What Is, How to Find, Fix and Avoid Keyword Cannibalization Issues

What Is, How to Find, Fix and Avoid Keyword Cannibalization Issues
Adrián Valdivia Saavedra, a.k.a. The Mayor
Adrián Valdivia Saavedra, a.k.a. The Mayor

Copywriter, content writer and SEO translator

   

Among all the factors that Google takes into account when penalizing a website in terms of web positioning, keyword cannibalization is one of the most important. Therefore, cannibalizing content will cause your website to fall in the SERPs...

But don't worry, because in today's article we will deal with cannibalization in its entirety and when you finish reading it you will know what it is, how important it is, how to find it, how to fix it and how to avoid it. What do you say we start with this exciting topic?

What is keyword cannibalism? Definition ☠️

Cannibalization. This term is not even included in the Cambridge Dictionary. However, this distinguished institution offers the next definition on the word cannibalism:

The practice of a person who eats human flesh, or the behaviour of an animal that eats others of its own type.

Well, it’s a little bit savage, right? Content cannibalization happens when the same web page tries to rank for the same keywords with different content.

Why is important not to cannibalize content? ⚰️

The most obvious reason for not cannibalizing is that it divides up the potential power, reduces effectiveness and confuse both users and Google. And you don't want to be blacklisted by Google, do you? SEO cannibalization produces the following:

  • Less clicks and CTR, as the visits are spread over several contents.
  • The authority of the page is diluted, since part of the potential that certain content could have is lost.
  • Google gets confused because it is difficult to differentiate which page is more relevant for a given search.
  • More budget and time to crawl, because the more pages, the longer it takes Google to crawl them.

How to find keyword cannibalization? 🕵️

There are several ways to detect cannibalization, whether you are the owner of a project and know absolutely all the published content, have just started working on it or haven't touched it for a long time.

≫ Using the search engine inside the CMS

Any quality content management system (be it WordPress, PrestaShop, Joomla, Wix or Acai Shop, among others) has a search engine to check if a certain keyword is being covered with more than one content.

≫ Using the “site:” command

The king of the search engines has another alternative to search for cannibalization cases, the famous "site:" command. You only have to add the domain you want to explore and the keyword you want to analyze.

How to fix SEO cannibalization? 🛠

Imagine you have two pages (X and Y) that are being cannibalized with another (Z) that is better positioned for a given keyword. The solution is clear: say goodbye to X and Y.

Then you would have to use the content dispersed in X and Y to improve Z in order to make it more attractive in terms of content and on-page SEO. The ideal is to ‘delete’ X and Y.

≫ 301 redirect

Since the content has been redistributed, the authority of X and Y must be used to give Z a boost. This is undoubtedly the best way to pass the authority directly, as well as avoiding 404 links and receiving traffic from X and Y while they continue to rank.

≫ Canonical

A canonical is basically a tag that suggests to Google that even if certain content is indexed, the most relevant content for that keyword is another. In this case, you would have to put the canonical in X and Y pointing to Z. In this way, the content of X and Y does not disappear, so users can still access it.

How to avoid content cannibalization 👏

Whether you already have a website or are creating one from scratch, you should consider the following:

  • Fixing keyword cannibalization problems is not an exact science, so even if you follow all the recommendations you have to make decisions that can affect the authority of the web.
  • An extensive keyword analysis is absolutely necessary. In case you don't know how to do it, the ideal is to hire SEO professionals like Coco Solution and follow a customized content strategy.
  • Don't go crazy with cannibalizations, as they are often unavoidable if the market niche is very small. Try to follow the guidelines and don't get obsessed.

Conclusion on cannibalization in content marketing 👍

Like any "digital living thing", a website is quite dynamic. So by adding new content and updating it regularly, cannibalization problems can come and go.

Therefore, it is extremely important to have a great content organization and control and to implement maintenance actions with certain frequency to avoid SEO errors.

Finally, I'm sure that now you know more about what keyword cannibalization is, what its importance is, how it is found, how it is fixed and how is avoided, right?

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