A Guide to Keyword Cannibalization in SEO and How to Fix It

Written by Amenorhu Kwaku

Technical SEO is an essential part of any website’s search engine optimization strategy. It involves optimizing a website’s backend structure, content, and other elements to ensure that it can be properly indexed by search engines and ranked for relevant keywords.

While technical SEO offers numerous benefits, one of the key challenges that website owners face is keyword cannibalization. This occurs when multiple web pages on the same domain are targeting similar or identical keywords resulting in competition among these pages for rankings in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

In this article, we will discuss what keyword cannibalization is and how you can fix it. So, whether you do SEO in-house or you’ve opted for the best SEO packages, this article will discuss how you can review and modify your website’s structure and content to avoid keyword cannibalization.

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple web pages on a single domain are targeting the same or similar keywords. This can lead to competition among these pages for rankings in SERPs, as well as a weakened overall ranking performance.

For example, if a website has two pages targeting the same keyword, such as “SEO tips”, then both pages will compete for rankings in SERPs. This can result in several issues, such as:

  • Lower rankings for both pages
  • A lack of focus on other important keywords
  • Wasted resources (time, money, etc.)
  • Weak link-building strategies and more

Many SEO executives make the mistake of not realizing that their web pages are competing with each other for rankings, leading to keyword cannibalization. They think if they rank multiple pages for a single keyword, then it will enhance their overall rankings. In reality, this can have a negative impact on the website’s SEO performance.

How to identify keyword cannibalization on your website?

Identifying keyword cannibalization on your website is fairly easy. All you have to do is take a look at the web pages on your domain that are targeting similar or identical keywords. If there’s more than one page targeting the same keyword, then it’s likely that keyword cannibalization has occurred.

In addition, you should also check the SERP rankings for all of your web pages, particularly those targeting the same keyword. If two or more pages are ranking for the same keyword, then it’s likely that keyword cannibalization has taken place.

How to fix keyword cannibalization?

Once you’ve identified that keyword cannibalization has occurred, it’s time to take action. Here are some tips on how to fix keyword cannibalization. If you don’t have an in-house team, you can also go for affordable SEO services to get this SEO issue fixed:

Merge similar content:

If two or more pages have the same content, then it’s best to merge them into a single page. This will give you one authoritative page that can rank for the targeted keyword. While merging the content, ensure there is no repetitive content and it looks more informative.

Along with merging the content, also perform an audit covering all the other pages that were competing for rankings. Also, it’s good to update the content with the relevant and newest information as per the current trends. Once the merging is done, track the performance of the page and also make sure to update the Google Search Console with relevant changes.

Delete the low-quality repetitive content:

If two or more pages have redundant content, then it’s best to delete the low-quality content. This will allow a single page to rank for the targeted keyword and also help in reducing bounce rates. While you delete the content, make sure to also update Google Search Console with relevant details. This will help in tracking the performance of the page better.

If you’re deleting a page, ensure to implement 301 redirects from the deleted page to another page on your website. This will ensure that you don’t lose organic traffic and help in preserving link juice.

Re-optimize the keywords:

If two or more pages are targeting the same keyword, then it’s best to re-optimize them with different keywords. This will ensure that each page can rank for different keywords and help in improving overall rankings.

You should also optimize the content with related keywords. For instance, if you have a page targeting “SEO tips”, then you should also include related keywords like “search engine optimization” and “Google ranking factors”. This will help in improving the page rankings for related keywords as well.

Check and improvise internal linking:

Internal linking plays a vital role in SEO and keyword cannibalization. If two or more pages are competing for the same keyword, then it might be possible that they’re linked to each other from other web pages. Check all the internal links pointing toward your web pages and see if you can improve internal linking by using different keywords.

This will help in reducing keyword cannibalization and will also optimize the pages for related keywords. Also, avoid exact keyword match anchor texts when linking to a page. It’s because Google might consider it keyword stuffing.

Adding canonical tag:

Adding a canonical tag to the pages can also help in reducing keyword cannibalization. If two or more pages are targeting the same keyword, then you can add the canonical tag to one page. This will indicate to Google that the page with the canonical tag should be considered the original source and all other pages should be considered duplicates.

Wrapping up!

By following these strategies, you can easily fix keyword cannibalization on your website and improve its overall SEO performance. Focus on fixing any issues of keyword cannibalization and make sure that your website is optimized correctly to maximize its visibility in SERPs. With the right strategy and implementation, keyword cannibalization can be easily fixed and will yield positive results.

A properly optimized website has a better chance of ranking higher in search engine result pages (SERPs). If you don’t have in-house SEO expertise, go for SEO packages or custom SEO services in India from a reliable digital marketing agency to optimize your website and help it perform better in SERPs.

About the author

Amenorhu Kwaku

Amenorhu kwaku is an author, internet marketer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of SuccessValley, a network community for students and aspiring entrepreneurs