Cannibalization is a situation when multiple pages on your webpage are optimized for the same SEO keyword. This results in a situation that prevents both assets or pages from getting significant solo results. It negatively affects your digital marketing campaign. In PPC (paid traffic), for identical keywords, several ad sets will compete for visibility. In SEO (organic traffic), two or more site pages will show up in the search results for the same query leading to cannibalization.
Examples of Keyword Cannibalization
If your webpage features blogs or articles which are of repetitive nature, it could lead to cannibalization. For example, consider you are featuring articles that detail how you outsource PPC services every year. If you tag them as ‘Outsource PPC services in 2018’, ‘Outsource PPC services in 2019’, ‘Outsource PPC in 2020’, and so forth, it will hurt your rankings for the keyword ‘Outsource PPC’ because you already have 3 or more pages on your website focused on ‘Outsource PPC’.
How Does Keyword Cannibalization Affect Your PPC?
After creating your ad campaign, you need to decide on two important settings – the keywords you bid for and the geographic areas where you want your ad promoted. Both can lead to cannibalization in your ad campaigns if you are not careful. Your paid traffic may overlap the organic traffic.
PPC Keyword Overlap
When you set up several ad sets with to compete for a certain keyword in Google Ads, it will end up raising the auction price. This is because one of your ad sets will enter with one price and you will be forced to set a higher price for the other ad. The trouble with this is that an ad which is less suited may win the auction for the keyword.
On the other hand, the geo overlap problem should also not be overlooked. This happens when your geo regions in your ad sets intersect or overlap. One example is when you set one ad for the capital of your country and another set for the whole country without excluding the capital. When the areas overlap, the auction price will be raised by your ads and there are chances that the winning ad will not be the one you want for that location. It is imperative to work closely with a Google Ads outsourcing agency to avoid this problem.
How Do You Find Keyword Cannibalization?
Discovering the problem areas and finding a timely solution to tackle it can help eliminate the problem of keyword cannibalization. There are many different ways to find keyword cannibalization. First is to carry out a content metadata audit by exporting your posts and pages to review title tags, meta descriptions, and focus keywords that you have set for those pages. Another way is to create a keyword content map. You would want to map your keywords to the content and by doing this you can find pages on your website that focus on the same keyword. The third way is to use Google Search Console where you can review individual search terms and search queries for specific pages. The fourth way is to do a Google Site Search by typing ‘site:yourwebsite.com’ and enter your keyword to see the ranking pages.
How To Avoid Keyword Cannibalization?
There are simple ways to avoid keyword cannibalization on your website. Firstly, just create one page. You can write one article about a particular topic such as ‘Google Ads Outsourcing’ and keep it updated on a yearly basis. So rather than writing a 2019, 2020 and 2021 version, just write one page on your website and have the URL as ‘Google Ads Outsourcing’ and keep it updated every single year. The second way is that if you do happen to have multiple articles targeting the same keyword, merge them into one article and set up 301 redirects and delete the old pages. What you want to do is that if you have 3 separate articles, find the page that is performing the best in the google search results. Keep that article and merge the other two articles with the top performing article giving you one large resource rather than three separate articles. Lastly, if you do have two pages on your website and you do not want to delete any of them or narrow them to just one page, you can use ‘canonical URLs’. In simple words, a canonical URL is the one that you are telling Google and other search engines this is the page you prefer to rank in your search engine.
By discovering keyboard cannibalization and implementing corrective measures detailed above, you can improve the PPC marketing campaigns.