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Keyword Cannibalization: What it Is & How to Avoid It Completely


Does creating SEO content to build your brand
and grow your authority online sometimes feel like a vortex of same old same old? Have you
ever found yourself wondering did I just create too much content on the same topic? then you’ll
want to stick around for today’s video on keyword cannibalization.
Before we get into it, here’s my 60 seconds or less in the life of Julia update. Though,
this fall, I’m working every single day writing on my book going through the developmental
edits I got back from my editor. This is my third book and narrative non-fiction memoir,
which I’m really excited to share with you. It’s a story of how I escaped a call in the
middle of the night at 21 and built a life that I love, including building multiple businesses.
It’s the story of that. So, every day I’m working on that book. And
this fall and express writers were full steam ahead. We’re doing lots of amazing content
projects for our clients, keeping our writers and our team busy. We have a couple positions
open. They all work from home. We editors and a part time Support Specialist. If you
want to hear more anything, you could be a fit, email us here, and I’ll get back to you.
And finally, even though I said I tried to take on less, I couldn’t say no to the invitation
to co-write a leading experts new book on SEO. I’ve been a huge fan of Ryan Stewart.
I�ve been following him for years. So, when he asked me to help him co-write this new
book, I said yes. He’s all about growth focused marketing through great SEO and great content.
He’s build and sold multiple businesses and consulted for leading a brands. So, I’m really
excited about this project. And if you wonder how I get so much writing done, maybe that’s
another video. Let me know in the comments. Okay, let’s get into today’s topic. What exactly
is keyword cannibalization? This is when a site has more than one content piece targeting
the exact same keyword, typically, unintentionally. When this happens, you’re diluting your page
authority and you’re potentially accidentally eating the chances of your own rankings. That’s
why it’s called keyword cannibalization. So, instead of you telling Google Hey, you know,
here’s my amazing piece of content I’ve created that’s comprehensive, it’s the best on this
topic, you’re throwing content at Google hoping something sticks. That doesn’t work.
Eric Ini, one of the lead writers of the art of SEO has said that keyword cannibalization
is like writing a really good book but every chapter is on the same exact topic. That’s
not really a page turner. He has this illustration to show how keyword cannibalization kills
site SEO and what can be done instead. So, instead of multiple pages on the same exact
topic, you can kind of create a hierarchy, a menu and link to similar pages. And the
only thing I would clarify on this topic is that when you’re creating tons of content
on the same keyword, you’re not confusing Google, because in the end, Google picks the
content that best matches the search users intent.
So, Google is making the most informed choice from your content on which to rank. But the
negative side effect that often happens with keyword cannibalization is that you often
have one icky piece of content ranking above an awesome piece of content. Joshua Hardwick,
the lead writer at AA traps, an amazing marketer. We interviewed him on the content hacker spotlights
recently. He has this example; if you google the phrase �competitor backlink analysis�,
you’ll see two different blogs ranking in positions number six and seven.
The result in position six is over four years old. It’s around 1000 words instead of their
typical 2000 words, the screenshots are outdated of an old UI. But the one at position seven
is amazing. It’s an up to date blog with current advice. But because they’ve already written
on this topic twice, they’re cannibalizing their position. So, we’re going to talk about
three ways to fix it when this happens. But first, let’s talk about a scenario when keyword
cannibalization actually may not hurt you. Because as strange as that sounds that can
happen. Here’s an example from bodybuilding.com. They rank in the first one and two spots for
back and bicep workout. Now, if you study these two content pieces,
each feature a different workout by a different expert. So, if you’re in the ideal audience
for this site, and let’s say you already know your experts, and you’d rather have a workout
from one versus the other, you’re going to click on the one you like the most. bodybuilding.com
is not cannibalizing their keyword rankings, because each of those content pieces serves
a purpose for their audience. Another example of frequent question I get
about keyword cannibalization not being an issue is when you have one core keyword term
that you’re using over and over in long tail keyword versions. So for example, here’s a
few keywords we’ve targeted on the right blog; blogging statistics, best blogging service,
blogging packages for law firms. Yes, those all contain the word blogging, but they’re
not cannibalizing each other because we’re going after a different topic for each keyword
focus. We have different long tail keywords for each of those, and a unique content piece.
So, three different keywords, three different content pieces, you could say targeting three
different audiences, even though they all contain the same core term. That’s okay. That’s
not keyword cannibalization as long as your content is unique in each different peaks.
Okay, so let’s say the worst is happening to you; keyword cannibalization is occurring.
What do you do to fix it? There are three ways that I’ll share with you. The first one,
one of the best ones is to merge and update old content. So, if you have those two pieces
on the identical topic or keyword, pick the best one, merge the content that’s good from
the Old Post into that new one and make that your single focus piece. And it’s always best
to have an expert, a writer and editor go through that piece, make sure it’s flawless,
its current comprehensive. You have a new meta title, meta description so you get the
most out of it. Don’t forget to 301 redirect the URL of that old piece to the new piece
and then just delete and trash that old one. Number two, straight up delete that old version.
If you have a truly icky piece of content, just remove it from your site. But before
you do to avoid any 404 scenarios, just 301 redirect the link to something that’s more
current and relevant. And that way, you completely avoid a scenario where someone’s clicking
on that link somewhere, and they’re ending up on a 404, which is really bad. You don’t
want that to happen. Number three, I don’t recommend this. But
in some scenarios, it can work. You can no index pages that are duplicate in topic to
each other. So, let’s say for example, you’re an e commerce shop and your audience comes
from Facebook advertising, your source is not SEO traffic, you might have multiple products
that kind of mirror each other. So, that’s where you can go in and no index each page
which simply gets those pages out of search results. Now this isn’t ideal because for
me, I love SEO traffic. And every piece of content we publish, we try to earn SEO results.
But that can work in some scenarios. And finally, to wrap up, if you’re in a place
where you have a ton of content, maybe years of publishing content, and you’re not sure
what the heck could be keyword cannibalized versus what’s good, use a tool like Screaming
Frog to export all your site pages, put them in Excel, and then you can see which pages
are duplicate to each other at a glance. And you can start a very high ROI project of content
cleanup. Cleaning up your old content, fixing these issues merging, updating, rewriting
is so critical to your site’s health in SEO results. And oftentimes, that can be a better
place to spend your time, energy, investment, then creating new content if you have a ton
of content that really needs to be cleaned up.
Be sure to hit that subscribe button if you haven’t already to catch my new videos every
single month. I hope that you enjoyed today’s video. If you have any questions on this pretty
crazy topic of keyword cannibalization, let me know in the comments and I’ll get back
to you. And hit like on this video if you were able to learn anything that will help
your SEO and your search results from content. I look forward to seeing you around.
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