An effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is one that makes your website’s relevant pages visible to the right audience. This can be done through a number of on page SEO services, such as on-page optimization, a content optimization strategy and working with content marketing experts to get you on the right page. Done right, and you’ll have the right page climbing the rankings to get you the relevant traffic you need.
But when dealing with strategies like SEO writing services, one thing you should know when working with content marketing experts is the steps they take to prevent keyword cannibalization. For example, suppose you don’t have an on page SEO checklist or a comprehensive content optimization strategy. In that case, you may have pages that overlap, and you’ll find that your own pages compete with each other – neither of which will bring the results you expect.
That’s why, when choosing the content marketing experts to work with, you should know the on page SEO services they use and the website content management steps they take to prevent cannibalization on search engine results pages (SERPs).
What Is Keyword Cannibalization?
So what is keyword cannibalization? To put it simply, it’s an effect that could happen on your website when you have multiple blog posts or pages that rank for the same keyword. You might think this is a good thing because your web pages take up more real estate on search engine results pages, but it’s not.
Search engines like Google want to provide users with relevant results for their queries. But if your pages are both trying to rank for the top spot of a keyword search, you’ll find that they’re competing with each other. As a result, rather than one page getting a high authority domain for a keyword, you’ll have two pages eating up that authority as they compete for the top position.
How Does Keyword Cannibalization Affect My SEO Strategy?
Let’s say that you have two pages that are optimized for the same keyword. Even if they’re under the same website and check all the boxes of your on page SEO checklist, these pages are essentially competing with each other. When Google’s crawlers index your site, the algorithm can’t really determine which page should be displayed for a keyword, so it ends up showing both.
Also, consider the effect cannibalization has on users. Factors like bounce rate, clickthrough rates, conversion rate optimization (CRO) and backlinks can have an impact on your SEO rankings. So, rather than directing users to the most relevant page on your site to gain all those numbers, you end up splitting them between two pages.
One way of looking at it is how two pages can bring down each others’ technical SEO performance not only because of keywords but also intent. Suppose you have content popping up for the same keywords, and both intend to reach out to users in the earlier stages of their buying experience. In that case, each page may be hindering the other’s ability to rank higher.
After identifying keyword cannibalization in your content gap analysis, it’s important to take steps to stop your pages from competing. Some of the negative effects that can happen include:
• Minimizing the authority of your page. We’ve already discussed the importance of authority in your digital marketing strategy. When you have a dedicated page on a subject, you can establish that one page is an authority page that’s more likely to top the SERPs. But when there’s an instance of keyword cannibalization, you’re essentially splitting your click-through rate between two pages.
• You’re diluting your users’ experience. It’s always best to give users the information they’re looking for with as few clicks as possible. Rather than having everything they need for the topic on one page, your website requires them to look at multiple pages.
• Google can devalue the wrong page. You might have intended one page to stand out more than the other. But because of cannibalization, Google’s algorithm has to decide which one is best. And there’s a possibility that Google could choose the wrong page.
• Reduces value and quality on your page. Search engines like Google want to provide useful information to their users. If it feels like more than one page is ranking for a certain keyword, then you might not have a lot of content about your niche.
Spotting the Risks of Keyword Cannibalization and How To Prevent It
Identifying keyword cannibalization is easy with a search engine like Google. To perform a quick content gap analysis, type “site:<your website> <keyword phrase>” on your search bar. It should show you the list of pages ranking for those keywords. If you’re working with experienced content marketing experts and digital marketing professionals, they can take steps to prevent two pages from trying to rank for the same keywords. Webmasters can add this to their on page SEO checklist by checking their website for cannibalization through Google Search Console.
Finding more than one of your pages for a keyword search result isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If your product or service falls in the same niche or industry, it’s common for more than one page to pop up. For instance, roof inspections and roof maintenance are different types of services, but service providers may provide both, and their scope can overlap in some areas.
In this case, cannibalization isn’t necessarily bad as long as one is clearly favored over the other in search results. But if you find that both pages are on the same search result and are ranking low, that’s a sign of keyword cannibalization.
Thrive’s Effective On Page SEO Services That Prevent Keyword Cannibalization
At Thrive, we take steps to ensure your website isn’t hindering its own potential to rank higher on search engine results. Whether it’s our SEO writing services, CRO audit services or content marketing services, we’re careful to avoid keyword cannibalization from happening.
After identifying keyword cannibalization on prospective clients with a thorough website audit, identify the issue and recommend the necessary solution to minimize cannibalization without sacrificing the visits and user count already accumulated from both pages.
Performing a Content Audit
Part of content website management is ensuring all your product and service pages as well as your blogs and articles aren’t competing with each other. During a content audit, we perform a content gap analysis and, using tools like Google Search Console, look at all your pages and see if there is duplicate content or instances where two pages are similar and potentially at risk of keyword cannibalization.
From your content audit, we can recommend a number of solutions. Usually, resolving instances of keyword cannibalization means adding the following on-page optimization strategies to your website content management:
• Merging pages. If two similar pages are saying pretty much the same thing, it might be best to put the content into one larger page. This means taking the best content then adding the additional information it didn’t originally provide but appears in the other one.
• Redirect. Internal linking and previous link building strategies may already be pointing to both pages, so it might be difficult to merge. In this case, you could opt to keep the link to one of the pages, but redirect it towards the page you keep.
• Fixing your internal links. When crawlers index your website, internal linking can give Google a good idea which pages are more important than others. If both pages are linked equally by other pages, then it can be difficult to determine which one is more important.
• Deleting outdated content. One possible reason for duplicate content is because the older article talks about older, outdated content, while the newer page is the more updated version. Depending on factors like traffic, we could opt to delete the one with outdated content, or we can revamp the stronger link to have more updated content.
Check Your Historic Rankings
Aside from a quick Google search, we can also use keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to identify keyword cannibalization. Based on your ranking keywords, your content, and its history, you can start to tell if a page isn’t ranking because it’s in competition with another page.
Not all results on Google may necessarily be a sign of cannibalization, which is why ranking history is a more accurate way of detecting an issue in your content optimization strategy. Part of our website content management is regularly checking your website for potential content issues.
Let Thrive Protect Your Website From Keyword Cannibalization
When hiring SEO writing services or looking to build your content optimization strategy, you need to consider the effect that keywords on one page will have on the rest of your website. At Thrive, our on page SEO services like content writing services and CRO audit services are designed to boost your website’s visibility on search engines, and then means taking steps to avoid instances like keyword cannibalization.
That’s why you need the content marketing services of content marketing experts who know how to handle your website content and ensure each page is competitive with other websites – and not your own pages.
Get in touch with Thrive today to receive a free website audit and CRO audit to learn more about the services that can boost your website’s performance.