How to Find and Fix Content and Keyword Cannibalization Issues in Websites
January 20, 2020
According to an on-page SEO study, 29 percent of 800,000+ pages crawled had duplicate content.
Now, you might consider your website to be averse to this issue but the truth is the problem is not always external. As your site continues to grow, the quantity of your content will increase. A lot of these posts will cover similar topics. So, it’s not unusual for your content to compete with itself despite your best categorization efforts.
The problem of Keyword and Content Cannibalization
A key aspect of your content maintenance work should be identifying and correcting keyword cannibalization problems.
Keyword or content cannibalism occurs when your site contains multiple articles with the same kind of content and the same keyword. A lot of growing websites face this problem. Search engines find it hard to distinguish between similar articles and rank them lower as a result.
Solving the Keyword and Content Cannibalization Issue
In many instances, the only way to resolve keyword cannibalization is deleting and merging content. So how do you deal with a cluster of keywords in your content? Find out below:
Audit the Website Content
First, find all the content on your website related to a certain topic. This should be fairly simple if your content contains tags. More often than not, you will find several posts about a specific topic.
A site: search in Google will turn up missing articles on your website that the search engine considers to be about that particular topic. Simply type site:<your website URL> and then enter the keyword you want to search for within quotes (“ “). Google will provide all the pages and posts on your website that mention the topic.
For example, site:bleedingcool.com “marvel” shows all pages on Bleeding Cool that cover Marvel-related content.
Audit your content for specific keywords to:
- Improve your site rankings around the cluster of keywords related to a topic
- Analyze which pages on your site are ranking and which ones are not
- Determine whether your website requires content maintenance
Analyze Content Performance
Head over to the Google Search Console and go to the Performance section. Click the filter bar there:
Click the Query button and then type the keyword you want into the box (in this case keyword research):
Google Search Console will then match all queries containing the words ‘keyword’ and ‘research’. Use this method to get two very crucial pieces of data:
- List of keywords on your website that come up in the search results for those keywords as well as their clicks and click-through rate (CTR)
- List of pages receiving traffic and volume of traffic received by each of the pages
Consider the total number of clicks received for the queries and then analyze the individual pages. You will find that some pages receive maximum traffic even though there are more articles covering the same topic. Proceed with the cleanup. Of course, make sure you check every post individually so you do not throw away posts on your website that generate traffic but are not included in this lineup.
Disable the Query filter and instead opt for the Page filter. Filter on the basis of a particular URL or a group of URLs. If you have a large website, the latter option is more feasible. Take a look at the data for individual posts, which works great if you wish to find and fix keyword and content cannibalization on your site.
Make Your Decision
During the content maintenance process, go through every post and decide whether to keep or delete it. If you want to delete a post, redirect users to a different post. Distinguish between basic posts and advanced content, and redirect users accordingly.
Evaluate whether your posts contain sections that can be merged into a different article. Look for paragraphs or whole sections that can be merged into other posts. Some posts on your site may not rank for certain keywords, but you may still need to keep them due to their reach for the search terms. In this case, redirect other content about the topic to that particular article.
Take Decisive Action
Take action when necessary. Create a list of action items such as content that must be added to certain articles. Then delete each article that piece of content was derived from. Remember to redirect a page or post in the appropriate sections when you delete it.
Keyword cannibalization problems are often overlooked. However, they can become a major hindrance to the ranking prospects of websites that have been live for many years and have numerous pages. Monitor the issue carefully and find instances to speed up the process. Rely on a logical approach while considering SEO elements like content duplication and crawlability. Test the changes first before you apply them permanently throughout your site.
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