalization at the page content level means that two or more pages are covering similar topics in their content. Compared to the metadata level, the website owner has to find all of the competing pages then decide on how to approach the issue.
More often than not, this type of keyword cannibalization occurs most on transactional pages and editorial pages with a lot of text. Clarifying things is important. When producing editorial content, SEO isn’t the main driver since different teams are involved in creating content for engagement and social reasons. In more prominent corporations, it can be quite easy to underestimate how hard it is to look for the balance between several departments and how things can be missed so easily.
From an SEO point, two pages are much likely to be subject to cannibalization even though they have different editorial angles. In a certain degree, there is a duplicated content displayed between these two.
The search engine will have a hard time differentiating between these two pages especially when they have the same intent. As such, it is essential to ask yourself questions on whether or not you are covering the same topic. Before you go about investing your time and resources to making new pages, ensure that you have the effort to review your already existing content.
How To Avoid Keyword Cannibalization?
Marketers who can identify keyword cannibalization in their accounts have an easier time avoiding the issue altogether. If you are already trying to determine how pages are optimized and tagged, then a lot of your infrastructure already exists.
You only have to change your strategy development and how you assign keywords. It’s easier to adjust keyword strategy than to develop something from scratch.
Now, if you want to avoid keyword cannibalization, here’s how to do it.
- Run an SEO audit report. This will show you the state of your keywords. From here, start developing a plan to improve your rankings and clean up your results. Then, create a spreadsheet with your website URLs. Add relevant details including your meta description, keyword, headline and internal links. It will help you guide and review your site’s status. If you don’t want to do all the work or have enough time to do the audit, use Alexa’s SEO Audit Tool. This shows you reports which can help identify any duplicate content issue in your site. It includes meta descriptions and title tags that appear a few times on your website. Check to see if these are the same. These might be contributing to your issue of keyword cannibalization.
- Sort your spreadsheet by conduct audits and keywords. If there are around a dozen pages with the same keywords, you’ll have to optimize these to target a different term.
- Designate the top keywords for the main pages in your spreadsheet. Choose the ones with the best content.
- Set up 301 redirects. For duplicate content in weaker pages that have minimal information or outdated content, it’s best to redirect these. Doing so will channel all of the traffic to the main pages of your site so the search engines can concentrate their efforts.
- Update internal links. The anchor text should match the target keyword of the page they are currently pointing to. Don’t ever link a target keyword of a particular page to another that is not targeted for this keyword.
After correcting this SEO problem, you can easily avoid keyword cannibalization in the near future. And then delegate these to one of your virtual assistant duties in the future. That is if you plan to hire a virtual assistant. Easy as pie.
Understanding keyword cannibalization is just half of the process of fixing it. A lot of SEO professionals don’t have any idea that they hinder their very own search rankings when they optimize pages with the same target keyword. Follow the steps above so you will have pages that compete against your competitors and not against your own.