What is keyword streaming in digital marketing

SEO Problem Keyword Cannibalism: What's Behind It?

Nobody wants to compete with their own content on Google and Co. Even so, keyword cannibalism is a common and often undetected problem for websites. We explain what's behind it and how you can avoid it.

Do you pay attention to good, high-quality content and you regularly publish new content and optimize your keywords in terms of search engine optimization - or SEO for short?

You're actually doing everything right. Nevertheless, you notice that you are getting little traffic to your website and that you have a bad Google ranking. This could be caused by keyword cannibalism.

So you compete with search engines with your own keywords on your website. Even if this happens mostly unconsciously: It is a real problem and damages your domain in the long term.

Causes of Keyword Cannibalism

Keyword cannibalism often arises when a website has a special focus and therefore produces several articles on the same keyword.

Let's say you sell teas. Then you publish an article with the title “What is environmentally friendly tea?” And another with the headline: “Normal tea vs. organic tea: which is healthier?” You optimize both texts for the keyword “organic tea”.

If someone searches for this term, Google cannot decide between your two texts - and places both in the middle of the field. So exactly where no user ever ends up and accordingly you won't get any clicks.

Recognize and optimize bad SEO

The problem with keyword cannibalism is that it usually happens unconsciously and you often no longer know that you have already produced a text for the same keyword. So how do you know that this is the case with your website in the first place?

There are several indications for this:

  • For the same keyword you have several pages in the ranking - with different positions.
  • Again and again you notice strong fluctuations in your Google ranking.
  • Your website ranks alternately with different URLs for the same search term.

If you find that out, you are likely to have keyword cannibalism. So what can you do to improve your ranking?

There are several options, and depending on the individual case, one approach may suit your situation better than another. But sometimes you have to try different solutions in order to then choose the better one.

Summarize texts

One option is, for example, to combine the two competing URLs into one text. It makes sense to use the “more relevant” text. So this is the one that gets you the most traffic. It can make sense to expand the content so that Google also has more "food" here.

Correct forwarding

If you want to keep both texts, you should refer to the more relevant text with a prominent anchor link in the second text. With this you are signaling to Google that your main text is important and thus making it rank higher.

The other text should then preferably no longer have the same keyword. You can either add the attribute “noindex, follow” or refer to the main text via the “Canonical URL” so that the “less important” text is no longer taken into account by Google in the ranking.

Another possibility is forwarding to the main text via "Redirect 301". This means that users automatically only find one article for the corresponding search term.

Adjust keyword

If you want to advertise two different products with the competing articles, another alternative would be to build two different landing pages for the two.

Finally, you can of course also change the keyword in an article. Is there any other relevant search term you can use? Then choose this or search for a long-tail keyword for the original term. In the example above, this could be something like “order organic tea online”.

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To avoid keyword cannibalism, it can be helpful to keep a table with all your keywords or to use appropriate SEO add-ons that show you when a keyword is repeated.

Well worth the effort. Because with it you will be able to improve your Google ranking in the long term.

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