Keyword optimization is most commonly used to boost the visibility and ranking of brand content.
By using the same keywords on various web pages, brands can increase their chances for success on search engine results pages.
After all, the more keywords used, the stronger your optimization efforts will be… right?
This approach could prove to be counterproductive if your posts are targeting the same keywords.
This all-too-common issue can prevent even well-crafted content from gaining visibility.
Keep reading to learn more about what keyword cannibalization is, how it happens, and how to prevent it to improve online visibility.
What Is Keyword Cannibalization?
At its core, keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on your website are competing against each other in organic search results, due to identical or similar keywords used on those pages.
To further explain, if two separate web pages are targeting the same keyword phrase, then they will both appear in search engine results for that query.
The problem with this is that when one page ranks higher than the other, it can lead to confusion by visitors who are presented with multiple pages that contain nearly identical information.
Say you are looking to purchase a new winter jacket.
You want to find the warmest winter jacket in the market, so you type “warm winter jacket” into the search engine of your choice.
The results generated include two web pages from the same brand, both using the same keywords “warm,” “winter,” and “jacket.”
This duplication of keywords will not only confuse you but will also cause you to explore other options.
In addition to this, search engines may be confused by the duplication of keywords on multiple web pages, leading them to consider only one of these pages when indexing your website.
Ultimately, this leads to decreased visibility for the brand with fewer opportunities for organic traffic.
What Is the Difference Between Keyword Cannibalization and Keyword Stuffing?
Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on a website are competing against each other in organic search results, due to identical or similar keywords used on those pages.
Whereas keyword stuffing is the practice of deliberately inserting excessive amounts of a particular keyword into content to increase its likelihood of appearing in search engine rankings.
With keyword stuffing, the goal is to manipulate search engine algorithms by overloading them with one or more specific words or phrases.
This technique typically yields negative results and could lead to penalties from various search engines.
How Can You Avoid Keyword Cannibalization?
The best way to avoid keyword cannibalization is through careful planning and analysis of your website’s content and structure before publishing anything online.
Analyze which keywords you should target with each individual page or blog post so that no two pieces of content are competing against each other.
Additionally, conducting regular content audits will give you a better understanding of what keywords are used most often and where competition between pages may take place.
Redirects and Canonical Tags
You should also consider implementing redirects or canonical tags wherever appropriate.
These tools help ensure that search engines recognize which page should be indexed instead of indexing both (or more) versions at once.
Thus, avoiding any potential confusion or unnecessary competition for a single query.
If re-optimizing posts isn’t enough to resolve keyword cannibalization, it may be time to consider deleting some of the conflicting content.
This will help ensure that each page is unique and properly targeted, thus improving your chances for better visibility on search engine results pages.
However, if both postings generate significant organic traffic and help to bring in potential leads for your business, then this is not the best strategy.
If you have a few posts that are all competing for the same keyword but do not want to resort to deleting any of them – merge them instead!
This will help streamline your content while still providing valuable information.
Leverage Analytical Tools
Using analytics tools such as Google Search Console or Ahrefs Site Explorer to monitor how well each page performs with different targeted keywords over time, allows you to adjust keywords accordingly if any issues arise.
This will help you ensure that the right content is targeted in the right way to maximize organic visibility.
If left unaddressed, keyword cannibalization can negatively impact a brand’s rank on search engine results pages.
Not only does it dampen SEO efforts, but it confuses visitors; causing them to click elsewhere.
However, by implementing careful keyword planning and utilizing techniques like redirects and canonical tags, you can make sure that search engines properly index your web pages.
Content can also be merged or deleted, if necessary, to promote unique and valuable content.
With these strategies in mind, you should have no trouble avoiding keyword cannibalization.