Keyword cannibalization is a big problem for loads of websites, but it is probably not something you have heard of! There are lots of online resources available which give strategies and ideas for dealing with cannibalization. This doesn’t stop people from struggling!
What is keyword cannibalization?
This is a term used when more than one page of your website competes for the same keywords. Surprise surprise, search engines really don’t like this, meaning that potential rankings are held back. It is called cannibalization because you are effectively eating away at your own results! The links, content and conversions are split between two pages, which should be just one.
When this happens, you are not showing search engines the depth and breadth of your knowledge. Instead, search engines have to weigh up your pages against each other and choose one it thinks matches the keywords best.
An example could be if your website sells shoes, and every page uses “shoes” as the keyword, regardless of what type of shoes are on each page, such as “ladies shoes”, “tennis shoes” etc. Google then has to try to figure out which page is the best one to show up on search results for “shoes”.
Problems caused by keyword cannibalization
There are several problems which are directly caused by keyword cannibalization:
Fixing Keyword Cannibalization Issues
- Reduced page authority. Rather than having one really high authority page about your keyword, you end up splitting it over several moderately relevant pages. You have turned your pages into competitors and you end up fighting for page views and clicks. You also fight for the higher rankings!
- Diluted anchor text and links. Valuable backlinks which could have gone to one page of information are being split between more than one page. This means that anchor text also leads visitors to several pages rather than one perfect page.
- The more relevant page could be devalued. Keywords are the main way we are able to show search engines what our pages are all about. If your keywords are the same across several pages, Google and the like will try to see which one is the best fit. This means it could end up putting the “wrong” page higher up the search rankings!
- It shows poor page quality. Several pages using the same keywords means your content is probably very thin. The content on the page may not be a match for the keywords used if it is spread too thinly.
- Poor conversion rates. The conversion rate can suffer quickly with keyword cannibalization. It is only natural that one of your pages will always convert better than others. Instead of directing users to this valuable page, you end up losing potential leads because they have landed on the wrong page. This can lead to reduced sales or bookings in the long run.
It is not too big a challenge to fix problems with cannibalization, as long as you know how! The first thing to do is establish which keywords should be on each page of your site. If you have a small site, this shouldn’t be too bad, however large sites can be much more complex! Create a map of your pages plus the relevant keywords for each one, and see if there are overlaps. The pages which have matching keywords can be rewritten to ensure that different keywords are used. You might find you need to build some new pages to cover a wider range of keywords. Using our shoe shop example, you might decide to have a separate landing page for “walking shoes” and another for “ladies shoes”.
Make sure you got through your content to ensure it reads well and that you stick to the right topic. Using the correct keywords throughout your content will help you to remain relevant and help bring up the authority of your pages.
If all this sounds like too much to deal with, why not give SEO Moves a call? Our specialist team are on hand to help fix your SEO problems and get your rankings up higher than ever. Lots of our customers who use our monthly SEO packages come to us initially with issues like keyword cannibalization. You can contact us on 01933 594002 or email email@example.com or even request a free SEO analysis to see where your site is letting you down.