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What Is Keyword Cannibalization & How You Can Avoid It?

As digital marketers and website owners, we are always looking for ways to optimise our website for search engines. We research keywords, create valuable content and build high-quality backlinks to improve our website’s ranking. However, one issue that often goes unnoticed is – keyword cannibalisation.

This blog post talks about what keyword cannibalisation is, why it’s harmful, and how to avoid it.

What is Keyword Cannibalisation?

Keyword cannibalisation occurs when multiple pages on your website target the same keyword or keyphrase. It happens when you create too many pages around the same topic or keyword without a proper strategy in place. This results in multiple pages competing for the same search engine rankings, leading to a drop in traffic and visibility.

Simply put, it’s like having two kids fighting over the same toy. It is not good for anyone involved.

Just imagine you run a blog about baking, and you have a page optimised for the keyword “best chocolate cake recipe”. You decide to create another page with the same keyword because you have a new recipe you want to showcase. Both pages are now competing against each other, and search engines may not know which page to rank higher.

Here’s the thing – search engines want to deliver the most suitable, relevant and helpful results to their users. If they see multiple pages on your website targeting the same keyword, they may not know which one best fits the user’s search query. This can hurt your website’s possibility of ranking for that keyword, and it can also make it harder for users to find the information they are looking for.

How Can Keyword Cannibalisation Hurt Your SEO? 

When your website has multiple pages targeting the same keyword, it can hurt your SEO efforts in several ways, some of them are:

Confusing Search Engines:

When search engines crawl your website, they might be unable to identify which page is the most relevant for the targeted keyword. This will lead to lower rankings for all the pages targeting the same keyword.

Diluted Rankings:

When several pages target the same keyword, it makes it harder for any single page to rank highly. This is because search engines have to divide up the “Ranking Power” between all of the pages that are competing for that keyword. As a result, each page may end up ranking lower than it would have if it were only a single page targeting that keyword.

Wasted Effort:

Instead of creating new and unique content targeting different keywords and topics, you are focusing on the same thing repeatedly. If you are creating multiple pages targeting the same keyword, you are essentially doubling your efforts and putting negative effects on the results.

Now that we know the negative impact of keyword cannibalisation, let’s look at some ways to avoid it. 

How do you avoid Keyword Cannibalisation?

The good news is that there are several steps you can take to avoid keyword cannibalisation and keep your SEO efforts on track. Here are some tips to get you started:

Conduct a Site Audit:

Conducting a thorough site audit is the first step in avoiding keyword cannibalisation. Use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush or Google Search Console to identify pages that are targeting the same keyword. Once you have identified those pages, you can decide which ones to keep and which to merge or delete.

Focus on Unique Content:

Make sure that each page on your website has unique and valuable content. This means avoiding duplicate content and focusing on creating content that is specific to that page’s topic. By doing so, you will not only prevent the cannibalisation of keywords but also provide a better user experience and enhance your chances of ranking higher in search results.

Use Canonical Tags:

If you have pages containing similar content that can’t be consolidated, use canonical tags to indicate which page should be regarded as the primary page for that content. This will help search engines discern which page to rank higher in search results.

Optimise Page Titles and Meta Descriptions:

Optimising titles and meta descriptions is a significant part of SEO. Make sure that each page has a distinct title and meta description that describes the content accurately and targets different keywords.

Repair Your Internal Links:

Internal linking is a great way to consolidate the authority of a page and avoid keyword cannibalisation. Make sure that you link the most relevant page for the target keyword from other pages on your website.

Monitor Your Website’s Performance:

Once you have implemented these strategies, monitor your website’s performance and track the ranking of your targeted keywords. Use tools like SEMrush or Google Analytics to measure your website’s traffic, engagement and bounce rate. If you notice any drop in ranking or traffic, revisit your keyword strategy and make the necessary changes.

Final Thoughts:

By following these pointers, you can avoid keyword cannibalisation and ensure your content ranks as effectively as possible. Remember, creating high-quality, relevant content is the key to a successful SEO strategy, so always prioritise your audience and focus on curating content that resonates with them.

So, if you are struggling to rank for your targeted keywords, take a step back and reassess your content strategy. You can enhance your rankings and boost website traffic by avoiding keyword cannibalisation and creating high-quality, optimised content.

Happy Ranking!

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