How Does Keyword Cannibalization Impact SEO?

  • October 24, 2018
  • SEO


You may have heard a lot about keyword cannibalization affecting your rankings, and thus website results. In fact, Google and SEO services in Bangalore have always warned us about avoiding such cannibalization and optimizing each page for a unique keyword, while adding unique title tags and meta descriptions.

But, the truth is that while keyword cannibalization was earlier seen as a big issue, today it doesn’t seem to be as harmful. There was a time when keyword cannibalization was used as a black hat SEO tactic. This was the time when Google had difficulties in finding out the most relevant page for a particular keyword. But now, times have changed. Google has evolved and it now has smarter algorithms which can help it to choose and rank the relevant page for a specific keyword. Now, Google crawls all the web pages where it sees lots of different pages that have relevant content for the same keyword. It then chooses between those pages and shows only the page that is accurate. This is now possible because Google can now understand the content of each page, the images available on the pages, the context, and everything else. Now, Google is able to find out the difference between every two pages, which is why it can show the most relevant results; even if that means to show two pages from the same domain for the same keyword.

Patrick Stox, SEO specialist for IBM, confirms that keyword cannibalization is no more a threat, and is in fact, more of an opportunity. He says that if pages targeting for a single keyword are strong and bring different value for the same keyword, keyword cannibalization can prove to be a great SEO opportunity because it can boost your CTR, grow search visibility, and drive in more traffic. With keyword cannibalization, you can take up more space through each ranking position for the pages featured in SERPs from the same domain, which means an increase in overall search visibility, thus bringing in more visitors to your site.

However, this does not mean that keyword cannibalization is no issue at all. Although Google is smart enough to identify the most relevant page, which means no direct effect in rankings, but it definitely affects the opportunity for you to rank for other keywords. You are, thus, lowering your chances to attract a wider audience. Moreover, if you have weak pages ranking for the same keyword, Google can dilute the power of all those pages and rank your competitor instead!

So, just like everything else, keyword cannibalization also has its own pros and cons; so it is for you to decide which side of the coin you bet on. If you are on the side of the coin where you wish to avoid and fix keyword cannibalization, here are a few tips that may help.

  • Optimize all your articles to increase their chances to rank by making a difference between them and avoiding duplicate content.
  • Move content from one article to another and create a 301 redirect so that you don’t lose out on any traffic and links.
  • Combine the information from all similar pages and create a single piece of article that is stronger and more valuable.
  • De-optimize the pages that you don’t want to rank for by removing the keywords and replacing them with different words.
  • Eliminate keywords from the links or anchor text for pages that you don’t want to rank for.
  • Add canonical tags to guide Google on which pages you prefer to rank from the list of pages that are ranking for the same keyword.
  • If an article is outdated and is outranking a more accurate piece of content, remove it and redirect it to the new page.

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