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What Is Keyword Cannibalization And How To Fix It

What is Keyword Cannibalization

“Keyword Cannibalization” is when you write multiple articles or blog posts that all contain main key phrases and headings that are also found on other pages and posts on your site.

The problem you might run into if this is the case with your website is that search engines such as Google may struggle to know which page or post is relevant for which particular phrase or phrases. This can therefore be harmful to your website rankings.

It is important to make each page or post specific and relevant for the phrases you are trying to rank for. So, if you find that you have three posts that are all focused on and around a similar topic, and where they have similar main key phrases and headings, you should definitely take action for what I am about to discuss within this post.

How To Avoid Keyword Cannibalization In Future Posts

Before we look to rectify Keyword Cannibalization on posts within your site that need rectifying, let us first look at how you can prevent this in future posts.

Each post should have a main key phrase. It is bad practice to create more than one post that has the same main key phrase. A post can have multiple related key phrases where more than one page or post shares the same sub- key phrases.

An example of this would be if you had a post titled: –

How to learn to play a Fender Guitar

And you also had another post titled: –

Best strings to use for a Fender guitar

Both titles could be on different topics, but it would be easy to cannibalize the key phrase “Fender guitar”. If you mention in other posts the phrase “Fender guitar”, and you link the phrase “Fender guitar” to more than one of these posts, then this would be confusing to the search engines like Google because you are not identifying which page is relevant for the phrase “Fender guitar”. You should stick to one page or post as being relevant for a particular phrase. This will give Google a clear indication of your intention.

How To Fix Keyword Cannibalization On Your Current Posts

If you’ve never heard of, or come across the term, Keyword Cannibalization, it may be possible that your site could be an unknowing victim of this. In an attempt for you to be thorough, you may find that you repeat a lot of the same content across the pages and posts of your site. This is quite a natural thing to do. However, search engines are not natural things, and they try to determine what your page/post is all about, and when you provide the same main keyphrases on 2 or more pages, it confuses the search engines because they are not sure which page is best to serve as the solution to the search phrase.

You don’t need to worry about this though. It is quite a common thing to do. Also, you can fix this problem relatively easily, and you should do this, because it will ultimately help improve your search engine visibility and rank your pages and posts higher in the search engines.

The first step to fixing the issue is to identify Keyword Cannibalization. It’s a simple process. You’ll just need to type your URL into a search engine, followed by the main key phrase for the post. If more than one page from your website appears and a more recent post is below your older posts, this signals that your keywords are used too frequently.

If you’ve found some key phrases that you’ve unintentionally cannibalized, there are a few ways to fix this without having to rewrite everything:

Try to Merge Your Content

If you discover two pages with very similar content, but you don’t want to lose the great stuff you’ve written, then try to merge the two pages into one. This keeps all your links going but means the search engine doesn’t confuse the two.

Remove Some Keywords

Is it possible to change the keyword you’ve used? If you can switch out a keyword in one of your pages for something similar, then this could fix the issue.

Changing Internal Linking

Search engines place keywords that are linked to other pages higher in the ranking, assuming that the fact that you’ve linked them means that they’re important. Try changing your internal links to other important words, refocusing the search engine while maintaining your post.

Tracking Backlinks

The more external links that direct traffic to your page, the higher it will rank. If your keywords are pulling back to old backlinks, you may simply need to remove these links from older posts and advertise your new ones. Eventually your site will gain organic backlinks to newer posts. However, if you used the same keywords in an older post that has already generated those backlinks, you will need to take these away to make way for your new page.

Deleting Content

It might not be the ideal solution every time but if you have content which is a few years old, it may not be relevant anymore. So, if that’s a culprit of Keyword Cannibalization, then you could consider removing it altogether to boost your newer pages.

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