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When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), keyword cannibalization can be a serious problem.

At its core, keyword cannibalization happens when multiple pages on the same website compete for the same keyword, resulting in either reduced visibility or drastically split rankings. This issue can occur due to poor planning, lack of coordination among teams, or similar issues - but whatever the cause, it can have a tremendous negative effect on a website's performance.

By understanding how and why this occurs, as well as learning how to identify and eliminate it, you can ensure that your SEO efforts are as effective as possible.

In this guide, we’re going to walk through the process of identifying and eliminating keyword cannibalization in detail, helping you streamline your SEO strategy, boost your organic traffic, and rank higher on search engines for the long term.

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What is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is a dangerous game to play when it comes to optimized and effective SEO. It occurs when multiple pages on your website all target the same keyword, leading search engines to become confused about which page should rank for a particular keyword. This can have dire consequences, resulting in lowered rankings and reduced organic traffic to your site.

The first step to avoiding keyword cannibalization is to ensure your website has clear messaging and a specific purpose. Each page should serve a clear goal, with the contents of that page helping further that overall objective. Once you've mapped out the intended message or subject matter, only then can you begin to identify which keywords are best suited to each page.

Doing this helps ensure that each page stands out as its own distinct entity and eliminates any potential clashing between various pieces of content on the same domain.

Why is Keyword Cannibalization Bad?

Keyword cannibalization confuses search engines, making it difficult to know which page should be ranked for a particular keyword. Search algorithms typically assign one page to each specific query based on intent, yet this is impossible with multiple pages targeting the same keyword or topic. This renders both “cannibalized” pages invisible, as neither will show up in search engine results pages with the desired impact and authority.

Even when users manage to stumble upon such conflicted pages, they may have difficulty identifying the right page that answers their question. While some may give up at this point and move on, others could wind up going through every single page trying to decide which one best suits their needs - a process that’s clearly inefficient and time-consuming.

All things considered, keyword cannibalization can be incredibly detrimental to any website; it reduces visibility, diminishes the user experience, and, most importantly, confuses search engines. By understanding exactly how keyword cannibalization works and taking steps to avoid it, website owners can ensure their sites remain competitive in the rapidly changing world of SEO.Is-Inbound-Marketing-Right-for-your-Business-Checklist

How Can You Identify Keyword Cannibalization?

Using specialized tools such as Semrush or Ahrefs, webmasters can easily perform a comprehensive site audit to identify which page(s) target the same keywords.

A detailed audit helps distinguish between potential sources of competition causing keyword cannibalization and checking your website's internal search data can give you insight into whether or not different pages are ranking for the same keyword. By doing so, you can adjust content accordingly and ensure each page focuses on its own unique set of targeted keywords.

Whether you’re a first-time website owner or an experienced SEO expert, understanding keyword cannibalization and knowing how to identify it will help ensure your site achieves its maximum potential in the SERPs.

How Can I Eliminate Keyword Cannibalization?

Eliminating keyword cannibalization is an important step toward optimizing your website for search engine visibility. One of the most effective strategies is to consolidate duplicate content into a single page, as this prevents you from competing with yourself for rankings. Additionally, you can use canonical tags or 301 redirects to accurately inform search engines of the preferred version of a page with duplicate content and double-check each page to verify proper keyword targeting.

We’re going to walk through each of these steps one by one and show you exactly how you can eliminate duplicate keywords and topics to shut down keyword cannibalization once and for all.

1. Consolidate Duplicate Content

Consolidating duplicate content is key when it comes to avoiding keyword cannibalization. This means combining multiple pages with similar content into one page that serves as the main source of information on a particular topic. Consolidation helps search engines identify one authoritative page instead of multiple potentially conflicting versions.

2. Use Canonical Tags

In addition to consolidating your content, you should also utilize canonical tags whenever possible. Canonical tags tell search engines which page is the main or preferred version of a page with duplicate content, helping avoid any duplicate content penalties and content redundancies.

3. Use 301 Redirects

If you need to delete a page, you can use a 301 redirect to send visitors and search engines to a similar page that answers their query instead of having them land on a 404 error page. This improves the user experience for your readers and improves your site’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Use Proper Keyword Targeting

Proper keyword targeting ensures each page on your website focuses on a unique keyword or phrase. Walk through each page of your website one by one and identify any content that doesn’t relate to your primary keyword – some of this content could potentially be split up into adjacent pages that support existing content and complement it. 

Concluding Thoughts

Keyword cannibalization is an important yet overlooked issue across many websites today. With the right analysis and strategy, however, it can be identified, tracked, and eliminated.

By taking a proactive approach to your website’s content, implementing proper keyword research, and using strategic 301 redirects and canonicals, you can easily find and remove any instances of keyword cannibalization.

Doing so will ensure your website performs better in search engines in the long term, attracting more organic visitors over time.Set-up-a-complimentary-consultation-with-fuze32

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