What is content cannibalization and how can you avoid it?

Summit Ghimire January 6, 2022 - 4 minutes to read
content cannibalization scaled

Content cannibalization is when you have more than one piece of content on your site that targets the same audience. For example, if you post a blog about “How to Clean Your Kitchen” and write an article with ten kitchen cleaning tips, this can be considered content cannibalization. Many businesses do this unknowingly because they want their website visitors to see as many articles as possible for any given topic, but it can work against them.

Why should you care about content cannibalization?

When you have more than one piece of content targeting the same audience, it can hurt your SEO and confuse your readers. Duplicate content can be penalized by Google’s search engine rankings, and you could end up losing traffic to your site as a result. Additionally, if you have multiple pieces of content that are all saying the same thing, readers may not know which one to read, or they may get confused about what your company is trying to say.

So how can you avoid content cannibalization? Here are a few tips:

Tip 1: Identify Keyword Cannibalization: Keyword cannibalization is when you have more than one page on your site targeting the same keyword. This can be a significant issue for your SEO, and it’s essential to identify any pages competing for the same keywords. You can use Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool or Moz’s Keyword Explorer to help you find keywords that your site is targeting.

Once you’ve identified any pages with competing keywords, you’ll need to decide which page should target that particular keyword. It may make sense to keep both pages, but only if they offer different information or serve another purpose. If they’re essentially saying the same thing, then you’ll need to choose one page to focus on.

Tip 2: Identify potential content gaps: You can identify any missing or lacking content on your site by looking at the topics you’re already covering. For example, if you have a blog post about “How to Clean Your Kitchen” but don’t mention cleaning appliances like your oven or microwave, this would be an issue.

Once you’ve identified gaps in coverage, look for ways to fill those gaps with additional articles. If none of these ideas seem viable to address the gap directly (it may not make sense for your business), then consider alternative ways to say the same. If you need to refresh your blog, it might be better to delete the content altogether and work with a new one. Just remember that it’s better to have fewer high-quality posts than many low-quality ones!

Tip 3: Avoid irrelevant on-page keywords and keyword stuffing: If you’re targeting a particular keyword, make sure that it’s relevant to the page you’re trying to rank. Don’t include the keyword in every sentence or use so many keywords that your content becomes difficult to read. This is known as keyword stuffing, and it can hurt your SEO rather than help it. Targeting relevant keywords allows you to maintain content focus and avoid cannibalization. 

Tip 4: Avoid duplicate titles and meta descriptions: Duplicate titles and meta descriptions can also cause issues with your SEO. Make sure each of your pages has unique titles and descriptions that accurately reflect the article’s topic. You can use Google’s Webmaster Tools to check for duplicate title tags and meta descriptions.

Tip 5: Use canonical tags to direct traffic to the most relevant URL: If you have multiple versions of the same page (perhaps you have both a .html and .php version), you can use canonical tags to tell Google which one is the most relevant. This will help to prevent duplicate content issues and ensure that readers are directed to the correct page.

Tip 6: Use breadcrumb navigation for improved usability: Breadcrumb navigation is a great way to help your readers find their way around your site. It provides a trail of links that shows the reader where they are on the website and how they got there. This can be especially helpful for more significant sites with lots of pages.

Top 7: Position content as per the relevance of topics: When creating new content, think about how you can position it as relevant. You may want to consider using a blog post to promote a newly developed product page or position a video as the top result for a particular keyword. Thinking about its relevance can help you generate unique content over time. 

Tip 8: If you have two content that targets similar keywords, merge them: If you have two content pieces that target exact keywords but offer little value beyond their similarities, consider combining them. Try finding a central theme or idea that links both articles together, and use this as the basis for your new piece of content.

So, there you have it! By following these tips, you can avoid the problems associated with content cannibalization and create high-quality content that will help your SEO efforts. If you’re still having trouble avoiding content cannibalization, or if you’d like some additional help optimizing your website’s content, consider talking to a professional.