How to Identify and Tackle Keyword Cannibalisation in 2019

SEO

Digital Marketing / SEO - 72 Views

Posted by SamuelMangialavori

If you read the title of this blog and somehow, even only for a second, thought about the iconic movie “The Silence of the Lambs”, welcome to the club — you are not alone!

Despite the fact that the term “cannibalisation” does not sound very suitable for digital marketing, this core concept has been around for a long time. This term simply identifies the issue of having multiple pages competing for the same (or very similar) keywords/keyword clusters, hence the cannibalisation.

What do we mean by cannibalisation in SEO?

This unfortunate and often unnoticed problem harms the SEO potential of the pages involved. When more than one page has the same/similar keyword target, it creates “confusion” in the eyes of the search engine, resulting in a struggle to decide what page to rank for what term.

For instance, say my imaginary e-commerce website sells shoes online and I have created a dedicated category page that targets the term ‘ankle boots’: www.distilledshoes.com/boots/ankle-boots/

Knowing the importance of editorial content, over time I decide to create two blog posts that cover topics related to ankle boots off the back of a keyword research: one post on how to wear ankle boots and another about the top 10 ways to wear ankle boots in 2019:


One month later, I realise that some of my blog pages are actually ranking for a few key terms that my e-commerce category page was initially visible for.

Now the question is: is this good or bad for my website?

Drum roll, please...and the answer is — It depends on the situation, the exact keywords, and the intent of the user when searching for a particular term.

Keyword cannibalisation is not black or white — there are multiple grey areas and we will try and go though several scenarios in this blog post. I recommend you spend 5 minutes checking this awesome Whiteboard Friday which covers the topic of search intent extremely well.

How serious of a problem is keyword cannibalisation?

Much more than what you might think — almost every website that I have worked on in the past few years have some degree of cannibalisation that needs resolving. It is hard to estimate how much a single page might be held back by this issue, as it involves a group of pages whose potential is being limited. So, my suggestion is to treat this issue by analysing clusters of pages that have some

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