There’s a common misunderstanding that the more pages you have targeting a keyword, the much better you’ll rank for that keyword.
After all, the more pages you have trumpeting your niche, the most likely Google is to pick up on your keywords and raise your SERPs ranking, best?
Actually, no. That isn’t real.
In fact, targeting a particular term across numerous pages almost always has the exact opposite impact. You’ll most likely wind up doing more damage than good to your SEO.
The reason is simple: when you have several pages ranking for the same keyword, you’re really competing with yourself.
Subsequently, each page has a lower CTR, decreased authority, and lower conversion rates than one consolidated page will have.
We call this SEO error keyword cannibalization
What Is Keyword Cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization is so called due to the fact that you’re “cannibalizing” your own results– you’re splitting CTR, links, content, and (frequently) conversions between 2 pages that ought to be one.
When you do this, you aren’t showing Google the breadth or depth of your knowledge, and you aren’t improving the authority of your website for that question.
Instead, you’re asking Google to weigh your pages against each other and choose which ones it thinks matches the coordinating keywords best.
For example, if your site offers shoes, and “shoes” is the only keyword you target, you’re essentially informing Google that every page has to do with “shoes” despite whether they’re hiking shoes, athletic shoe, sneakers, and so on
6 Unfavorable Impacts Keyword Cannibalization Can Have on Your SEO
Unfortunately, keyword cannibalization has some possibly dreadful effects for your SEO. Many people struggling with keyword cannibalization aren’t even conscious that anything’s wrong.
They might even more than happy that one page is ranking in the fifth and 6th slot for their targeted keyword, without realizing that one authoritative page would probably rank higher and convert much better.
The practical repercussions are clear, nevertheless: lost website traffic, questions causing the wrong page, changing SERP rankings, and eventually lost sales.
Why? Due to the fact that:
1. You’re Reducing the Authority of Your Page
Instead of having one extremely authoritative page, you’re splitting your CTR to multiple reasonably pertinent pages.
Basically, you’ve turned your pages into competitors and now you’re fighting for pageviews and SERP ranks.
2. You’re Diluting Your Links & Anchor Text
Backlinks that might have gone to one combined source of info are now being divided in between 2 (or more) pages.
Likewise, your anchor text and internal links are leading visitors to multiple various pages instead of one reliable page on the subject.
3. Google Might Decrease The Value Of the More Pertinent Page
Keywords are among the main methods which we assist Google understand what our pages have to do with.
If all of your keywords are the exact same, Google tries to comprehend which page is the best fit– and if your material is too similar, it may get it wrong.
4. You’re Misusing Your Crawl Budget
Your crawl spending plan is the number of times an online search engine spider crawls your site in a provided period.
Having actually several pages devoted to the exact same keyword results in the crawling and indexing of pages that aren’t needed. (Note: small websites probably will not notice a distinction or ever need to worry about their crawl budget plan, but big ecommerce websites or suppliers with several products will discover a distinction.)
5. It suggests Poor Page Quality
Several pages targeting the exact same keyword tells your users that your content is probably extended thin, and it also indicates Google that your content may not match your keywords on each page.
6. Your Conversion Rate Will Suffer
Inevitably among your pages will transform much better than the rest.
Instead of directing new visitors to that page, and making it the most reliable page possible, you’re rather losing potential leads when they land on less pertinent pages.
How to Recognize Keyword Cannibalization
Thankfully, when you’ve recognized the issue, fixing keyword cannibalization is easy.
Recognizing keyword cannibalization is as easy as developing a keyword matrix.
Simply create a spreadsheet that lists all of your site’s crucial URLs and their associated keywords.
For instance, if your website sells shoes, then your spreadsheet might look like this:
Additionally, you can utilize a keyword mapping tool, which may appear like this:
When you’ve listed out your URLs and their keywords, diminish the list and look for any duplicate entries.
If you find any– specifically throughout core pages– you’re most likely suffering from keyword cannibalization.
Now it’s time to repair those pages!
Keep in mind that keyword cannibalization can even take place if the meta details in your title tags seems to target the very same keyword, so double-check those too.
If you’re utilizing a rank tracking tool, you might likewise want to take this chance to look for thin content and keywords wrongly used to the wrong page.
It’s a great time to provide your site a little TLC.
How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization
How you resolve keyword cannibalization depends on the root of the problem.
Usually, the problem is merely one of organization, but particularly persistent cases may require you to break out the 301 s or new landing pages.
Here are five possible services.
1. Restructure Your Site
The simplest solution is frequently to take your most reliable page and turn it into a landing page that connects to other distinct variations that fall under the umbrella of your targeted keywords.
If we return to our shoe-product example, it may make good sense to make “shoes” our canonical source page and link all of the more particular variations back to it.
2. Create New Landing Pages
Additionally, you might do not have a landing page that combines all of your product pages in one location.
In this case, you ‘d benefit from creating an unique landing page to work as your reliable source page and link to all of your variations from there.
In our example, we might produce a page called “hiking shoes” and another called “tennis shoes for guys.”
3. Combine Your Material
If your pages aren’t special enough to call for having numerous pages targeting the same keyword, consider integrating them into one page.
This is a chance to take 2 underperforming pages and turn them into a more reliable source. It might also resolve thin content concerns.
4. Discover New Keywords
Lastly, if you’re currently blessed with highly varied, content-rich pages, and the only thing your website is suffering from is an improperly prepared keyword method, possibly all you need to do is find new keywords.
Just make sure your keywords accurately describe your page’s material.
5. Usage 301 Redirects
While I usually recommend against using too many 301 s (see my list of the 10 Most Hazardous Mobile SEO Mistakes), they might be required if you currently have numerous pages ranking for the same terms.
Using 301 s permits you to combine your cannibalized content by linking all of the less appropriate pages to a single, more authoritative variation.
Mind though that this strategy is suitable only for pages with comparable content and those matching specific keyword questions.
These five solutions will repair most cases of keyword cannibalization, however if you manage an ecommerce website, you need to be especially mindful to note how your CMS separates products with variable sizes and colors. Some CMS programs develop separate pages for every single item variation.
If your CMS is arranging items like this, you ought to either restrict duplicate pages from being indexed using robots.txt or tags, or you must use canonical URLs to consolidate link signals for the duplicate material.
Keyword cannibalization is more common today than ever in the past.
Paradoxically, its victims are generally webmasters who recognize the importance of SEO for their company, however while they intend to enhance their website, they do not completely comprehend how to ‘speak’ Google’s language.
Luckily, if your website is cannibalizing its own target keywords, solutions aren’t difficult to come by, and the damage isn’t irreversible.
With the right tools and a ‘can-do’ mindset, you can provide your SEO a well-deserved boost.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots taken by author