🕵️‍♂️How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization with Keyword Researcher

Keyword cannibalization can feel like a sneaky SEO issue, creeping up when you least expect it. You've worked hard to optimize multiple pages for a strong target keyword, only to find those pages competing for rankings instead of working together. Yikes!

While it may seem like a good problem to have - after all, more pages targeting a term equals more chances to rank, right? - unfortunately, keyword cannibalization usually backfires. Here's why:

  • Split Authority and Signals: Rather than consolidating ranking power and backlinks to one optimized page, the signals get divided across your competing pages. This leads to weaker authority for each individual page.
  • Lower Click-Through Rates: If you occupy multiple spots in the rankings for a single term, the click-through rate for each listing drops significantly. Users typically only click the top result or two, ignoring the rest.
  • Internal Competition: By going after the same keyword on multiple pages, you force your own site to compete against itself for rankings. Not ideal for SEO!

What Does Keyword Cannibalization Look Like?

Example for keyword cannibalization

How to fix keyword cannibalization?

Here are the steps to solve the keyword cannibalization problem:

Figure Out Your Overall Optimization Goals.

Which page should ultimately rank for the shared term?

Imagine your company website has three pages targeting your brand name keyword: homepage, about, and products. This is diluting authority and leads to mediocre rankings all around.

Here's one way to refocus:

Homepage: Double down on optimizing content solely around your brand name. Make this the primary page for that term.

About: Shift focus to your company history, using long-tail keywords like "Company XY history" or "Company XY origins."

Products: Highlight your product offering itself with keywords around your niche or market, like "sports clothing and gear."

See how each page now has a distinct, non-competitive purpose?

With your strategy mapped out, update page content, meta descriptions, internal links, and anchor text accordingly. Make sure any previous brand name links or mentions now point to the optimized homepage.

By giving each page a unique focus, you prevent cannibalization and consolidate authority onto your primary brand keyword page. No more competing against yourself!

Content refocusing is an elegant cure for keyword cannibalization, letting you strategically redirect pages into complementary harmony. Just requires some upfront optimization planning! Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional examples to enrich.

Canonical links to the rescue: How to pick a winner page for Google

Canonical links basically tell Google: "Forget about me, I'm just a copy! Use this other page as the primary one in search."

This is handy when one of your cannibalizing pages needs to stay up due to UX or technical reasons. You can use a canonical link so it doesn't compete.

For example, your product category pages may each target your brand name keyword. But you still want them accessible.

Simply add a canonical link on those secondary category pages pointing to your optimized homepage. This tells Google to focus on the homepage for that shared keyword.

The category pages will still be usable for users, but won't dilute your brand keyword rankings thanks to the canonical signal.

So when facing keyword cannibalization on pages you need to keep live, canonical links allow you to pick a "winner" page in Google's eyes. A clean way to prevent unnecessary internal competition!

Eliminate and consolidate: How 301 redirects can end keyword cannibalization

A 301 redirect seamlessly transfers a page and all its signals to a new destination. This eliminates the old page entirely.

For example, say you have an outdated About page also targeting your core brand keyword. Simply redirect it to your optimized, current homepage using a 301.

This tells Google: "The old About content now lives at the homepage URL." Any links or authority transfer over.

Essentially, a 301 redirect removes redundant pages from the index and funnels their value into your chosen destination page. This prevents diluted rankings.

So when facing cannibalization from outdated or irrelevant pages, 301 redirects allow you to cleanly eliminate and consolidate authority to your winner page.

It's a powerful tool to redirect the right page to the top spot where it belongs. Just be sure any redirected pages are truly obsolete before you 301 them into retirement!

How to avoid internal keyword cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization can seem unavoidable as your website grows. However, with proactive planning, you can keep self-competition to a minimum. Here are some tips:

  • Craft a Content Strategy: Map out how you will structure your site and group topics ahead of time. Create content silos around each theme.
  • Audit Existing Content: Before adding new pages or posts, audit what you already have for overlapping keywords or messaging.
  • Coordinate Optimization: Have one person or team oversee keyword targeting to avoid inadvertent overlaps.
  • Separate Wide and Long-Tail Terms: Target wide primary keywords on main pages and use long-tails to distinguish secondary pages.
  • Diversify Angles: Rather than rehashing the same angle, find unique perspectives for each page.
  • Consolidate Where Possible: Identify pages better combined into one authoritative page per keyword.

While some cannibalization may happen, staying coordinated and planning content separation will minimize competing pages. Periodic audits also allow you to nip duplication in the bud before it harms rankings.

How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization