Is your site losing visitors?
Are you seeing a decrease in organic traffic?
Is your keyword ranking slipping?
Despite your best efforts, you are unable to access page #1with new content.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a victim of keyword cannibalism.
What is “SEO Cannibalization” and how does it work?
How to tell if keyword cannibalization is affecting your website and How to deal with keyword cannibalism.
This is what you will understand today in my blog post.
Keyword cannibalization (also known as content cannibalization) is an often-overlooked aspect of keyword research and keyword mapping that, if done incorrectly, can have a significant influence on your website’s traffic.
It was a crisis situation, but wailing never helps, so I did what any optimist blogger would do: I did what any optimist blogger would do.
I started working on the issue!
It took months of work to eventually get my website out of keyword cannibalization, and this guide is a representation of all the work I’ve put in to get my website out of keyword cannibalization.
This is a rare occurrence that could occur to anyone who has a website and has never focused on keyword mapping or creating logical internal linkages, or it could occur due to unforeseen circumstances.
Let’s delve deeper into this topic today and learn something new.
What is Keyword Cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization is an SEO problem that arises when your website’s pages compete for the same or related keywords. This perplexes the search engine, which tries to figure out which of the pages should be on the first page on a regular basis.
It decreases the ranking of all pages due to a lack of clear direction, and none of them rank for the goal term.
When a webmaster develops many pages addressing the same topic, this is another major cause of keyword cannibalism. This may appear to work at first, but as search evolves, those various pages end up serving the same searcher intent.
The majority of the time, this happens accidentally, but it has a significant impact on traffic and ranking. Because of keyword cannibalism, I’ve seen a whole cluster of pages (category) lose their rating.
What I found most intriguing is that removing keyword cannibalism boosted the rating of the entire category of pages.
I tried this hypothesis on a few websites, and every time the rival pages were found and necessary action was done, the overall keyword ranking and hence traffic improved significantly.
Cannibalization is a very uncommon SEO problem that many webmasters are unaware of. If your website is affected, discovering and resolving the problem would be extremely beneficial.
What causes cannibalization?
- Creating several pages for the same keyword:
Many bloggers and content marketers wind up developing multiple sites for the same or related keywords in the hopes that one of them will rank. This is a long-standing practice that you should avoid. You may instead write a long-form post to target several keywords.
- Internal linking issues:
Another major source of content cannibalization is a lack of internal linking. Bloggers frequently use the same “Keyword” to link to multiple pages in separate articles. This is a surefire technique to perplex search engine bots, resulting in content cannibalism. This is frequently caused by backlinks with incorrect anchor text.
- Changing search intent:
Changing search intent is another crucial consideration when attempting to discover and correct KW cannibalization. The algorithm for search engines is always changing, and what works today may not work tomorrow. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the search intent of your targeted keywords and be prepared to adjust it as time and needs change.
How to identify keyword cannibalization?
The first thing you should do is see if cannibalization is affecting your website. This suggests that there are multiple internal pages competing for the same term.
There are several ways to detect this, so let’s have a look at some of the tools and approaches which can assist you spot cannibalized web pages on any site.
Internal keyword cannibalization can be detected using SEMrush, a popular SEO tool. This tool is automated and connected with their position tracking technology.
Here’s how to utilize the keyword cannibalization tool in SEMrush:
- Login into the SEMrush.
- In the Position Checker, enter your website.
- Enter the keywords you’d want to track or suspect of cannibalism.
- Click Cannibalization in the position tracking dashboard to see all the keywords and sites that are causing internal SEO cannibalization.
- Cannibalization explorer in data studio
This Google data studio cannibalization explorer, designed by Hannah from StrategIQ, pulls data from the Google search console. This is one of the best free options for detecting cannibalism, and it’s geared toward data nerds.
SEOTesting is a lesser-known SEO tool that interprets data from Google’s search dashboard. The “Cannibalization” option in SEOTesting allows you to see which pages are being cannibalized.
Here’s how to make advantage of it:
- Create an SEOTesting account.
- Please include your website.
- Join Google’s search console.
- Select Reports > Cannibalism Report.
- Request a report by clicking here.
You will receive an email once your report is complete.
Jetoctopus is a cloud-based web crawler with a “Cannibalization report” feature. This is yet another simple to use tool, and here’s how to use it:
- Create a Jetoctopus account.
