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Keyword Cannibalization: Is Your Website Competing Against Itself?

5.5 min read...

Is your website competing against itself? How does Google know to promote your product page rather than your blog? If you are unsure if this is happening to you or if your team wants to avoid this in the future, check out these key identifiers and valuable tips.

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization often goes undetected and creates a situation where you are competing with yourself and others when it comes to Google rankings.

Google is competitive, as such are humans, and understands the value of ranking and performing above your competition.

A company's primary focus is to excel above others, given the competitive nature of the industry, but what if your biggest competition is yourself?

Check out this example from Grace Themes:

Say you have a sports item website where you sell footballs, sports jerseys, baseball gloves, and all other sports-related items. You also run a sports discussion forum, a blog section that you regularly update with the latest news about, say the world cup and the hottest topics on sports.

As you can see, there are two different pages that could potentially rank for the same keywords.

In this case, they are trying to rank for different sports players, products, or services. 

They should be going after long-tail keywords (ie: any search terms or phrases over 4-5 words) to help differentiate these pages. If this situation is similar to your own, your web pages could be competing against each other without you knowing it. 

 

Why is Keyword Cannibalization bad for SEO?

When targeting keywords on multiple pages, some may think it's a good strategy for getting the attention of search engines and letting them know you are a specialist.

However, it can and most likely will backfire on you, resulting in a negative impact on your SEO strategy.

PageRank

SEO is one of the most talked about performance indicators for improvement. If you have been in marketing for some time, you would know how vital PageRank is on Google.

However, since late 2020, PageRank is barely mentioned.

This doesn't mean that it is no longer important, just that it is no longer a public-facing metric. When SEOs can no longer measure something, they eventually stop talking about it.

Calculating PageRank

We can simplify the PageRank algorithm to describe it as a way for the importance of a webpage to be measured by analyzing the quantity and quality of the links that point to it.

PageRank was a linear representation of a logarithmic scale of between 0 and 10 that was displayed on the PageRank toolbar. 

A PageRank score of 0 is typically a low-quality website, whereas a score of 10 would represent only the most authoritative sites on the web. 

Most importantly, if a webpage is linked by another highly ranked webpage then that link in return is deemed important. 

By improving your inbound links on the homepage or elsewhere on your site, your authority will increase because these links act as third-party indicators to Google that your site has priority. Internal links create a hierarchy of information.

Remove instances of these keywords from the pages that shouldn’t be ranking to give authority back to the page that should.

The more you minimize internal conflict between the homepage and internal pages with keyword cannibalization, the more you increase your chance of better ranking.

​How to identify Keyword Cannibilation? 

Let's take a deep dive into what could be causing your SEO problems.

First, we need to start with a Site Search which will be the catalyst of a deeper analysis. 

Site Search

This is a helpful tool to mimic a user's approach to your website.

You can begin by typing in a few keywords to determine which pages rank higher in the search algorithm.

Never done a Site search before? Check this out.

 

This is a useful tool to ensure consistency between Google’s index and your site map, which allows you to remove any old or unwanted pages from appearing in the Google search.

Start a Keyword Bank

Take all your pages, and all the divisions (blog, homepage, product page, FAQs) and create a word bank of all the words you use for SEO. 

Finding synonyms, antonyms, and anything that can be grouped together. Here is where your organization continues!

Once you have these words down, we want to determine new words and categories that can be used to help decipher different pages for ranking.

 

Have the more important pages on your list put in the category to use more common terms and higher-ranked specific longtail keywords.

The other pages can be banked with newer keywords or less competitive phrases to keep their function neutral. 

Doing this step will help direct more traffic to your site.

Keyword mapping will keep content separated in Google’s search result algorithm and all your pages will get equal representation without competing with one another.

If you are dedicated to improving your SEO and site mapping, you should consider a content audit

Solutions

As sprinkled throughout this article, there are a few areas you can tackle right now to rearrange content to better suit your SEO efforts and rank sufficiently. 

  1. Remove instances of the keyword from the pages that shouldn’t be ranking to give authority back to the page that should.
  2. Merge site pages together when content for a similar topic is split over multiple pages.
  3. Keeps parts of the website dedicated to either products or blogs, and have other parts perform their own functions.
  4. Use longtail keywords to distinguish pages and have a better chance of ranking. 
  5. Transfer the content of your most significant internal site page to the homepage. 
  6. Start a keyword bank to determine the overuse of words on less valuable pages. 
  7. Utilize 301 directs where you can if two pages share similar content. 

 

If you believe your website needs a redesign based on the information above, contact our team today.

Blue Archer will help solve your SEO problems and offer a profitable solution. 

 

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