Keyword cannibalization is a technical SEO term that describes an issue that happens when there are numerous pages that compete for the same keyword on the same website. Web pages are considered to be competing against each other when they are targeting the same keyword and satisfy the same search intent.
The cause of keyword cannibalism is covering the same topic or one very similar and optimizing for the same keyword or keyword phrase. If you have keyword cannibalism issues it can reduce your website’s performance in search results.
Some of the negative effects of keyword cannibalization are:
To avoid keyword cannibalization, you should follow some best practices such as:
In this blog post, we will discuss the problem of keyword cannibalism as it pertains to SEO, how it negatively impacts SEO, and offer suggestions to help you avoid this technical SEO issue that can cripple your rankings and traffic.
If you’ve been marketing your law firm online for a while then you know that crucial components of your strategy include creating and optimizing relevant content. Keyword cannibalism can
impact your website negatively by having too many pages targeting the same keywords.
The first example I want to give is in the case of a personal injury law firm. They decided to have separate pages for accidents. They had one page built for auto accidents and one for car accidents. While this may seem to make sense, in fact, it doesn’t work because both pages are optimized to target the exact same search intent – people looking for an attorney after an accident.
Another area where we see unintentional keyword cannibalism is with blog posts featuring long-tail keywords targeting the same search intent. A blog post titled “Things To Never Do After A Car Accident” and “Don’t Do This After An Auto Accident” are targeting the same keyword phrase and search intent.
It’s always best to avoid writing about the same subjects that are going after the same search intent so it doesn’t harm your efforts.
Keyword cannibalism can be very destructive to your law firm’s SEO strategy and prevent you from accomplishing your goals for ranking and traffic. Some of the issues are:
Ranking And Traffic Volatility – With few exceptions, the Google search algorithm isn’t going to display more than one page in the rankings for a particular search result. If you build multiple pages targeting the same keywords you are likely to see rankings and traffic bounce around between the pages.
Search Engine Confusion – Google constantly adjusts its algorithm in order to try to show the best search results to the person operating the search. When a website has multiple pages targeting the same keyword and search intent it can confuse the algorithm and cause volatility.
Bad Experience For Users – Keyword Cannibalism can cause the valuable visitors you are trying to turn into clients to leave and go back to the SERPS to find what they are searching for.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed at this point I don’t blame you. I’ve done SEO for 20 years and this is one of those areas that drives me mad trying to figure out what Google is thinking. Here are some of the things that need to be done to deal with keyword cannibalism.
Keyword research should be performed prior to beginning any new page or blog post to make sure you are utilizing the best keywords and keyword phrases and that you aren’t duplicating them on multiple pages.
It is a must to ensure that each page stands on its own and is unique from others even if you are writing about similar topics. Cover topics from different viewpoints so that they will help give the search engines good reason to rank them. For example, “5 Things To Never Do If Pulled Over For DUI” or “5 Things You Should Always Do If Stopped For DUI.”
The only way to stay on top of keyword cannibalism issues is to do regular content audits so that you are aware of the issues as soon as they come up. One of the best ways of dealing with resolving keyword cannibalization problems is to merge multiple pages together into one authoritative page and then redirect the old page URLs to the main one.
I am sure you can see after reading this post that the issue of keyword cannibalism is one that is difficult to deal with and not to be attempted by those without experience. We would love to have a conversation with you about your law firm and go over the many ways that we work with firms nationwide. Contact Forward Lawyer Marketing for a free consultation and site audit at (888) 590-9687.