I'm sure you must have heard terms like Keyword, Keyword optimization. Still, keyword cannibalization can be a short new term for you if you are a newcomer in the SEO or digital industry. Keywords cannibalization is a term that many SEO experts are aware of, but few might deny its existence at the same time. At times keyword cannibalization can be the main reason your site is not ranking on search engines.
Many surf online daily for users who know what they are looking for. Search engines will be quick and accurate. But there are times when users might not know the exact term for what they are looking for, and at that time, as a creator or business, you will find it a little challenging to showcase your content. Keywords play a crucial role in every query that arises on the internet. There will be a time when you knowingly or unknowingly fall into the trap of Keyword cannibalization. You don't want to fall for the keyword cannibalization trap. Continue reading this article to learn what keyword cannibalization is, how to avoid it, and how to fix it.
Before discussing keyword cannibalization, you should know what a keyword is. I'm sure if you are from the digital industry and know about SEO, you must know what keywords are, but if you don't, worry not. We will be introducing you to keywords today.
In simple words, keywords are the phrases or words that define your content. It's the subject matter of your content. It can also be called "search queries" regarding SEO or search engines. As keywords are phrases, many people use to search for a specific thing they are looking for.
Keywords should be relevant to the search queries that users are making on search engines. As a content creator or an SEO, you should always keep this specific thing in mind. Because you place your keywords smartly, there are higher chances that users will find your content online, which results in good traffic to your website.
We have a little introduction to keywords, and now you know what keywords are. Now the next question is so, what exactly is keyword cannibalization?
So keyword cannibalization is when more than one page of your website ranks in the search engine result page for the same keyword. And this can be a severe issue for the SEO process, and it will deeply harm your ranking on SERP.
The search engine becomes perplexed as a result and attempts to determine which page belongs on the first page regularly.
Keyword cannibalization can affect the click-through rate. When multiple pages are ranking for the exact keywords, the click-through rate will reduce to a great extent. A single page that should be ranking higher on a search engine result page will lower down due to this cannibalization of keywords. Backline juice will be divided among the different pages for the exact keywords on the website. And this can do great harm to your site's ranking.
Some people may think that more web pages are ranking on the first page of Google, so it's not an issue. After all, if more pages are ranking on SERP, they will generate more traffic. But that's not the case, and it can be a severe issue for websites.
So many websites have outdated information or pages that don't serve much of a purpose. It can be lower quality content, some old products, or information regarding those products that are useless. You have updated your information or products on a new page with keywords. As a result, you have new or relevant information that is more useful for search engines and the target audience.
However, both pages have the same keyword, and search engines can sometimes decide to rank both pages on SERP for a specific query. And Google can also give the older page a higher ranking on the result page. As a result, the page receiving the most visitors may no longer be the best or most pertinent.
All the web pages have different conversion rates. As a creator or a website owner, you want the webpage with the best and most updated content to bring you more conversions. If numerous web pages are vying for the exact keyword phrase, the low-converting website may do better in the SERPs than the high-converting page. That directly affects your company's bottom line negatively.
Two pages can create a severe issue for your search engine rankings. Here is how you provide SEO services, and your business website has two pages that rank for the same keyword. It won't be an issue if your website ranks in the top three positions on SERP say 1&2 or 2&3. Still, they are ranking at 6&7 or 10&11. It will be a severe issue. Because even though you have two pages on the first page of Google, none of them is in the top position. Think backlinks and diluted content can be the main issue here. However, if you use all your sources and keywords on a single page, your rankings on SERP will increase, and you will be ranking higher for your rich content and proper keyword optimization.
It's pretty easy and quick to find the problem of Keyword cannibalization. The majority of the time, typing "Domain + keywords" into a search engine will yield the desired results. For example, if you are looking for keyword cannibalization for a hair shampoo and the domain name of your company's website is "haircare.com," you would type "haircare.com," "hair shampoo," and similar permutations.
You will instantly get the results. If your post from a few years back appears on the result page rather than the fresh content you posted, it's a clear case of keyword cannibalization.
Ways in which you can prevent keyword cannibalization are:
It is pretty straightforward and extreme at the same time. But if you have outdated content on your website that serves no purpose to you or users, it is a good idea to delete it. But before doing so, you might have to think about it properly.
Deleting content that is of no use can benefit your website. If the old content is showing up in the search engine before your target webpage, it is serious trouble for your ranking. Deleting it won't cause any harm because you already have an updated or better version of that content for that specific keyword. Deleting content can be the first solution.
You may want to consider merging the content from both pages. While it won't always be the best option, combining materials can make things easier while improving your website's search engine optimization.
If you don't want to delete your content, merging can be a good option for you as you will be able to get traffic to the merged content.
You can permanently eliminate your keywords if you wish to. Although it will be a manual task, manual solutions are typically more prolonged and laborious. But the advantage of this method is that it is straightforward.
You can remove keywords from outdated content, and you can use some other relevant phrases for it. So eliminating keywords might be a good option.
Interlinking is a good SEO practice if your content has links from other sites that can be very beneficial and improve your ranking and connections. Links are essential for search engines. If you connect to another piece of content or website, the linked content may be ranked higher by the search engine. Try expanding or altering your website's internal linking so less effective content links to the material you wish to emphasize and prioritize. You gave search engine signs that the results page (SERP) that the linked material should take precedence. Being successful on SERP is still crucial.
Although keyword cannibalization primarily impacts large websites with many pages, it doesn't mean it won't harm small websites. The major problem with keyword cannibalization is that you usually can't detect it beforehand and will have to deal with its repercussions. However, you can conduct regular website checkups and audits as it makes it easier for you to detect them. Additionally, when you generate fresh content, SERPs research, correct keyword mapping, and an intent-based strategy may assist you in avoiding it. And remember that high-quality content may offset any adverse effects of term cannibalization. So play with your keywords smartly.
Freelance Content Writer, eveIT
Supurna Sinha has been a content writer for three years based out of Kolkata. Her articles focus on balancing informative with SEO needs–but never at the expense of providing an entertaining read.
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