Keyword cannibalization is a situation where your website maintains multiple pages that target the same keyword or topic. This occurs mainly due to content management system (CMS) problems, but it could also be intentional. When you use the same keywords on multiple pages, SEO can be impacted negatively. This is because all the pages with the keywords will be competing with each other to appear on search results, and this gives search engines a hard time identifying which page has the highest authority for a certain keyword.
Why You Should Fix Keyword Cannibalization
The most apparent reason why you need to inspect your pages for keyword cannibalization is because it dilutes authority between pages. This occurs due to the fact that multiple pages share the same primary keyword, which technically makes it hard for search engines to understand the page that bears more authority. This issue could lead to insufficient crawling and indexing of pages. It will only make search engines to crawl pages not needed. All this could be translated to mean you are competing with yourself, so your pages may not bring in the results you expect due to the misuse of keywords.
How to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization
Losing performance because your own page rankings are competing could deny your website traffic. That’s why it’s important to deal with keyword cannibalization immediately when you notice there is a problem. The first step to solving this problem is coming up with a map to audit keywords for individual pages. You need to possess an idea of the keywords that are targeted on every page on your website. While creating your website, you should create separate keywords for each page to prevent the temptation to cannibalize. Google Sheets or Excel would come in handy to help you in creating these keywords for multiple pages.
Tools to Solve Keyword Cannibalization
Use tools like Screaming Frog to perform an audit of your website structure. This tool will give you a preview of existing keyword commodities within the title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and also alt text. The idea is to ensure you are able to visualize the structure of your website to see if there are duplication of key terms or content. Siteliner is another tool that you could use to audit the different pages on your website to detect internal duplicate content. Search engines will not be able to understand what your pages are about if you have duplicate content, so it’s important to focus on one authoritative page for each product.
As mentioned earlier, duplicate content can result from a content management system (CMS). Sometimes a CMS will use parameters that will change content for users, but it keeps the title tag and heading the same, which results in duplicate content. To solve this, build static pages for parameter pages that contain keywords that offer viable search visibility. The other solution is to go to Google Search Console and exclude all URL variations that contain the same content.
Now that you have seen how keyword cannibalization can damage your SEO strategy, it’s recommended that you take measures to prevent this from occurring. Conduct thorough site audit to reveal any problems that might be causing duplication of keywords and fix all issues right away to restore the rankings of your pages.