Keyword cannibalisation can actually be a pretty big issue and, the bad new is, it can be difficult to fix (but not impossible). Keyword cannibalisation refers to when you have a number of different pages on your website ranking for the same term, and the page that you want to rank the highest for a certain time is not your first listing in the results page.
So, what is essentially happening is that you are competing with yourself. As well as this, Google is now trying to limit the amount of listings from the same website. This could mean that the page you want to rank for a certain keyword doesn’t even show up at all because you’ve got another page ranking.
If you find this is the case and your website is experiencing keyword cannibalisation, then there are a few steps you can take to try and overcome this. Remember, that keyword cannibalisation in the first place can be difficult to spot. So, it might be a good idea enlisting the assistance of a professional SEO company to help locate and resolve this issue.
Have a read on below at some of the steps you can take to ensure you properly deal with keyword cannibalisation:
Step #1: Content Audit
The first place to start is your content. Your content has the keywords in it and will be the reason why you are having keyword cannibalisation issues. When your content has been audited you will have a clearer picture of the pages with the issues.
Step #2: Analysis Performance of Content
Based off your content audit you will have a better idea of what pieces of content are performing and which ones aren’t. Have a look at data from Google Analytics like amount of users on the page, bounce rate, time spent on page, etc.
This step as well as step #1 is important for you to make a decision on the articles that you should probably keep and the others that should either be merged or simply just deleted.
Step #3: Decision Time
After you have a better understanding of the performance of the different pages of content on your site, you can better make the decision of which ones you would like to keep. It is important that you do proper analysis in step #2 otherwise you just may end up removing or merging the wrong piece of content.
Once you have deleted or merged a piece of content, you generally cannot reverse the decision, so it is important that you are sure with what you are doing and you have looked at the data and you make data based decisions.
Step #4: Action Time
Once you have made your decision you need to act upon it! Generally the process is that you will merge two pieces of content to form one super awesome piece, then you will delete the old piece of content on the page that you don’t want to rank for, then you will redirect that old content URL to the page where the merged content is sitting on.
A big call out here is the redirect. If you don’t redirect properly then all of this hard work would be pretty much for nothing. Also when redirecting you are showing Google that you want all the SEO status and power of that old page to be pointed to the new and improved page.
Another thing you will need to consider when it comes to keyword cannibalisation is your internal linking structure. If you have a proper linking structure in place it makes Google’s job of understanding you website much easier.