What is Keyword Cannibalization? When more than one webpage on a website ranks for the same keyword. This is considered keyword cannibalization because you only want one webpage ranking for each keyword. Since each page should have the content relevancy for one targeted keyword, due to targeting user intent. Sometimes whole websites can be targeting the same keyword, due to a lack of keyword research and content relevancy plan.

This can cause keyword rankings to plummet and the loss of website traffic and sales quickly after. And in turn hurts on page SEO and will skew analytical metrics since goal conversions will be split between many webpages for the same keyword groupings. Users don’t want to be given the run around, they want to find the information they searched for. When users click on a category cms webpage, duplicate webpage, or unrelated webpage that may happen to be ranking for the targeted keyword of another page, users lose trust and click the back button.

Keyword cannibalization hurts a website in multiple ways, via:

  • Conversion Rate – If multiple webpages are targeting the same keyword, then a website is spreading web traffic among multiple webpages when targeting one will result in a better crafted call to action around that keyword. It’s highly unlikely every webpage that is ranking for the same keyword is relevant to that keyword, thus users are not having their search query satisfied.
  • Content Relevancy – When multiple webpages target the same keyword, as mentioned above, they all aren’t written for the keyword targeted or else there is a duplicate content problem. So that means there are webpages ranking for keywords that when users read, aren’t sending the message of the keyword the user searched for. Sending all sorts of untrustworthy, spammy signals.
  • Backlink Optimization – Backlinks help keywords rank, however, when multiple webpages target or rank for the same keyword, they also will all share the backlink keyword boosts. So webpages have less chances of out performing competitors when keywords boosts are spread throughout many webpages, rather than one webpage.
  • User Optimization – If you haven’t be able to tell so far, keyword cannibalization is just bad user optimization. Sending potential customers to webpages that don’t speak the message they need to see based on the search they entered, is just bad marketing. If you owned a physical storefront, but placed all your advertising across the street, would you expect to get any sales? The same applies here, don’t send potential customers to webpages that aren’t crafted for them.

It’s important to try an stay focused on providing the correct information for potential customers in all stages of their internet marketing funnel. The right keyword focused content and call to action could become your next website goal conversion. When keywords research isn’t organized and grouped it’s easy for keyword cannibalization to occur. Sending a potential user to a user to seek another marketing funnel to be enticed by.

Internet users can be grouped into 3 main marketing funnels:

  • Leisure Marketing Funnel – The user isn’t looking for anything and is basically browsing.
  • Research Marketing Funnel – The user is looking for information, either to purchase later on or for another reason.
  • Sales Marketing Funnel – The user is looking to purchase a product or service, they have a need to be filled.

So depending on the keywords used, will also depend on the types of users in various stages of their marketing funnel. There is no particular order that internet users will follow, some will research before they buy and others will just search to purchase. Websites should be organized in such a way to allow for proper siloing of keyword sections. The more organized a website is, the more information a user finds, the more likely they will be to become a customer.

Is Your Website Suffering From Keyword Cannibalization?

If you think you have a keyword cannibalization problem, contact SEOByMichael and have an SEO audit done to find out. Not knowing could be causing your conversion rates to drop and you may just think it’s a bad season. Don’t wait, have an SEO expert take a look under your website’s hood.