What is Keyword Cannibalisation and How Do You Avoid It?

What is Keyword Cannibalisation and How Do You Avoid It?

Like many other industries, SEO and digital marketing has its own jargon. Of all the jargon used in digital marketing, however, the most unattractive and disconcerting is probably keyword cannibalisation.

Despite this, if SEO is a priority for your business and you want to get as much traffic from Google as possible, it is a concept you need to be aware of.

The Use of Keywords on Your Website

A good starting point for understanding keyword cannibalisation is to go back to the importance of keywords to your website. More specifically, the importance of keywords to individual pages on your website.

Keywords are the phrases that you want Google to associate with a page on your website. You also want Google to show that page in its search results when people search for those keywords. In addition, you want Google to show the page in as high a position as possible.

Each page on your website will have multiple keywords. This happens naturally as you write content, but you can also use an SEO company in Auckland to make sure the right number and variation of keywords are used.

These multiple keywords on a page are often referred to as keyword clusters. There is usually a main or primary keyword in the cluster – the one that is most important – as well as others that are all closely related.

There are lots of benefits to taking this approach to keyword optimising a website page. The main benefits are it gives Google a better understanding of the content on the page and it increases the number of keywords the page can rank for. Both of these benefits, but particularly the latter, will bring more traffic to your website.

Enter the Problem of Keyword Cannibalisation

Keyword cannibalisation occurs when you have multiple pages on your website targeting the same keyword. This could be multiple pages on the website targeting the same primary keyword or the same (or similar) keyword cluster.

Why is this a problem? Keyword cannibalisation dilutes the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Instead of all the effort going into a single page, Google has to either work with them both or go with one rather than the other. Both options are bad for you as you are likely to see a drop in rankings and/or traffic.

How Does Keyword Cannibalisation Occur?

Keyword cannibalisation can occur by accident or on purpose:

  • By accident – adding content and pages to your website without a clear and well-defined keyword strategy.
  • On purpose – one of the most common is where websites use keyword stuffing. A good example is adding a list of geographical areas you cover on each page of your website.

How Do You Know If Keyword Cannibalisation is a Problem on Your Website?

There are some symptoms that might give you an indication that keyword cannibalisation could be a problem on your website. They include:

  • A page stops getting traffic from its primary keyword
  • Google displays the wrong page when you search for a particular keyword
  • A page on your website drifts in and out of Google

You will probably need the help of an SEO company in Auckland to properly determine if keyword cannibalisation is a problem on your website and, if it is, put in place corrective measures. It’s a process that is worth doing, however, to ensure you maximise the traffic you get from Google.