A information to key phrase cannibalization in search engine marketing and tips on how to repair it


Key phrase cannibalization occurs when you could have two or extra pages rating for a similar key phrase. It’s typically thought of undesirable. 

This text will assist you to resolve whether or not you could have a key phrase cannibalization downside and, in that case, tips on how to resolve it.

Is key phrase cannibalization at all times problematic?

Earlier than fixing key phrase cannibalization, test whether or not it’s a actual downside in your website.

Typically, two items of content material rating will be favorable, particularly with an indented SERPs.

For Delish, these two pages rating on web page 1 are helpful. In a single search, they’ve received two items of content material rating. The indented SERP provides Delish extra space within the web page and will increase their possibilities of a click on.

A fast browse of those two pages will present similarities in rating key phrases. For instance, in keeping with Semrush, each pages rank for:

  • “fast straightforward wholesome lunch”
  • “straightforward wholesome lunch concepts”
  • “straightforward wholesome lunch”
  • “straightforward and wholesome lunch concepts”

You don’t need to take motion on two pages rating when there are indented SERPs. Go away them particularly should you’re getting clicks and conversions.

Figuring out key phrase cannibalization that wants fixing

In case you don’t have entry to software program to assist spot cannibalization, you will discover potential points with Google site search

Use the next when looking out:

  • website:instance.com “key phrase” 
Screenshot of Google showing how to identify keyword cannibalization with the site: search query.

The screenshot above exhibits how Google has listed content material on and round “wholesome” and/or “lunch” printed on the Delish web site. 

When you have comparable outcomes, take a look at the pages and examine if they’re problematic.

To determine problematic cannibalization issues, search for the next:

A sudden drop in clicks or impressions

This could occur if you publish a brand new piece of content material and Google prioritizes the brand new piece over what was already rating. 

This could return to regular after some time, but when it doesn’t, take a look at the subsequent part on fixing key phrase cannibalization.

Struggling to rank regardless of your greatest efforts

Two items of content material focusing on the identical SERP intent will be “complicated” to Google. 

It signifies that your content material technique isn’t as sturdy accurately. 

Pages rating for a key phrase that isn’t purported to

In case you’ve labored in your content material technique, however the mistaken web page nonetheless ranks, then you definitely’re virtually positively cannibalizing your self.

On this scenario, comply with our recommendations on what to do when the mistaken web page ranks.

Get the each day publication search entrepreneurs depend on.

Fixing key phrase cannibalization 

The way you repair key phrase cannibalization will depend upon the issue it is inflicting and the answer most helpful in your readers.

Listed here are some key phrase cannibalization options to think about.

Inner linking

An internal linking strategy is an efficient first effort to resolve key phrase cannibalization. 

Right here, you will not be taking pages down or redirecting content material – a reasonably secure possibility should you really feel nervous concerning the penalties.

Find out how to repair key phrase cannibalization with inner linking

Inner linking is a strong software for search engine marketing. It is helpful for readers to search out related sources and associated content material. It additionally provides Google a directive on what a web page ought to rank for.

In case you’re doing content material the appropriate approach, you realize what the 2 items of content material ought to rank for. 

So you should utilize an inner hyperlink from one piece to the opposite to bolster the place they sit in web site structure and what folks would possibly search to search out the piece.

On this occasion, go for an actual match key phrase or one thing near it.

Assessment your inner hyperlinks and determine hyperlinks pointing to the 2 rating items. You could be pointing to the pages with the identical anchor textual content. 

You will get a good suggestion of what anchor textual content you are utilizing to hyperlink to pages with Screaming Frog.

Open Screaming Frog, then click on crawl your website. Filter by HTML, click on the web page you wish to view, then hit inlinks.

Annotated screenshot of Screaming Frog showing the steps to analyze internal links to help solve keyword cannibalization issues.

You will see which pages hyperlink to your web page and with what anchor textual content. With a fast edit you possibly can straighten out your inner linking technique.

Professional tip: When constructing a content material plan, put together a content material database (like a Google Sheet) the place you possibly can decide a key phrase from the cluster to make use of in your anchor hyperlinks. This course of prevents writers from including random inner hyperlinks of their articles.

