In a recent article on SEO Journal Online, SEO expert Patrick Stox gave his opinion that keyword cannibalization is massively misunderstood. He opines that you should see keyword cannibalization as an opportunity, not an obstacle. In that, we’re in agreement, but we don’t necessarily agree with his methodology.
Patrick states that having multiple keywords for the same pages is not an issue, as search engines have now reached a level of sophistication where they can understand pages better. While we agree with that in general, search engines don’t stop listening once they’ve found out a page’s keyword, we think that having one main keyword optimized per page allows you to have greater control over which content is offered for which query.
However, we agree with Patrick when he says that “intent is key”. This is where we think our strategy of 1 to 1 keyword to page really pays off. By focusing as best as you can on the one keyword you have chosen for your page, you can really match the intent in a targeted and user-friendly way. Although we do feel that machine learning is just starting to be viable and we still don’t trust it fully.
It’s All in the Data
Another point made by Stox, is that pages rank for more than one keyword. So why not put more than one keyword on a page. To an extent this is true, but we think the picture is a little bit more complicated than that. If you delve a little deeper into your Search Console you’ll see that while at face value it can appear a page is ranking for more than one keyword, actually it is Google matching multiple search terms to variants of that keyword.
What’s Keyword Cannibalization?
But, as the tweet from Gary Illyes says in the SEO Journal article, Google has “no clue” what keyword cannibalization is. Until they do we’re all just making the best conclusions we can with limited data. So, there are our 50 cents, what’s yours? Do you think keyword cannibalization is a danger to your SEO? Or not?
How can we help?
What do your links and content say about your site’s SEO? What does your data say in Search Console?
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