Keyword Cannibalization is one of the SEO problems that occurs when more than one page of your website is trying to rank for the same or similar keywords. This confuses the search engine and periodically tries to understand which pages should rank on the first page.
In the absence of a clear trend, it reduces the ranking of all pages and none of them rank for the target keyword.
Another common reason for keyword cannibalization is when a webmaster creates multiple pages targeting the same topic. This might work at first, but as the search evolves, these different pages end up serving the same search goal.
Most of the time, this happens unintentionally, but the impact on traffic and rating is severe.
Cannibalism is a rare SEO problem that many webmasters are not aware of. If your website is affected by it, identifying and fixing this problem would do wonders for your website traffic.
Causes of Cannibalization
- Creating multiple pages targeting the same keyword:
Many bloggers and content marketers end up creating many pages targeting the same or similar keywords in the hope that one of them will be ranked. This is an old practice now and something to be avoided. Alternatively, you can create a long article to target a group of keywords.
- Improper internal linking:
This is another more common root cause for cannibalized content. Bloggers sometimes use the same “keyword” in different posts to link to different pages. This is a sure-fire way to confuse search engine bots and thus lead to content cannibalization.
This is often due to backlinks containing incorrect anchor text.
- Changing search intent:
This is another important aspect to consider when attempting to define and correct keyword cannibalization. The search engine algorithm is constantly evolving and what works today may not work tomorrow.
It is a good idea to keep an eye on your keyword focus search intent and be prepared to refine it over time and changing needs.
Fixing of Cannibalization
- Fix On-Page SEO:
Fix on-page SEO stuff:
- Meta Title
- Meta Description
- Remove Keyword
- Changing Search Intent
It helps in giving a clear message to the search engine about the target keywords and thus, internal linking plays an important role.
- Update Internal Links:
Oftentimes, keyword cannibalization is due to a poor internal linking structure. It is common to see a webmaster linking two different pages with the same anchor text, and this is by far one of the common reasons for cannibalizing old sites. Therefore, to fix this, browse through all the internal links from two cannibalized pages and correct the internal anchor texts.
- Delete Content:
This is probably the fastest way to fix the cannibalized content issue. Once you have identified which pages are trying to rank for the same keyword, you can remove one that does not serve that purpose.
- Merge Two Content:
A quick Google search revealed that competitors are creating a single page that answers both topics in one topic. Also, Google has started evaluating one article (covering both intents) in two separate articles.
This is how the search for this keyword/topic has evolved and the best course of action is to merge the two into one thus meeting the search engine goal as well.
- Canonical Redirection:
This is another smart way to solve the problem of cannibalism. This is useful when two or more pages are broken up, but you don’t want to delete or merge them. In this case, you can choose which page you want to arrange, and from other pages, set the canonical tag on the landing page.