When Google crawls your site, it searches for the most relevant piece of content that seems to be the most valuable for the query. Therefore, you should be optimizing each page on your website for a unique keyword or keyword phrase. If you try to optimize multiple pages on your site for the same search term, Google won’t know which page is most relevant. If you expect this strategy to help you crawl up the search engine, you can actually damage your chances in the search engine and miss other opportunities. Google will only show 1-2 results from the same domain in the search engine results for a specific query. If you optimize your pages and blogs for similar terms, you will be damaging your chances to rank in Google. This term is called “keyword cannibalization,” and it is detrimental for your SEO.
Why is keyword cannibalization a problem for SEO?
If you cannibalize your keywords, then you are competing with yourself in search engines. If you have two pages or posts covering the same topic, Google won’t be able to distinguish which article should be ranked highest for a specific query. This may accidentally lead to Google devaluing your more relevant page for the topic. When you cannibalize a particular keyword or topic, both page’s click-through rates (CTR) drop, page authority diminishes, and conversion rates reduce. Also, keyword cannibalization results in diluting anchor texts and links when backlinks are pointing to two moderately relevant page instead of to one authoritative page Having one consolidated webpage improves your chances of ranking higher for the search terms, so you don’t become your own competitor.
How do you identify keyword cannibalization?
The first step is becoming aware of this SEO issue. Go to Google and type: ‘site:domain.com “keyword” to get an easy answer. Luckily, fixing keyword cannibalization isn’t difficult! You will need to create a matrix using a spreadsheet that lists all of your website’s URLs with the focus search term. Once you have created your list, take a look at the list and look for duplicates and similar terms. If you spot any similarities, especially across your main pages, you are most likely suffering from keyword cannibalization. Double check your title tags as well!
How do we fix it?
Depending on the cause of the problem, you will either need to reorganize your website or use 301 redirects and create new landing pages. Restructuring your website and consolidating your content is often the simplest solution. If you have pages that are similar enough that Google may confuse them, consider combining them into one page. This can turn two underperforming pages into one page with more authority that gets more traffic. Remember to create 301 redirects for any page URLs that you remove and ensure they point to your main page. This may even solve and thin content issues that you may be facing.
Keep searching for new keyword opportunities.
Invest time in your keyword strategy, and this may be all you need to do. Diversify your website and be more specific. If you want to keep both similar pages separate, then use canonical URLs. Canonical URLs will tell Google which content to crawl. If you don’t use these, Google will make a choice for you, which means your more relevant page may be marked as duplicate content, and therefore crawled less.
It is essential to understand how to speak Google’s language. SEO is vital for your pet sitting and dog walking business. You may be unintentionally hurting your SEO by producing content that is too similar. Set a goal for each page and blog post on your website to ensure that they are unique in Google’s eyes. Chances are, if you have a small website with few blog posts, you are probably not affected. However, as your site gets bigger and your blog grows, be sure to check past blogs to avoid keyword cannibalization. Give your website an SEO boost by checking for cannibalizing target keywords and implementing the above fixes.
Erika Godwin is the President of Barketing Solutions and the Co-Founder and CMO of ProPet Software, an industry-leading kennel management software. Erika has over 8 years of experience with WordPress and graduated from Elmira College in 2009 with a BS, Business Administration- Marketing and Management.