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How To Resolve Keyword Cannibalisation

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    By Hitesh
    March 28, 2023
    ~ 3 minutes to read
    Hitesh is a digital marketing strategist and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in digital marketing, start-ups, branding, and customer acquisition strategies. Hitesh is the CEO and Founder of Reposition Group, which specialises in digital growth strategies.

    How To Resolve Keyword Cannibalisation?

    Looking to optimise the keywords on your website, but you are stuck with a keyword cannibalisation problem? Ensure that you are at your best when resolving this. Keyword cannibalisation is a crucial issue, and it can bring your website visibility drastically down.

    Let’s understand this.

    What Is Keyword Cannibalisation?

    The problem of keyword cannibalisation occurs when the same keyword is targeted on multiple pages. An example is when the same keyword appears on multiple pages for the same service or product.

    Does Cannibalisation Have Any Effects On Search Engine Visibility?

    Keyword cannibalisation can interfere with search engine results if similar pages on the same website have anchor text pointing to each other. This can be an issue caused by internal links which is the most underrated problem often missed by many SEO experts.

    How To Identify Keyword Cannibalisation?

    Nobody wants their website pages competing against one another. Well, that is what happens when there is a keyword cannibalisation issue. Even when you do not want to, the internal pages of a website start competing with one another for a particular keyword.

    This happens because both web pages have similar keyword-focused content. If not sorted, 2 pages ranking on the same keyword (keyword cannibalisation) can lead to traffic loss.

    There are multiple ways to identify the keyword cannibalisation issue. Tools like Google Search Console, Semrush and many others can help with identifying the issue.

    Using Semrush To Identify Keyword Cannibalisation

    When you choose the position tracking option in SEMRUSH, you will find the following interface under the cannibalisation tab:


    Interface With No Keyword Cannibalisation

    Interface With No Keyword Cannibalisation

    Interface With Keyword Cannibalisation

    Interface With Keyword Cannibalisation

    How To Resolve Keyword Cannibalisation?

    Step 1: Use Canonical Tags

    There are times when you need to keep the pages having duplicate content. These pages might not add SEO value, but you need to keep those as they are either landing pages or URLs leading to similar products having different paths.

    The best way to highlight the original page for Google is to add canonical tags. In this example, canonicalisation can help solve the cannibalisation issue. When a canonical tag is added, it indicates to Google that a particular page is an original version that needs to be considered as the primary page for search results.

    Step 2: Focus on New Keywords

    The content ranking for similar keywords can be modified to focus on new keywords if you feel they are worth keeping on the website.

    By doing this, you will be able to keep the earlier keyword ranking and increase the chances of ranking more keywords in the future.

    Step 3: 301 Redirects

    301 redirection can also be one of the options to help resolve the keyword cannibalisation issue. Too many redirections are never an option though. In some cases, this can be done. Adding 301 redirections from the cannibal page to a preferred page will signal to Google that the cannibal pages have been replaced with a particular page.

    Step 4: Create New Landing Pages

    New landing pages can be an option when you have a website with multiple products or even blog sections in some cases. For instance, you have a clothing website. You can create a landing page for clothing, then divide it further into men, women, and kids’ clothing. And again these landing pages when opened can lead to specific clothing-style landing pages.

    This will help keep the products sorted and Google will be able to differentiate between the specific products and will list appropriate URLs for specific keywords.

    Step 5: Using Noindex Tags

    Noindex tags can be another way to resolve the keyword cannibalisation issue. Add no-index tags to pages that you want to keep on your website but do not want Google to index. This can be the best option in most cases.

    When your website has cannibal pages, adding a noindex tag can solve the issue. But make you do this only for pages that do not have traffic or links and have thin content. Adding noindex to high traffic page will have negative effects. The best case here can be to focus on new keywords for that particular cannibal page by making some minor changes to the content.

    How To Prevent Keyword Cannibalisation?

    Before creating new content, you need to determine whether you have already created content that ranks for similar keywords. Use SEO tools such as Ahrefs, Google Search Console or Semrush to identify the same. 

    The sitemap and URL search can be used to discover if the content already exists with similar keywords. Avoid creating new content with the same keywords if this is the case. Contact Reposition today if you need expert advice on keyword cannibalisation.

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