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Content is one of the driving forces for increasing traffic to your site. Well-written pages, blog posts and product descriptions can give you the edge over your competitors, helping you to rank on that all important first page whilst establishing a relationship of trust with potential customers.

However if you’re not careful, certain pieces of content can actually damage your rankings. This is due to keyword cannibalisation, resulting in competing search terms and a confused Google.

How to Identify Cannibalising Content

Finding which of your pages and posts are cannibalising your main content is the first step to solving the problem. There are several indicators which show this:

keyword cannibalising content- search engine rankings page

  • Google is showing the wrong page higher in search terms- this is the most obvious sign of keyword cannibalisation.
  • Rapid changes in the pages Google rankings (e.g. jumping from page two to six, and then back again.) If Google isn’t sure which page to choose, you might see their positions showing dramatic variations.
  • Your page is losing traffic for its key search terms. Competing keywords are a possible cause of this, however there are many different factors which affect rankings.

When does Keyword Cannibalisation occur?

To put it simply, this happens when two or more pages are targeted at the same key search term. Two fully optimised, content-rich and unique pages pose an issue for Google, which does it pick to rank for? This leads to your pages competing with each other, diluting traffic between the pages and resulting in lower rankings and visitors overall. One relevant, optimised page which adds a great deal of value will always be seen as more valuable to your site, and although Google will not directly penalise your site, by splitting visitors you won’t do your rankings any favours.

Although keyword cannibalisation is what we will focus on, duplicate content could also be viewed in a similar way. Read our previous post detailing how to solve issues with duplicate content to learn more.

How to fix it

Tackling this issue can be quite a lengthy process, depending on how many pages you believe are affected. There are several steps to solving issues with competing keywords:

  1. Identify which of your pages is your “hero”. This is the page which you are wanting customers to visit when they search for a certain keyword, and it should be fully optimised with all the SEO friendly content which Google loves; such as optimised images with titles and alt tags, descriptive anchor links and, of course, a catchy title featuring the targeted keyword.
  2. Research other possible keywords using tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner which will give you information on search volumes. These other pages are great opportunities for targeting the longer tail keywords which are still relevant to your brand and the topic of the page. By identifying and capitalising on these other queries, you can make your site more competitive, achieving more traffic and establishing yourself as an authority. Providing pages which focus on filling these niches will also help to boost your traffic.
  3. Write it down! We find it extremely helpful to keep a spreadsheet of our SEO site structure which shows the target keyword and the monthly searches of each page. This gives us a reference to check whenever we create a new post or page so we don’t inadvertently create competing content.
  4. Check your rankings to see if the problem has been resolved. If you don’t see any recovery, your issue might be more technical, such as incurring a Google penalty.

Want to Learn More?

Our expert team will be happy to help. We will act as an extension of your company, achieving the best results by performing thorough keyword research and creating unique, tailored content for your site and blog which will grow your online presence. Contact us today!