What is keyword cannibalization?

If you optimize your articles for like terms, your rankings might suffer from keyword cannibalization : you ’ ll be ‘ devouring ’ your own chances to rank in Google ! specially when your locate is growing, chances are your content will start competing with itself. here, I ’ ll explain why keyword cannibalism can be damaging to SEO, how you can recognize it and what to do about it .

What is keyword cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization means that you have respective web log posts or articles on your site that can rank for the like search question in Google. Either because the subject they cover is besides similar or because you optimized them for the same keyphrase. If you optimize posts or articles for like search queries, they ’ rhenium eating away at each other ’ south chances to rank. normally, Google will only show 1 or 2 results from the same knowledge domain in the search results for a specific question. If you ’ re a senior high school authority domain, you might get 3 .

Why is keyword cannibalism bad for SEO?

If you cannibalize your own keywords, you ’ re competing with yourself for ranking in Google. Let ’ s say you have two posts on the claim like subject. In that case, Google can ’ thymine spot which article should rank highest for a certain question. In accession, important factors like backlinks and CTR get diluted over several posts alternatively of one. As a result, they ’ ll all credibly both absolute lower. Therefore our SEO psychoanalysis will give a red bullet whenever you optimize a military post for a focus keyword you ’ ve used ahead .
But, keyword cannibalism can besides occur if you optimize posts for focus keywords that are not precisely, but about the like. For example, I wrote two posts about whether or not legibility is a rate component. The post ‘ Does readability rank ? ‘ was optimized for [ does legibility rank ], while the post ‘ Readability ranks ! ‘ was optimized for the focus keyword [ readability ranking factor ]. The posts had a slenderly different angle but were inactive identical exchangeable. For Google, it is hard to figure out which of the two articles is the most crucial.

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Reading: What is keyword cannibalization?

update : Did you see the lapp article ? That ’ mho right, by nowadays we ’ ve fixed this cannibalization publish, but we ’ ve kept this exemplar for the sake of exemplification .

How to recognize it?

Checking whether or not your site suffers from keyword cannibalism is easy. You just do a search for your web site, for any specific keyword you suspect might have multiple results. In my lawsuit, I ’ ll google locate : yoast.com readability ranks. The first two results are the articles I suspected to suffer from cannibalization .

Googling ‘ site : domain.com “ keyword ” will give you an easy answer to the question of whether you ’ ra suffering from keyword cannibalism. You can check your findings by typing the same keyword into Google ( using a secret browser or local search resultant role checker like hypertext transfer protocol : //valentin.app/ ). Which of your pages do you see in the research results, and what status do they rank ? Of course, if two of your pages for the same keyword are ranking # 1 and # 2, that ’ s not a problem. But do you see your articles, for case on positions 7 and 8 ? then it ’ randomness time to sort things out !

Solving keyword cannibalization

We have an across-the-board article written by Joost that explains how to find and fix cannibalization issues on your site. It clearly describes the four steps you should take to solve these kind issues :

  1. Audit your content
  2. Analyze content performance
  3. Decide which ones to keep
  4. Act: merge, delete, redirect
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The first two steps will help you to decide which articles to keep and which ones to merge or delete. In many cases, the acting part will consist of combining and deleting articles, but besides to improve home linking on your site :

Merge or combine articles

If two articles both attract the lapp audience and basically tell the like story, you should combine them. Rewrite the two posts into one amaze, kickass article. That ’ ll help your rankings ( Google loves drawn-out and well-written contentedness ) and solve your keyword cannibalization trouble.

In fact, that ’ s precisely what we did with our two posts on legibility being a rank factor. In the end, you ’ ll delete one of the two articles and adapt the other one. Use the Yoast Duplicate Post plugin to clone one of the posts and work from there. And don ’ thyroxine forget : don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate merely press the edit release ; always make surely to redirect the post you delete to the one you keep ! If that ’ s something you ’ rhenium struggling with, Yoast SEO Premium can help : It makes creating redirects easy as pie !

Improve internal linking

You can help Google to figure out which article is most important, by setting up a decent inner associate structure. You should link from posts that are less important, to posts that are the most important to you. That means, Google can figure out ( by following links ) which ones you want to pop up highest in the search engines .
Your internal associate structure could solve a character of your keyword cannibalism problems. You should think about which article is most important to you and link from the less important long-tail articles, to your most significant article. Read more about how to do this in my article about ranking with basis capacity .

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Keyword cannibalization and online shops

nowadays, if you have an on-line shop, you might be worried about all those intersection pages targeting exchangeable keywords. For on-line shops, it makes common sense that there are multiple pages for products that are alike. It ’ s very important to give site structure some thought in this case. A good scheme is to link back from every product page to your class page – the page you should optimize to rank. And keep an eye on old intersection pages that could potentially cannibalize more crucial pages, and erase and redirect those – Yoast SEO Premium could help make that easier with its handy redirect coach !

Keyword cannibalism will affect growing websites

If your site gets bigger, your chances increase to face keyword cannibalism on your own web site. You ’ ll be writing about your favorite subjects and without flush knowing it, you ’ ll publish articles that end up quite like. That ’ s what happened to me excessively. once in a while, you should check the keywords you want to rank for the most. Make certain to check whether you ’ ra suffer from keyword cannibalism. You ’ ll probably need to make some changes in your locate structure or to rewrite some articles every nowadays and then.

Read more : Keyword inquiry : the ultimate guide »

Marieke van de Rakt
Marieke is the head of scheme at Yoast and laminitis of Yoast SEO academy. She loves coming up with raw ideas and products to make SEO attainable for everyone, and ensure a healthy increase for Yoast !
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