SEO cannibalization occurs when on the same website there are more than one URL competing to rank the same keyword. Although it may seem like a good idea to create a lot of content to rank for a specific keyword, the reality is that Google does not know which URL to rank for, so in the end it does not rank well for any of them.
Cannibalization can be prevented by keeping track of the content we have created and the kaeywords we use.
There are exceptions, for example websites with a lot of authority can hog all the top spots on a search intent page for a keyword. However, this is not the norm and it is generally important to use variants of a keyword to attack different search intentions.
Identifying SEO cannibalization
To identify SEO cannibalization we can use the command “site” in the Google search engine.
If we want to know if in TreceBits we are cannibalizing a URL, we access Google and enter the command: “site:trecebits.com *community manager” (without the quotes). The results for that keyword will be displayed in order, from highest to lowest authority, in the SERP. If all the content is correctly taggedwe will be able to find cannibalization in the results.
We can also identify cannibalization from Google Search Console. To do this, we access “search traffic” and “search analytics”. From this panel, we must filter the traffic by queries and filter by the keyword of your choice. The duplicate results will then be displayed.
How to fix cannibalization
A common solution was the “canonical” tags. However, this option only works correctly if the URL is new. In case it is old content, Google will have stopped checking it, as it knows it is duplicated.
Another option is to apply a “NoIndex” tag to the contents that we do not want to position or that have. less important for the strategy. However, this option is not as successful, since the tagged content will not appear in the SERPs and will only be accessible through internal links.
One of the best solutions would be to perform a 301 redirect from the bad URL to the good one. In this way, we are taking advantage of the positioning and relevance of the bad URL and send it to the one we want to position.
How to prevent SEO cannibalization
In order to prevent cannibalization it is important to have an control document with all the content we have created, the URLs and the keywords we have used. It is important to implement this type of document at the beginning of the activity, because in old websites with a lot of content, it can be complicated.
Another way to do this is to use the command “site:” in Google, followed by the keyword we want to use when creating content and analyze the results, looking for similar content that can be cannibalized.