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Keyword Cannibalization

SEO self-sabotage and how to avoid it

What It Is

Keyword cannibalization is a scenario where multiple pages on your website target the same or similar keywords, leading them to compete against one another in search engine rankings. This competition can ultimately dilute your ranking potential and lower the overall search visibility for each of the competing pages.
The problem occurs when you have several pages that could potentially rank for the same query in search engines. While it may seem beneficial to have multiple chances to rank for a query, it actually confuses search engines as they try to find the most relevant page for a given keyword. This often leads to none of the pages performing as well as they could if they were uniquely targeted. It can be the difference between having a first page result and not.

How It Happens

Keyword cannibalization typically happens from an oversight in content planning or a lack of understanding of how search engines rank pages. Here are some common causes:
  • Duplicate Content: Creating multiple pages with content that is too similar or not distinctive enough.
  • Overlapping Topics: Writing about similar topics without a clear, unique angle or focus for each page.
  • Identical Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Using the same or highly similar title tags and meta descriptions for different pages.
  • Internal Linking Confusion: Inconsistent or improper internal linking that doesn't establish a clear hierarchy or relationship between pages.
Basically, keyword cannibalization happens when your content strategy doesn't adequately differentiate between the subjects and keywords each page should be targeting - or when you don't actually have a content strategy. This causes an internal competition where your own pages are vying for attention from search engines on the same topic. The result is often a fragmented SEO strategy that hinders your site's ability to rank prominently for your key terms.

How Machined Helps

The Machined Auto-Pilot cluster builder reduces the risk of keyword cannibalization by focusing on distinct but related keywords within a single topic area - this is why it's super important to define your topic and properly.
Since Machined constructs and writes the entire cluster at once, it can take the appropriate measures to reduce cannibalization from the get-go: avoiding duplicate content and constructing a strong interlinking profile for your cluster.