Sophisticated business leaders recognize the pivotal role of keywords in the realm of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The judicious selection of phrases in your website’s content is not just a matter of visibility; it’s a strategic imperative for digital prominence. However, the challenge of content cannibalization arises when there is an overuse of identical keywords across various pages of your site.
Content cannibalization is more than a mere faux pas in SEO; it’s a critical error that can lead to the ‘search rank tank,’ severely impeding your online visibility. Addressing and rectifying this issue is not just about recovery; it’s about strategically enhancing your presence in the digital landscape.
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Why should I watch out for overused keywords on my site?
When you use the same keywords for different articles or web pages, your content competes with itself in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page.)
With more competition from keyword-redundant articles, search engines may rank outdated material higher (detracting from user experience). You may also kick yourself out of a coveted rank spot when you repeat keywords too often.
So, how do you catch content cannibalization before it catches (and eats) you and your high search rank? Follow these guidelines.
First, check out your keyword search results.
You could create a simple spreadsheet with relevant keywords, search them on Google, and track the results for multiple page hits from the same website. This type of keyword tracking can be time and labor-intensive but does work to help you discover content cannibalization trends.
Is it possible to de-cannibalize my content?
There are several ways to ensure content that doesn’t consume your hard-earned search rank. Here’s a list to get you started on several de-cannibalizing basics:
1. Keep track of your keyword use for new articles. Creating a keyword tracking sheet that you add to each time you publish an article is a great place to start. A tracking sheet can help you see, at a glance, where you might have any repeats.
You can still create pieces in your chosen topic areas but optimize for different keywords in each one. For example, if in one article, you select “retail automation solutions,” in the next article, you might choose “retail safety trends.” Both keywords would allow you to expound on the benefits of retail automation but from different angles.
2. Combine similar existing articles. This process entails rewriting the two similar articles into one stellar piece of content. (Which shouldn’t be too hard since you’ve already compiled the information and would simply need to reformat it inclusively.)
3. Delete less-than-amazing content: In your content audit, you may come across two similar articles where one stands out as the superior choice. Delete the “bad” content without regret (but always remember to replace it with a redirect link, so you don’t create SEO-busting error messages on your site URL.) The redirect should take the user to the article you decided to keep. A 301 redirect can also reassign that page’s value to the one you want to focus on increasing in even higher positions.
4. Choose several stand-out posts and link to them internally. If you take an inventory of your blog posts and top-notch web copy, earmark the pieces you feel are the best of the best. Then, create internal links in your other posts to the articles and web copy that truly stand out.
5. Embrace keyword-scrubbing in some of your content: If you find two similar pieces that should stand alone, select one of them, and exchange the duplicated keywords for other phrases.
6. Use “no-index” tags: If a useful content piece contains cannibalized keywords, you can ask Google to ignore the page with a no-index tag. This tag is a code snippet in the HTML page code. When Google sees this code, it will not rank the page. This way, you can keep the content without risking your overall search rank for your desired piece.
What if I sell a lot of similar products on my site?
If you sell hair brushes, for example, you’ll use the keyword “hairbrush” over and over. You can include each product’s full model name as the keyword to minimize cannibalization.
You can also avoid cannibalization in eCommerce by creating category pages and linking your individual product pages to them. You’ll keyword-optimize the category pages, but not the product pages. Getting expert help in creating your product pages, category pages, and their tags can make this process run smoothly with minimal time spent on your part.
How do I continue to vary my keyword use to avoid content cannibalization?
It’s smart to continually consult your ideal client or customer avatar and update their pain points for new content. Though your products and services stay similar, you can leverage your audience’s problems to your keyword advantage.
You can change up your keywords to move with the seasons, new product or service innovations, and novel audience segments you’d like to attract.
Platforms like SEMRush or Ahrefs can help you vet your new keyword choices and see how they rank. Plus, you’ll get content ideas from reading the search results for your updated keyword list.
Try using your existing keyword list to help you find new ones. Enter a keyword into the Google search bar. If you scroll down to the bottom of the first page of results, you should see a list of similar keywords people have used. It’s usually called “People also search for.”
Changing up your keyword use doesn’t have to be an all-consuming effort. With a few simple practices, you can ensure fresh keyword use consistently. Doing so will lead to no cannibalization while maintaining and improving the content your audience loves.
Enjoy DFY cannibalization trouble-shooting with Romain Berg.
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