To tackle with the problem of keyword cannibalisation, at first we have to know and understand what it actually means. Keyword Cannibalization by definition means targetting a single keyword in multiple posts or pages of your website. Yes, that’s it. No big deal! But wait its really not that simple as you think it to be.
Keyword Cannibalization is one of the main reasons I lost rankings of many high search volume keywords. And not only me, there are many other bloggers and SEOs who have faced this problem of keyword cannibalisation in their early days of blogging and SEO career.
So this problem mainly occurs hen you target a single keyword on multiple pages of your site. Lets take an example, suppose you have written a post on “purple flowers”. Now you have somehow seen this particular article becoming very popular in your site and you have started writing more and more articles on this same topic. Suppose you have written 5-6 articles targetting this same keyword “purple flowers” and have published them on your site. Now what will happen if you so this? This is the big question.
You may think all your posts will get good rank for this keyword, but actually something opposite will happen. Search engines will take only one post which it think to be the most relevant and scrap the other ones. Now what effect will it have on your blog. The effect is quite disturbing. You will loose your potential ranking and also lots and lots of visitors. Moreover, your hard work of writing 5-6 articles will all go into vain, as only a single post will be selected among them.
(Image Source: seomoz.org)
Keyword cannibalisation simply means that your site has started behaving like a cannibal and is slowly eating up itself. It is a big problem in SEO, that is really difficult to detect. I mean, if your rankings on certain keywords drop, it really hard to detect whether it is because of the problem of Keyword Cannibalization or not. So, it is really very important to take effective measures to either prevent or cure your site from the effects of Keyword Cannibalization.
Looking At Keyword Cannibalization From Google’s POV
To solve any problem, you need to dig deeper into the problem and understand it from its core. This is what I did when I also became a victim of keyword cannibalization.
Let us understand this problem from the search engines point of view. Suppose you are Google Crawler or bot. You need to rank a site for a certain keyword. You crawl the site and find about 8-10 pages having almost the same type of content. All the pages are relevant for this term, and are eligible to be ranked for. “But which page to rank?”, this is what you are thinking right now, as a search engine bot.
You are completely confused as you don’t know which page to rank in the SERP’s. All of them seems to be similar to you for a certain keyword or term. Now you will pick up a single post depending on various other factors like link juice, etc and rank it, and simply scrap the rest.
If you think once and try to figure out as why we are actually doing SEO? The definition of SEO says, that it is the science of making your site more search engine friendly. Or more simply, as SEOs we are trying to help the search engines to select a page to rank for a certain keyword. But in the case of keyword cannibalisation, we are not at all helping the search engine bots, but are making their work more and more difficult.
A Wrong Conception About Keyword Cannibalization
There remains a wrong conception about keyword cannibalisatn among many bloggers, that what I myself too had long back. Its a completely a wrong idea that writing too many articles one same topic increases your sites relevancy with respect to the particular topic. I too thought that if I can write many articles targetting a particular keyword which I want to rank for, the it will increase the relevancy of my site with respect to that keyword and will help me to rank better.
I was absolutely wrong. The complete opposite thing happened to me. I lost all my ranks due to keyword cannibalisation. Relevancy really doesn’t increase in this fashion. What you can do, is write articles targetting related keyword to the particular keyword which you want to rank for.
Now I will show you a practical scenario about keyword cannibalization occurring in my own site for the keyword “best chrome extensions”, so that it becomes more easy to understand and solve this problem.
As you can see, I had 4 article targeting a single keyword “best chrome extensions”. Previously, I had a single article about this topic, but one day I found it to get ranked well in the first page of Google for the term “best chrome extensions”. I though writing more and more articles on this same topic will increase my rankings of this keyword. But I was terribly wrong. I had lost even my previous rankings and lots of targeted visitors.
So after researching a lot about this subject I found a solution to this problem. For me I had to take curative measures to solve this problem. But now I take preventive measures for preventing this kind of problem from occurring again in my site. After solving the problem, I got my killer article “50 Best Chrome Extensions You Will Ever Need“ to get ranked well for the keyword “best chrome extensions”.
How To Solve Keyword Cannibalization
The problem of keyword canniblistion can be solved in two ways – one is by taking preventive measures and the other is by taking curative measures.
Preventive Measures Of Keyword Cannibalization
Now, the question comes that when are you going to take preventive measures. Suppose you are still not a victim of keyword cannibalisation, and you want to prevent this from occuring in your blog. Then you are going to take these preventive measures that I am going to discuss.
If you are a blogger, avoid writing on same topics again and again. Also ensure that you are not targetting a single keyword in multiple pages. Keep the titles of each and every page completely unique. If you find a certain topic becomming popular in your blog, and you want it to rise up in the SERPS, then instead of writing on the same topic again and again, with the false conception that it will increase the relevance of your page, what you can do is write on related topics to that topic. Or you can update a certain post which is performing well or acquire few anchor texted high quality backlinks to it.
These things will not only prevent keyword canibalisation from happening in your blog, but will in turn increase the traffic potential of your blog.
Curative Measures Of Keyword Cannibalization
Now, these curative measures comes into play, when you have become a victim of keyword cannibalization and you want to cure your blog from it. Suppose you have 20-30 cannibalized pages, and you want to cure your blog from it, all you can do is take a simple solution and delete all those cannibalized pages and keep only those that you consider are the most relevant and high quality ones and have the maximum potential to rank for.
But this probably is not a smart solution. So, what you can do is, can use 301 redirects to redict from the cannibalised pages to a single page that you consider to be the the most relevant one. 301 redirect is the best possible solution according to me. An hyperlink acts as a bridge that allows both visitors and crawlers to jump from one page to another.
Using 301 will not only redirect the visitors but will also allow the link juice to flow from multiple pages into a single page, thereby keeping the link juice concentrated in one single page only. Thus you are loosing nothing, neither the visitor nor the link juice.
Now, after reading this entire article, I think the problem of Keyword Cannibalization will no more be any problem to you. If you are not yet a victim of keyword cannibalization, then you must go for the preventive measures, or if you are victimized by the effects of keyword cannibalization, the you must take the curative measures.
Hope I have been able to save some of my readers from losing their rankings or helping them to getting back their lost ones. Feel free to share your experience with keyword cannibalization with us.