Are You Cannibalizing Your Keywords?


Are You Cannibalizing Your Keywords?

Are you inadvertently jeopardizing your own website’s content efforts? Before we dive deeper, let’s shine a spotlight on an issue many of us overlook when creating new blog or podcast content: keyword cannibalization. At its core, it’s when you’ve got different articles or pages on your site, all competing for the number one spot on Google for the exact same keyword. It’s like having your own content battling it out in a friendly family feud.

What Is Keyword Cannibalization?

Remember the times when stuffing a post full of the same keyword was the way to go? Thankfully, that trend is long gone. Not only is it a dated practice, but it can actually harm your website’s chances of standing out.

Now, you might be wondering: Does this mean we can’t sprinkle our favorite keyword in more than one place? Absolutely not! The secret sauce here is ensuring that even if you use the same keyword, each piece of content should have its own special focus or angle.

Join us on this journey as we unpack the ins and outs of keyword cannibalization and share some handy pointers to help your content truly shine.

Spotting Keyword Cannibalization: Real-World Examples

Imagine you’re a nutritionist gearing up to produce content centered on “weight loss.” Here’s where you might accidentally fall into the keyword cannibalization trap:

Keyword Cannibalization Example #1:

  • Topic: “Top 10 Foods for Weight Loss”
    • For: Those curious about foods generally linked to weight loss.
  • Topic: “Weight Loss Diet: Best Foods to Shed Pounds”
    • For: Folks hunting for a list of diet-specific foods to jumpstart their weight loss journey.

A Better Approach?

  • Topic: “Exploring the Role of Superfoods in Weight Loss”
    • For: Anyone eager to deep dive into how superfoods can aid weight loss.
  • Topic: “Creating a Sustainable Weight Loss Diet: Food Choices and Strategies”
    • For: Readers aiming for a holistic weight loss strategy, from choosing foods to portion management.

Keyword Cannibalization Example #2:

Assume you’re in the business of selling must-haves like leashes and accessories for our adorable four-legged buddies.

  • Topic: “Choosing the Best Dog Leash for Training”
    • For: Dog parents searching for the ideal leash for their pup’s training sessions.
  • Topic: “Walking Your Dog: Picking the Perfect Leash”
    • For: Dog enthusiasts on the lookout for the ideal leash for their daily strolls.

A Better Approach?

  • Topic: “Mastering Dog Training: Finding the Optimal Leash for Obedience Drills”
    • For: Dedicated dog owners keen on the perfect leash to aid in training exercises.
  • Topic: “Enjoying Daily Walks: Selecting a Leisure-Perfect Leash”
    • For: Dog lovers wanting a comfortable leash to elevate their regular outings.

While the core keyword might be the same, the true difference lies in addressing distinct needs or search intents of your audience. It’s all about framing content in a way that serves specific queries, even when the core theme remains consistent. Remember, it’s not just about keywords—it’s about context.

3 Questions to Determine if You’re Keyword Cannibalizing Content

To ensure your content isn’t working against itself, consider running a quick audit. Here are three guiding questions to help you pinpoint potential overlaps:

  • Keyword Focus: What are the main keywords I aim to rank for?
  • Content Diversity: Does each page provide a unique perspective or delve into a different facet of the main topic?
  • Consolidation Potential: Can I merge related content to form a richer, more comprehensive guide?

Discovering overlaps? Consider revising the keyword focus of the overlapping content. Alternatively, combine those pieces to craft a definitive guide that’s both user-friendly and SEO-optimized.

How to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization

Navigating the world of content without succumbing to keyword cannibalization requires a proactive approach. Here are some actionable steps you can take:

  1. Establish Distinct Content Pillars: Clearly define and differentiate your primary topics to guide your content creation.
  2. Know Your Audience: Before you draft a post, ensure you have a deep understanding of your audience’s needs and preferences.
  3. Craft Clear Titles: Your title should not only be SEO-friendly but also resonate with and provide clarity to your readers.
  4. Refresh and Refine: If you suspect past content overlaps, take time to revise. Think about merging similar posts and redirecting outdated URLs to the new, enhanced content.
  5. Keep Tabs on Performance: Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor how your content fares in search results.

Above all, remember this golden rule: Prioritize user intent over mere keyword usage. Your primary aim should be to offer valuable insights that address your audience’s queries. By doing so, you’ll naturally align with search engine goals.

In the evolving landscape of content marketing and SEO, understanding and avoiding keyword cannibalization is more crucial than ever. By following the steps above and keeping your readers’ needs at the forefront, you’ll not only boost your SEO but also foster a more engaged and satisfied audience. Cheers to creating content that truly resonates!

3 Questions to Determine if You're Keyword Cannibalizing Content

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Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective, or to inquire about working with our team, head over to 

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