Keywords Cannibalization: Why to Avoid It and How to Do It?

Several factors can negatively influence natural referencing. Among them is Keywords cannibalization (SEO). Due to improper use of keywords, especially too similar use of the same keyword, it can harm the positioning of pages. What is this phenomenon, its impacts, and how to avoid it? Here's what you need to know about keyword cannibalization.

What is keyword cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is defined as a competition problem between several pages of a website. The same keywords are used on multiple pages of the site or for the same theme. The pages will then compete with each other, leading to a referencing issue.

What are the impacts of keyword cannibalization?

A devaluation of pages

When several pages target the same expressions or keywords, search engines judge which one is the most important and devalue the others. And it's not the one that could convert better or that the company wanted to promote.

This uncertainty led by cannibalization can also lead search engines to choose results from competitors because they appear more reliable and relevant.

A decreased authority

Because of SEO cannibalization, the desired organic traffic on the quality page is reduced. Since there's a chance that less performing pages will rank higher in search results (SERP), the CTR is divided, and the company competes with itself. It deprives itself of creating strong legitimacy on the subject and positioning itself on less relevant URLs.

Also, cannibalization dilutes the power of anchor texts and links.

A drop in conversions

When cannibalizing pages are better positioned than quality pages, there is a risk of losing potential prospects. Internet users arrive on less relevant pages that convert less or not at all.

It is essential that prospects land on the most relevant and optimized pages to perform the desired conversion actions.

A decrease in site notoriety

Having multiple content on the same subject without covering it in-depth can reduce the authority and trust of Internet users in the website's expertise.

Not finding the information they are looking for, visitors are more likely to leave the website rather than stay and navigate on it. The bounce rate is then likely to increase.

5 steps to reduce keyword cannibalization

Once keyword cannibalization is identified, here are some tips to try to combat it.

  • Rework content that cannibalizes itself

The uniqueness of the content is important to avoid keyword cannibalization. Each page should focus on a specific search intent and term.

If they cannibalize each other, it is advisable to start by reworking the content. This is done at several levels:

The search intent of the keyword. There are four: informational, navigational, transactional, commercial. You need to analyze the intent behind the content and adapt it to the subject. This will help better target the type of publication to create and reduce the risk of cannibalization. Queries are thus declined according to search intent.

Work on the semantic universe of keywords: it is advisable to use variants, synonyms, related expressions not to opt for the same keyword on each page. Also, consider exploiting the lexical field to avoid cannibalization.

  • Merge similar pages

When pages are not unique enough to differentiate themselves from each other, it is advisable to combine them into a single content. This content then becomes more complete, offers greater added value to visitors, and is more likely to have authority on the subject.

In this case, don't forget to redirect the old content to the new one to avoid losing traffic.

  • Redirect cannibalized pages

It is possible to use 301 redirects to link less relevant pages to the desired page. For this, analyze which URL has the highest authority, the positioned keywords, and the volume of incoming links.

These redirects allow you to permanently redirect

  • Review the internal linking structure

Reworking the internal linking structure can help solve cannibalization problems. This is especially the case when there is an anchor text that uses an exact keyword pointing to different pages. It is necessary to ensure that the internal links are relevant. It is possible to change or delete them.

  • Use the canonical tag

The canonical tag helps prevent cannibalization and duplicate content issues. It indicates to search engines which page to prioritize and position in the SERPs.

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