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There’s a standard false impression that the extra pages you will have focusing on a key phrase, the higher you’ll rank for that key phrase.
After all, the extra pages you will have trumpeting your area of interest, the extra doubtless Google is to choose up in your key phrases and elevate your SERPs rating, proper?
Actually, no. That isn’t true.
In reality, focusing on a selected time period throughout a number of pages nearly at all times has the precise reverse impact. You’ll most likely find yourself doing extra hurt than good to your SEO.
The cause is straightforward: when you will have a number of pages rating for a similar key phrase, you’re really competing with your self.
Consequently, every web page has a decrease CTR, diminished authority, and decrease conversion charges than one consolidated web page could have.
We name this SEO misstep key phrase cannibalization.
What Is Keyword Cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization is so referred to as since you’re “cannibalizing” your personal outcomes – you’re splitting CTR, hyperlinks, content material, and (usually) conversions between two pages that ought to be one.
When you do that, you aren’t exhibiting Google the breadth or depth of your data, and also you aren’t bettering the authority of your website for that question.
Instead, you’re asking Google to weigh your pages in opposition to one another and select which of them it thinks fits the matching key phrases greatest.
For instance, in case your web site sells footwear, and “shoes” is the one key phrase you goal, you’re primarily telling Google that each web page is about “shoes” no matter whether or not they’re climbing footwear, tennis footwear, sneakers, and so on.
6 Negative Effects Keyword Cannibalization Can Have on Your SEO
Sadly, key phrase cannibalization has some doubtlessly disastrous penalties to your SEO. Many folks affected by key phrase cannibalization aren’t even conscious that something’s unsuitable.
They would possibly even be glad that one web page is rating within the fifth and sixth slot for his or her focused key phrase, with out realizing that one authoritative web page would most likely rank increased and convert higher.
The sensible penalties are clear, nonetheless: misplaced website site visitors, queries main to the unsuitable web page, fluctuating SERP rankings, and finally misplaced gross sales.
1. You’re Diminishing the Authority of Your Page
Instead of getting one extremely authoritative web page, you’re splitting your CTR to a number of reasonably related pages.
Essentially, you’ve turned your pages into rivals and now you’re combating for pageviews and SERP ranks.
2. You’re Diluting Your Links & Anchor Text
Backlinks that might have gone to one consolidated supply of knowledge at the moment are being cut up between two (or extra) pages.
Similarly, your anchor textual content and inside hyperlinks are main guests to a number of totally different pages as a substitute of 1 authoritative web page on the topic.
three. Google May Devalue the More Relevant Page
Keywords are one of many primary methods during which we assist Google perceive what our pages are about.
If your whole key phrases are the identical, Google tries to perceive which web page is the perfect match – and in case your content material is just too related, it’d get it unsuitable.
four. You’re Squandering Your Crawl Budget
Your crawl price range is the variety of instances a search engine spider crawls your web site in a given time interval.
Having a number of pages devoted to the identical key phrase leads to the crawling and indexing of pages that aren’t wanted. (Note: small websites most likely gained’t discover a distinction or ever have to fear about their crawl price range, however giant ecommerce websites or distributors with a number of merchandise will discover a distinction.)
5. It’s a Sign of Poor Page Quality
Multiple pages focusing on the identical key phrase tells your customers that your content material might be stretched skinny, and it additionally indicators Google that your content material might not match your key phrases on every web page.
6. Your Conversion Rate Will Suffer
Inevitably certainly one of your pages will convert higher than the remaining.
Instead of directing new guests to that web page, and making it essentially the most authoritative web page doable, you’re as a substitute dropping potential leads after they land on much less related pages.
How to Identify Keyword Cannibalization
Fortunately, when you’ve recognized the issue, fixing key phrase cannibalization is simple.
Identifying key phrase cannibalization is as straightforward as making a key phrase matrix.
Simply create a spreadsheet that lists your whole website’s essential URLs and their related key phrases.
For instance, in case your website sells footwear, then your spreadsheet would possibly appear like this:
Alternatively, you should utilize a key phrase mapping device, which could appear like this:
When you’ve listed out your URLs and their key phrases, run down the listing and search for any duplicate entries.
If you notice any – particularly throughout core pages – you’re most likely affected by key phrase cannibalization.
Now it’s time to repair these pages!
Note that key phrase cannibalization may even happen if the meta data in your title tags appears to goal the identical key phrase, so double-check these too.
If you’re utilizing a rank monitoring device, you may additionally need to take this chance to seek for skinny content material and key phrases mistakenly utilized to the unsuitable web page.
It’s a superb time to give your website slightly TLC.
How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization
How you resolve key phrase cannibalization will depend on the basis of the issue.
More usually than not, the problem is solely certainly one of group, however significantly cussed circumstances might require you to get away the 301s or new touchdown pages.
Here are 5 doable options.
1. Restructure Your Website
The easiest answer is usually to take your most authoritative web page and switch it right into a touchdown web page that hyperlinks to different distinctive variations that fall below the umbrella of your focused key phrases.
If we return to our shoe-product instance, it’d make sense to make “shoes” our canonical supply web page and hyperlink the entire extra particular variations again to it.
2. Create New Landing Pages
Alternatively, you would possibly lack a touchdown web page that consolidates your whole product pages in a single place.
In this case, you’d profit from creating a novel touchdown web page to function your authoritative supply web page and hyperlink to your whole variations from there.
In our instance, we’d create a web page referred to as “hiking shoes” and one other referred to as “sneakers for men.”
three. Consolidate Your Content
If your pages aren’t distinctive sufficient to warrant having a number of pages focusing on the identical key phrase, contemplate combining them into one web page.
This is an opportunity to take two underperforming pages and switch them right into a extra authoritative supply. It might also resolve skinny content material points.
four. Find New Keywords
Finally, if you happen to’re already blessed with extremely various, content-rich pages, and the one factor your web site is affected by is a poorly deliberate key phrase technique, perhaps all you want to do is use new key phrases.
Just ensure your key phrases precisely describe your web page’s content material.
5. Use 301 Redirects
While I typically advise in opposition to utilizing too many 301s (see my listing of the 10 Most Harmful Mobile SEO Mistakes), they could be crucial if you have already got a number of pages rating for a similar phrases.
Using 301s permits you to consolidate your cannibalized content material by linking the entire much less related pages to a single, extra authoritative model.
Mind although that this tactic is appropriate just for pages with related content material and people matching particular key phrase queries.
These 5 options will repair most circumstances of key phrase cannibalization, however if you happen to handle an ecommerce web site, you have to be significantly cautious to notice how your CMS separates merchandise with variable sizes and colours. Some CMS packages create separate pages for each product variation.
If your CMS is organizing merchandise like this, you need to both prohibit duplicate pages from being listed utilizing robots.txt or <meta title=”robots” content material=”noindex”> tags, or you need to use canonical URLs to consolidate hyperlink indicators for the duplicate content material.
Keyword cannibalization is extra prevalent at the moment than ever earlier than.
Ironically, its victims are normally site owners who acknowledge the significance of SEO for his or her enterprise, however whereas they intend to optimize their website, they don’t absolutely perceive how to ‘speak’ Google’s language.
Fortunately, in case your web site is cannibalizing its personal goal key phrases, options aren’t laborious to come by, and the harm isn’t everlasting.
With the correct instruments and a ‘can-do’ perspective, you can provide your SEO a well-deserved enhance.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
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