Keyword cannibalization is a deadly sin when it comes to SEO. In this article, we are going to cover how to identify, fix and prevent Keyword Cannibalization.
What is Keyword Cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization refers to the evil practice of using the same keyword on multiple pages. As a result, internal pages will fight each other for the same keyword. Effectively, diluting the keyword, making it very hard for Google to choose which page to select for a specific keyword.
It’s a gamble which page google will pick up. Your first page ranking for that keyword might be an old site with old content that is now not relevant to the user.
This evil practice can result in:
· Loss of authority
· An increment in bounce rate
· A decrease in conversion rate for sales.
· Dilution of the backlinks on multiple pages. Rather than pushing link juice to a single page giving it more authority. The relevant backlinks will be spread on various pages.
How to prevent Keyword Cannibalization?
You can prevent Keyword Cannibalization by having a Keyword Strategy in place, which will plan all the keywords from the inception of the site and provide a plan for the new pages and their corresponding keywords.
A by-product of a Keyword strategy is that you will have an audit of all that keywords used in the site. Before adding a new page, you can easily validate if the keyword is in use.
Being consistent is very important, and any changes to the site structure will require changes to your audit of keyword and pages. Eg. Removal or merging of pages. ( If you merge or remove pages, make sure you implement 301 redirects from old pages or removed pages to the new page.)
How do we identify and fix Keyword Cannibalization?
When a site grows, and ages keyword cannibalization will sneak into your website slowly. Depending on the size of the site doing it will be a lot of hard work. The following are the steps that you need to follow to identify and fix Keyword Cannibalization.
You need to review the current site and create a map of each page and its corresponding keyword. If you have a big website, the best option is to opt for a tool that will automate the process for you.
All the primary SEO tools like ahref and moz provide Organic Keywords reports that will provide you with your site keywords. If you export the data to excel, you can easily do a transformation to group the keys to determine which pages are using the same keywords.
2. Issue Fixing
Once you have gathered your data and identified the pages that need fixing, you can build your plan of action, use one of the following approaches.
1. Modify keywords of the duplicate page. If you have two pages targeting the same keyword, you can alter the keywords in one of the pages.
2. Merging pages can be the right approach when you have two similar pages. Content can be combined into one page. Make sure that proper redirects are in place, so if you remove any of the page, you can still push the link juice to the merged page.
3. Delete duplicate pages. If the quality of the pages isn’t good and they offer outdated or low-quality information. You can delete the pages.
4. Use NoIndex functionality. If you have pages, you want to keep as they might be important to a small niche of your customer. You can instruct Google not to index the pages by updating the robot.txt file.
If you have a proper keyword strategy, you can eliminate steer away from Keyword cannibalization from day one. If your site suffers from this issue with the right tools and methodologies, you quickly fix them and make sure that your site is topnotch.
We at Gainchanger automate the tedious part of SEO to allow you to scale your results exponentially and focus on what really matters.
Simon Bonello is Co-founder of Gain Changer. His main area of focus is Business Process Automation, Software Technical Architecture and Technical SEO