In the world of small business SEO, an often-overlooked danger lurks in the shadows. This silent threat can eat away at your search engine rankings before you even realize it’s happening. Known as keyword cannibalization, it’s a menace that can catch even the most diligent business owners off guard.
This hidden enemy can negatively affect your online visibility and traffic. It’s time to shine a light on this hidden threat and learn how to protect your small business from its damaging effects.
Below is more information about keyword cannibalization and steps you can take to identify and fix this common problem.
What is Keyword Cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization is when a website repeatedly uses the exact keywords or phrases across different web pages. Instead of each page working to draw traffic to your site, they compete against each other. This creates a kind of ‘civil war’ within your website.
Why is Keyword Cannibalization Detrimental to Small Business SEO?
Small businesses must understand the risks of keyword cannibalization. It sends mixed signals to search engines about which page is the most relevant for the targeted keywords.
This confusion can lead to lower search rankings for all pages involved. Lower rankings mean less visibility, leading to fewer visitors and customers. In other words, keyword cannibalization can directly hurt your bottom line. It can also dilute your link equity, making it harder for your site to rank well in search engine results.
Now that you know what keyword cannibalization is, we will discuss how to find and fix this issue.
Conduct a Site Audit
A crucial step in overcoming the issue of keyword cannibalization is to conduct a comprehensive site audit. SEO tools can be very helpful in this process. They can help you find keyword overlaps across different pages that you might miss otherwise.
When you perform a site audit, you take a deep dive into your website. You are looking for areas where your SEO can be improved. This includes checking for keyword overlaps. These are places where the same keyword or phrase is used on many different pages.
By identifying these overlaps, you can see where keyword cannibalization might be happening. You must make changes to ensure each page targets a unique keyword. This can help improve your small business SEO and increase your online visibility.
Finding Keyword Cannibalization With Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a powerful tool for identifying keyword cannibalization. It provides ample data about your website’s performance in the search results.
Here’s how Google Search Console can help you:
- Performance Reports – Google Search Console provides performance reports that show the keywords your website pages rank for. These reports help you identify if multiple pages rank for the exact keywords. This will indicate possible keyword cannibalization.
- Search Analytics – This feature lets you see the queries that led users to your site. If the same query leads to multiple pages, there’s a likely chance of keyword cannibalization.
- Index Coverage Report – The Index Coverage report gives an overview of the indexed pages on your site. You can check this report to see if Google has indexed multiple pages for the same keywords.
- URL Inspection Tool – This tool provides information about the specific URLs on your site. You can use it to check the keywords for each webpage. You may need to address keyword cannibalization if you notice that the same keywords appear in multiple URLs.
You can effectively track and resolve any keyword cannibalization issues with this tool.
Resolving the Problems Found With Google Search Console
Addressing keyword cannibalization found by Google Search Console is crucial. When you find and fix these issues, your pages will no longer compete against each other. This can increase your chances of ranking higher in search results.
Here are some valuable steps to fix keyword cannibalization issues discovered by Google Search Console:
- Create Unique Content for Each Keyword: If multiple pages rank for the same keyword, consider creating unique content for each. This can help differentiate your pages in the eyes of search engines.
- Use Canonical URLs: If you have similar content across different pages, using canonical URLs can help. This tells search engines which version of the webpage you want to appear in search results.
- 301 Redirection: If you have pages with similar content, consider redirecting one page to another. The 301 redirect tells search engines that the page has moved permanently.
- Use Noindex Meta Tag: If a page isn’t essential for search engines but useful for visitors, consider using a no-index meta tag. This tells search engines not to index the page.
- Consolidate Your Content: If you have several pages with thin content about the same keyword, consider consolidating them into one comprehensive page. This can create a more valuable resource for your visitors. It also helps you rank higher in search results.
Addressing and resolving keyword cannibalization issues can improve small business SEO and enhance the user experience.
Crawl Internal Links
Crawling internal links is a critical part of resolving keyword cannibalization issues. Internal links are the links that go from one page on your website to another page on the same website. They help users navigate your site and help search engines understand the structure and content of your site.
When you look, you’re looking at how link equity, or ‘link juice,’ is spread across your site. Link equity is a search engine ranking factor. It passes value and authority from one page to another.
But link equity can be divided between similar pages when you have keyword cannibalization. This can dilute the power of your links and lower your search engine rankings.
By crawling your internal links and understanding your link equity, you can make better SEO decisions. This can lead to higher search engine rankings and more traffic for your small business.
Check Your Metadata
Checking your website’s metadata is another crucial step in preventing and resolving keyword cannibalization issues. Metadata includes meta titles, descriptions, and header tags. These elements are highly significant in small business SEO. They provide search engines with information about your web page’s content.
Each web page should have a unique meta title. Meta titles are what appear in the search engine results. They give search engines and users a quick summary of a page’s content. Search engines may get confused and lower your rankings if you are targeting the same keywords within multiple meta titles.
Just like meta titles, meta descriptions should also be unique for each page. A meta description is a summary of web page content. It appears under the meta title in search engine results. If multiple pages have similar descriptions with the same keywords, it can cause keyword cannibalization.
Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are used to structure content on a web page. They give an idea about the subject matter of the content below them. The H1 tag is the most important and usually contains the main keyword. However, avoid using the same keyword in H1 tags across multiple pages. Doing this can lead to a ‘civil war’ among your web pages.
To prevent keyword cannibalization, ensure your metadata is unique and relevant to each page’s content. Differentiate your pages clearly by using unique keywords in your meta titles, descriptions, and header tags.
Analyze Click-Through Rate
Analyzing your click-through rate (CTR) is another critical step in identifying keyword cannibalization. Click-through rate measures how many people who see your website in the search results click on it. A low CTR can be a sign of keyword cannibalization.
When you have multiple pages ranking for the same keywords, users might see several of your pages in the search results. This can confuse them and split your clicks between the pages. This means that instead of one strong page getting a lot of clicks, you have two weaker pages getting fewer clicks.
To identify potential keyword cannibalization through CTR, compare the CTR of your pages that rank for similar keywords. If the CTR is noticeably lower on one page, it could indicate that the other page is cannibalizing its keywords.
You can improve your small business SEO by analyzing and addressing these CTR discrepancies. You can ensure each page has a unique focus and draws in its own clicks. This can improve your overall search engine rankings and increase traffic to your website.
Look At Your SERP Rankings
Monitoring your search engine result page (SERP) rankings is vital to identifying keyword cannibalization. If multiple pages from your website rank for the same keyword, it’s a clear sign of cannibalization. By observing your SERP, you can take appropriate action to ensure each page targets unique keywords, promoting healthier competition and better ranking potential.
Take Your Small Business SEO To The Next Level
If you’re passionate about improving your small business SEO, you must take keyword cannibalization seriously. We can help you find and fix these problems before they affect your website traffic.