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in the form of content creation is ideally suited to get your website higher in search results. However, overuse of content creation and keywords can also be detrimental and cause problems.

But, what exactly is keyword cannibalism and why is it a problem? More importantly, how do you solve keyword cannibalism?

What is keyword cannibalism?

Keyword cannibalism involves two or more pages targeting the same keyword or topic, causing these pages to perform less in search results at the expense of each other.

The overlapping keywords compete with each other, so to speak. As a result, Google may be confused as to which page to display, or Google may see the with the same keywords as a duplicate page.

To clarify, consider an example of classic keyword cannibalism:

Classic example keyword cannibalism

The classic form of keyword cannibalism is obvious and easy to spot. This example involves two pages with the same keywords, with only one of the two pages performing well. This while the other page is virtually nowhere to be seen and is not even in the top 100 search results.

In other words, only one page is always displayed. At the expense of the other page. Search word cannibalism is therefore obvious and easy to spot in this case.

Why keyword cannibalism is a problem

Keyword cannibalism poses a problem for your website due to a number of reasons:

1. Optimized pages appear lower in search results

The moment you have multiple pages related to the same keyword, this can cause the wrong page to actually rank highest. Of course, this is not the intention; rather, you want the pages with high conversion are at the top of the list.

An example: suppose you sell washing machines. For this, you created a landing page for all washing machines that also displays information, advice and tips for maintenance. Because there is a lot of focus on the content of this page, the conversion rate is high.

However, in addition to the landing page, a tag page is also indexed. This page displays all products with the tag ‘washing machine’ without any additional information. Therefore, this page has a lower conversion rate. When this page ranks high in search results and the landing page with a high conversion rate does not, you have a problem because of keyword cannibalism.

2. Distribution of inbound links

Links to your website play an important role for search engine optimization. Keyword cannibalism can cause inbound links to be spread across different pages. Of course, it would be much better to direct all links to one page.

3. Wasting your crawl budget

Google has a limit on the number of pages it daily crawls. In the case of a lot of ambiguous content and thus keyword cannibalism, many pages are visited unnecessarily. As a result, important pages receive less attention.

How do you recognize keyword cannibalism?

Now that you have an idea of what keyword cannibalism entails, of course it is also useful to know how to recognize keyword cannibalism. There are a few ways to do this:

1. Manual search

The most obvious way to recognize keyword cannibalism is to look for it manually. One disadvantage of manual search, however, is that your search results may be influenced by your cookies.

When manually searching for keyword cannibalism, it is important to check not only the ranking, but also which page is ranking for each keyword. If you notice that over time a different page appears in the search results, there may be.

2. Checking with SEO tools

Of course, it is also possible to use SEO tools to detect keyword cannibalism. For example, consider Moz or Ahrefs. If the tool shows that first page A is at the top and at another time page B, there is keyword cannibalism.

3. Searching through Google commands

To search via Google commands for you enter the following: keyword(s)
. This way, you get to see all the pages found on the specific search term(s).

For example: keyword cannibalism.
All pages on related to the keywords “keyword cannibalism” are now displayed.

If 1 page is displayed in the results, there is no cannibalism. When you are shown more pages but the most important page is at the top, there is also no keyword cannibalism. In this case, the other pages add value for the keyword.

Solve keyword cannibalism

Now that you know why keyword cannibalism causes problems and how to recognize it, it is important to know how it is solved. Keyword cannibalism can be solved and prevented by:

1. Define a content strategy

Defining a strategy for your content is important to prevent and solve keyword cannibalism. This way, in fact, you make sure that the right keywords and topics are related to the right pages. Simply by paying a little attention to it.

2. Merge content

By aggregating content under one URL, you ensure that this one page comprehensively covers a particular topic. By doing so, you avoid redundant and ambiguous pages, which can cause keyword cannibalism.

3. Implement canonical tags

Canonical tags tell a search engine what the primary or original URL of a Web page is. Consequently, this is a common way to fix ambiguous content.

By implementing canonical tags on URLs that are relevant to your website’s visitors but not preferred in search results, you prevent keyword cannibalism.

Solve keyword cannibalism: Getting your website high in search results

We at Brthrs are happy to help you solve problems due to keyword cannibalism. In addition, we optimize your website for good search engine results.

Are you curious how? Or would you like to know what else we can help you with? If so, please feel free to take contact with us!


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