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Keyword Cannibalism: How to Stop Eating Your Own Ranking

    Last Updated on June 1, 2023

    Keyword Cannibalism means that there are different blog posts or pages on your website that can rank for the same search query. This can happen with very similar topics or if you have optimized them for a similar search query.

    Is Your Website Afflicted with Keyword Cannibals?
    How can we prevent keywords from being eaten by other keywords?
    How a Content Hub can Solve Your Keyword Cannibalism Problem
    Expert SEO Tip: Content Hub Creation

    Optimizing posts or articles is a basic part of SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. Be careful however. You may over-optimise. Content optimised for similar search queries may take away each other’s chances of ranking and reduces the authority of each page.

    “Keyword cannibalization happens when you have more than one page targeting your site’s same keyword and intent. One of the two pages affects the other’s ability to rank, and as a result, neither page will perform as well as it should.” Semrush

    Is Your Website Afflicted with Keyword Cannibals?

    Is this happening on your website, too? Test this in Google: site:yourdomain keyword

    Are similar pages on your site ranking #3 and #5 or appear on page one and page two?

    Keyword cannibalism can have very different effects. The same problems do not always occur. However, in general, we can say that the following negative effects occur:

    • Pages have worse and changing rankings for the keyword.
    • Overall, it is more difficult to achieve a good ranking for the keyword with one of the SEO texts.
    • Internal links are spread across multiple pages, so the power of internal links is shared instead of pooled.
    • External links point to both pages, so that power is also shared and thus diluted.

    Even your blogs may be inadvertently cannibalising your keywords. How?

    If there are too many tag words they may be

    • competing with your categories
    • competing with other tags, and can cannibalise the keywords

    eCommerce keyword cannibalism

    Careful! Just as categories and tags can cannibalise your content’s keywords, so can products – and their categories and their tags.

    Why don’t cannibals eat clowns? They taste funny.

    How can we prevent keywords from being eaten by other keywords?

    Merge or combine articles: Improving internal linking

    Your internal linking structure could solve some of your keyword cannibalism problems. Consider which article is most important to you and link from the less important long-tail articles to your most important article.

    If too many products or pages are taking away from your site’s ranking, reduce the number or use of keywords in those products to focus on your product landing page or content hub. Make your keyword ranking very relevant.

    Reduce your sitemap.xml pages so they don’t cannibalize your crawl budget or your site’s ranking for certain keywords. Focus on the pages in your sitemap.xml that are very important and keyword relevant.

    How can a Content Hub Solve Your Keyword Cannibalism Problem

    Lately we’ve been looking into Content Hubs. Content hubs are a great way to solve this problem.

    How to eliminate keyword cannibalism and improve your ranking explained:

    If you have 10 pages about cheesecake, Google may not know which one is the most important. It will list them all. People will visit them all. 100 people may visit them, 10 people for each page. The importance of each page will be the same and your ranking will be diluted.

    Expert SEO Tip: Content Hub Creation

    1. Create a content hub about cheesecake.
    2. Create a teaser for each of the content pages and link them to that page.
    3. Remove the content pages from your sitemap.xml

    Google will now find a page about cheesecake that links to other pages. This page will get every 100 visits from searchers. It will become a relevant and authoritative page.

    Hey! Test This Over a Few Months

    “Each content page COULD be ten different people looking for your cheesecakes in ten different ways.” Bridget Willard, bridgetwillard.com

    That’s a very good point! That’s why we test, test, and test again. What works best for your audience doesn’t necessary work well for someone else’s.

    Thanks for the image goes out to https://unsplash.com/@tamasp!