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What Exactly is Keyword Cannibalization?

By February 26, 2020Wednesday Workshop

Find out what keyword cannibalization is, how to identify it on your site, and best of all, a strategy to get things back on track!

Video Transcript

Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn! 

By now, you probably know that having the correct keywords in your content is important for good SEO; but we want to emphasize the word “correct.” 

Keyword strategy is very important, and very often misunderstood; leading to things like keyword stuffing and keyword cannibalization. 

Today we’re going to discuss what exactly keyword cannibalization is, and how to avoid it in your SEO copy. 

Keyword cannibalization occurs when you try to use the same keyword across too many pages on your website, or if you’re using the same keyword on two pages that should probably be consolidated 

In essence, you’re forcing Google to pick which page it thinks does a better job of matching that keyword. 

Let’s talk about an example of keyword cannibalization. 

Say you are a car dealership trying to rank specifically for the words “cars for sale.” 

If you put the phrase “cars for sale” over and over on ever page on your site, it won’t show the search engine the breadth of your product offering, including specific makes or models, trucks, used cars, or even service and maintenance. 

The search engine essentially assumes that your whole site is about nothing but “cars for sale” without going any deeper. 

This has a lot of really negative effects on your SEO, including diminished page authority, diluted internal links, wasted crawl budget, and reduced conversion rate.  

The good news is, keyword cannibalization is pretty easy to identify.  

You can make a keyword matrix that shows all of the URLs on your site, and the corresponding keyword you’re using on those pages. 

If there’s too much overlap, it may be time for a strategy change. 

Fixing keyword cannibalization depends on how the problem came about in the first place. 

One option is to restructure your website.  

In this case, if you have a big main idea page, it might make sense to canonicalize it as a source page; then have the specific variations of that page link back to it. 

You could even put 301 redirects in place for pages that are less authoritative than your source page. 

Another option is to create a landing page that consolidates all of the additional informational pages into one place.  

If you did this, you could have a “trucks” landing page that contains links to all of the different model and trim pages, or even truck service-specific items. 

Lastly, the easiest option is to just rethink your keyword strategy altogether. 

If you have a lot of pages with good, unique content, it may be time to do some new keyword research.  

Doing a keyword refresh can do a lot of good for a site, especially if your existing keyword strategy is poorly planned.  

As long as the new keywords accurately explain the page content, you’re good to go. 

That’s all the time we have left for today’s workshop.  

As always, if you have questions or comments, leave ‘em down below and we’ll get back to you shortly. 

Thanks for watching.  

We’ll see you next time with another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn. 

Author Kelcey Drapp

Kelcey Drapp is an SEO Manager working at DealerOn since 2015, and in the digital space for nearly a decade. Kelcey enjoys digging deep into SEO research to discover the 'why,' and helping clients realize their potential for success online. In addition to her work in local SEO, Kelcey also likes to volunteer her digital marketing skills for non-profits in need. When Kelcey is not working, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband, son, & three dogs.

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