Content is one of the pillars of search engine optimization (SEO). Almost every marketer tries to boost their website’s ranking by frequently publishing large volumes of content. While this is a common strategy, it’s not necessarily a good one. It requires careful and detailed implementation because search engines often interpret it negatively. In this case, you might have to deal with keyword cannibalization. This can ultimately diminish your chances of ranking high organically and trigger other issues as well. In this article, we’ll bring the term closer to you and teach you how to discover it on time.
In the SEO world, keyword cannibalization is also known as keyword overlap. It’s a common issue when several pages with the same or similar keywords compete for organic search rankings. Search engines interpret them as having the same search intent. As a result, your website’s ranking potential and performance take a severe hit.
- It usually happens when you:
- Create similar content
- Optimize multiple pages with the same keyword
- Publish content with the same keywords and search intent
- Forget to optimize subcategory pages
To identify the potential issue, you should focus on every published content piece. It’s called a content audit, and marketers often perform it for various reasons. However, this step is most effective on websites with less content. When you start going through content, single out all those whose keywords and search intent align. Although they might not have caused you to drop in the rankings yet, it’s only a matter of time before it happens. You can repurpose, combine, or delete some of that content and resolve or prevent potential SEO issues.
Another way to find problematic pages is through Google search. Open your browser and type your site: your website and topic or keyword. In a matter of seconds, you’ll be able to see all your website’s pages related to the given topic or those containing the given keyword. While this practice may be effective, you should still be careful. There might be some vague results, so you need to look at the bigger picture. Check the search intent behind the results to make sure you have cannibalization issues. In case the search doesn’t yield conclusive results, use your CMS to search the website.
Google Search Console (GSC) and the performance page are great for finding the keywords manually. After signing in, navigate to Performance to find Search results. Use the filter to find the queries with a specific keyword. In the URL section, you can see several things – all the pages ranking for that word and URLs with clicks and impressions. By manually analyzing the pages, you can find the ones sharing the same search intent. This information should be enough for you to detect the cannibalization issues and start thinking about possible solutions.
Content is one of the strongest foundations of SEO. While publishing unique content pieces, you might experience keyword cannibalization by chance. Now that you know what it is, you can discover it in time and still make the most out of your organic rankings.
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