If you have some understanding of SEO, you would know that niche-relevant and brand-relevant keywords are good for your site’s content. However, if you keep optimizing your blog posts for similar terms, you’ll lower the chances of good rankings.
Why? Because that’s what keyword cannibalization does! It devours the chances of achieving better rankings on Google. Your content may end up competing with itself. For instance, if you have a growing site like IT staffing agencies, you don’t want to mess up your rankings and find that different pages of your site are competing against each other!
There’s no doubt that keyword cannibalism is detrimental to your SEO. But to avoid it, you need to recognize it and it is tricky.
What is Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization is a term given to the process of spreading too many similar or identical keywords throughout your website’s content. This leads to Google unable to discern which of those pages to rank higher. As a result, you will see a page ranked higher that you didn’t mean to prioritize. It can also result in lowering the ranking of all the pages with similar keywords.
A few decades back, search engines were much simpler. Google would rank sites based on simple criteria. This is when keyword stuffing became a rampant practice. Unscrupulous content creators took advantage of the fact that Google considered content with a keyword often used on a web page to be relevant.
This led to the practice of stuffing hundreds and even thousands of same words to boost the rankings. As time passed, Google’s algorithm advanced and today, keyword stuffing is perhaps the worst thing you can do to your content and site’s rankings.
Deliberate and access keyword stuffing can attract harsh reactions from the modern algorithms and result in lower search rankings. The result is that each such page ends up with a lower click-through rate, diminished authority, and lower conversion rates.
Ways to Prevent the Practice of Keyword Cannibalization
Now that we have established that keyword cannibalization is a harmful practice for your ranking, we are going to discuss the ways to prevent it.
Simply put, keyword cannibalization splits the CTR (click-through-rate), conversions, and links between two different pages. To avoid it, you can take two different approaches. Either both the pages in question should be merged or both pages should target different keywords.
Take the instance of two pages listing similar things on the same website. A web page recommending good food for cats on one page and another page listing the bad cat food. A good approach would be taking all this content and putting it on a single page.
We are not suggesting that this solution will work for every situation but more than often, merging content will simplify your site’s SEO and enhance your ranking.
Moving content from one page to another is not always simple. Sometimes, a certain type of content is important and needs to stay on a particular page.
In that case, you need to identify the presence of the keywords, which are cannibalizing your content. Simply remove them and this will solve the problem for you. You may find it a rather tedious and slow way of going about this problem. But take our word, manual solutions are fairly simple and easy to implement.
It is no brainer that this solution is a little extreme. But deleting the entire problem web content is a legit solution to avoid keyword cannibalization. This is an easy solution when the content is not relevant to your site. When the problem content doesn’t exist, neither will the problem.
Make Changes to Internal Linking
Quite often, your web content on one page has links from a different page on your website. Improving these internal links can resolve the problem at hand. Internal links establish important for search engines like Google. Chances of better rankings are more when the pages are well-linked.
Try to add or change your web site’s internal linking. This will prioritize and highlight your preferred content. Incorporating internal links in the less important content page to the more important content will do the job. This will signal the SERP that the page with the linked content needs to be prioritized the most.
Change the Requests for Inbound Links
Perhaps a harder form of cannibalization that you will address, but it is very important. SEO considers the number of backlinks in your content while ranking your site. It can be one of the reasons a page with less important content is ranking higher than your prioritized and newer content.
If you have links from influential sites, request the webmasters to delete or change links. Ideally, they will exchange the new links with old and you will be able to prioritize the page you are seeking to. For instance, your website is about talent acquisition strategies. If you want to prioritize the page that lists the trending strategies, then get the links from influential sites on it.