Refining key phrase clusters and establishing clear search intent

Maybe you have recognized key phrase cannibalization however wish to hold the 2 pages. On this case, you would possibly want to present each bit an outlined function. 

To do that, develop a key phrase cluster and set up clear search intent. Every bit of content material should do one thing distinctive.

Utilizing the Delish instance from above, we are able to see that though comparable, the 2 articles have clear search intent. 

  • One article recommends lunch concepts for work.
  • The opposite recommends packed lunches. 

Taking a packed lunch to work is synonymous with a piece lunch, however it is not simply for work functions.

Content material consolidation and 301 redirects

It is pretty intuitive when you could do a content material consolidation and a 301 redirect. Largely, you possibly can inform instantly if a web page is focusing on the very same key phrase.

Going again to the Delish instance, though comparable, the 2 pages on wholesome lunches have two completely different intents. As talked about, one article focuses extra on lunches for work, and the opposite is about packed lunches.

Though nuanced, the 2 content material items can co-exist assuming they don’t seem to be inflicting points behind the scenes.

Nevertheless, if the 2 articles have been “55 Wholesome Lunches” and “The Greatest Wholesome Lunches,” there is a matter.

The goal key phrase is clearly comparable – “wholesome lunches” and “greatest wholesome lunches.” Seems like the identical factor, proper?

To verify, a fast search of  “wholesome lunches” and “greatest wholesome lunches” returns virtually the very same SERPs.

So, these articles could be consolidated, and one could be redirected to the opposite.

Find out how to repair key phrase cannibalization with content material consolidation and a 301 redirect

Earlier than consolidating two (or extra) articles, do your due diligence. Use knowledge that will help you resolve which URL you are maintaining and which one you are redirecting.

  • Consolidate the content material within the two articles. Whenever you do that, be sure to give it an intensive edit. You will do extra dangerous than good if you find yourself with Frankenstein-esque content material. To succeed with this tactic, your content material should be high-quality and well-written. 
  • Discover probably the most profitable URL by Google Search Console knowledge. Filter by web page to see which URL receives probably the most clicks, impressions and common place. Typically, one will supersede the opposite lots, so the selection will likely be apparent.
Annotated screenshot of Google Search Console showing the page filter.
  • If the profitable URL would not leap out at you by this level, test the backlink profile. Though you’ll redirect one hyperlink to the opposite and carry over these backlinks, maintaining the content material on the URL with the strongest backlink profile could be higher.

Add a canonical

If the 2 pages have to exist however you do not need Google indexing each, you would add a canonical. 

This technique is beneficial on ecommerce web sites, notably Shopify websites, the place the identical product exists on a number of URLs.

We will see the canonical in motion on Helm’s Shopify web site.

Their Xander Olive shoe exists on two URLs:

  • https://helmboots.com/merchandise/the-xander-olive 
  • https://helmboots.com/collections/the-xander/merchandise/the-xander-olive

A search inside the code of the /collections/ URL exhibits the canonical pointing to the product.

Screenshot of Helm website showing canonical in their code.

Find out how to keep away from cannibalization sooner or later

Cannibalization points happen when there is not any clear plan for content material manufacturing. With out a plan, well-intentioned writers can ship comparable items of content material. 

To keep away from cannibalization, hold a content material log and monitor the next:

  • Focus key phrase: Assign one to every piece of content material.
  • Key phrase cluster: Element all different key phrases the piece ought to rank for.
  • Content material pillar/matter: This helps visualize all content material below a sure matter.

The nearer you’re to your content material and its function, the much less doubtless you’re to create cannibalizing content material. It helps to have a strategic search engine marketing skilled to information the method to allow them to accurately assign key phrases. 

If each bit of content material matches inside a particular pillar or matter, you possibly can filter content material by that matter and double test you have not already created content material earlier than you write it.

Or, you should utilize your content material analysis course of to determine content material that might be edited as a substitute of recreated. Typically, a good edit on an existing article can do wonders in your search engine marketing.

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor creator and never essentially Search Engine Land. Employees authors are listed here.

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