keywordsKeyword cannibalization occurs when pages on your website compete against each other for certain keywords. Your pages are “cannibalizing” (eating) popularity from other pages to gain search engine ranking.
Webmasters are sometimes unaware of keyword cannibalization, or just automatically optimize the same keyword on all pages thinking it strengthens their SEO. Actually, the OPPOSITE happens and it hurts your SEO.
Keyword cannibalization is detrimental to your site and can affect pages in the following ways:
• Causes bad indexing – Google crawls your pages and is forced to choose one of many page versions based on its “best” query (and may not even pick a relevant page).
• Website pages compete against each other for a position in search engines
• Reduces SEO effectiveness – Anchor text, keyword targeting and link power are spread across many pages
• Quality of your content suffers – When you write about the same topic on every page, your content sounds replicated and dull (which makes your site less attractive to links)
• Limits search engine traffic – Don’t put your keywords in one cyber basket. There are thousands of variations that would work just as well (if not better) in the rankings compared to that one phrase/keyword that’s repeated on every page.
How to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization Issues
keywords1The biggest problem with keyword cannibalization is duplicate content, especially when pages have identical titles and meta descriptions. Think carefully about your website structure including anchor text and keyword placement/prominence throughout pages.
In order to clean up your pages and make them SEO-friendly, the following tips will help you solve keyboard cannibalization problems.
• Create unique meta tag titles and descriptions for your home page and sub pages. Use words that specifically describe that page.
• For blogs, create unique headlines appropriate to the blog. Variations of keywords are acceptable as long as you don’t go overboard with them. If your blog is about California wine trips you could use “California wine vacations” or “California wine destinations.”
• Organize keyword lists. Use broader, competitive keyword phrases/terms on top level/shallow pages. Your home page and top level pages will have more potential for ranking when you use those broader terms. Add those specific “long tail” keywords when you create blog posts or write articles – these are known as your deep pages.
keywords2If you are a novice when it comes to SEO and can’t figure out which keywords to on your pages, don’t worry – there are great keyword search tools available! Begin your search with a broad term and use those results to find the most popular and relevant keywords to add to your pages.
You may be surprised to learn that the keyword you originally wanted to use didn’t get as many searches. For example, you wanted to use “California red wine” but it only has 6,000 searches. However, you changed the phrase to “California wine” and it generated over 200,000 searches. “California wine” would be a better keyword phrase to use.
The following keyword search tools will assist you with finding appropriate keywords for your content.