- Please include your website.
- Join Google’s search console.
- You can get a cannibalization report under GSC keywords > Cannibalization.
Another popular SEO tool is Ahrefs, which allows you to determine if multiple pages are attempting to rank for the same phrase. You can build a fast report of all pages affected by Keyword cannibalization using the Google document they give. Ahrefs is ideal for webmasters & SEO firms looking to determine if a website has been punished due to cannibalization.
Google search console:
To diagnose the cannibalization problem, you could use Google search console.
- Google Search Console Login
- Click Performance > Search results after selecting your domain.
- Look for keywords that may be influenced by cannibalization.
- When you click on pages, a list of pages that are attempting to rank for the common keyword will appear.
- Based on your study, you may now select how to proceed with resolving this problem.
How to fix the cannibalized content issues for the seo?
The real job begins once you have a list of pages that are fighting for the same keywords.
- Fix the most evident cannibalized content first. In most cases, you’ll notice an immediate change in general search engine ranking and search traffic.
- Prepare for a spike in traffic and rankings over the next few days (while you improve your website), but if you do it right, you’ll see tremendous benefits in months.
You have a couple options at this point to recover from the cannibalization SEO penalty.
Fixing on page seo:
Often fixing on page SEO items such as:
- Meta title
- Meta description
- Remove Keyword
- Changing search intent
Allows you to send a clear statement to the search engines about your target keywords. Internal links are important, and I’ll go over them in detail in the next section.
This is also an excellent moment to start using on-page SEO tools like SEMRush writing assistance, Frase, or other comparable tools to optimize your pages using real-world SEO data.
Updating the internal links:
Internal linking structure is often the cause of keyword cannibalization. Webmasters frequently connect two separate pages with the same anchor text, and this is by far one of the most common causes of cannibalization on older websites. You could fix the internal anchor texts of two cannibalized pages by going through all of their internal connections.
This plugin also aids in the speedy update of anchor text and link manipulation. In any case, the WP Link Status Pro plugin will be extremely useful in identifying and correcting anchor text issues.
This is possibly the quickest solution to the problem of cannibalized content. You can eliminate one of the pages that does not fulfill the objective once you’ve discovered pages that are attempting to rank for the same keyword.
You have two alternatives after deleting the page:
- Set the delete page’s code to 404 or 410, and utilize Google’s URL removal tool to remove the page from the web index.
- Change the status code from 404 to 410 and 301 redirect it to the page you choose as the winner after 48 hours (once the page is removed from web-index).
- Redirect the deleted content to the winning page using a 301 redirect.
Merging two content:
The search evolves and changes, and it makes more sense to combine two articles into one, as a quick google search will indicate.
Consider two separate articles that both ranked on the first page for different search intents for a long time.
However, we began to see a decrease in traffic on both of them, and a quick Google search revealed that competitors are combining the two themes into a single page. Additionally, Google has begun to prioritize a single article (covering both intents) above two independent ones.
- Both pages should have a page SEO score (page authority).
- Compare and contrast organic traffic to both pages. Monster insights help me get things done faster.
- Choose the page you wish to preserve and copy the material from the others to it.
- Remove the other page and replace it with the one you want to preserve. It is preferable to redirect utilizing the jump link strategy, as this will increase your ranking chances.
- All internal links should be fixed.
- Analyze the outcomes
Another clever solution to the cannibalization problem. When two or more pages are cannibalized, but you don’t want to delete or merge them, this is handy. In that situation, you can choose one page to rank and set the canonical tag to the target page from other sites. The canonical tag feature is available in all prominent WordPress SEO plugins, such as Yoast SEO.
How not to be affected by content cannibalization in future?
- While you’re fixing the existing cannibalization problem, you should also consider future content.
- Make sure your topic and keyword choices are well-organized.
- To avoid duplicate and cannibalized content, keyword mapping and clustering will be your superweapons.
- Regular content audits ensure that you get rid of low-quality and obsolete content.
- For your website’s structure, use breadcrumbs and the hub-spoke concept.
After seeing the detrimental effects of cannibalized material, you should become more data-driven in your topic choices.
So, I hope this tutorial has assisted you in identifying and resolving the cannibalization problem on your website. If you have any further questions, please post them in the comments area below.