What is internal competition for keywords?
If you work with the same keywords on multiple subpages, we call this keyword cannibalization, meaning that there is internal competition between the pages of the same site.
Search engine optimization involves entering specific keywords for subpages of your website. When doing this, it is best not to reuse individual search terms or groups of targeted keywords on more than one webpage, because one of the key principles of SEO is to ensure that certain keywords are reserved for only one specific URL. This also happens when you are optimizing for new keywords that your site is already ranking for without even knowing it.
Why should you avoid internal competition for keywords?
- Internal competition for keywords is an issue with Googlebot. The search spider can no longer identify a unique URL for the keyword it represents. This can lead to lower rankings and wasted crawl budget for the search spider
- Content that previously ranked well can get lost in the search engine index and new SEO metrics can fail to generate results with the expected high ranking.
- Your site may be indexed with multiple URLs under one keyword. This makes effective and strategic use of content impossible. Users access different content on the same topic and can perform different actions, rather than concentrating the traffic on a single page in a targeted manner.
- Refined ranking complicates SEO analysis and reporting. URLs and keywords appear frequently, making it difficult to evaluate and determine which pages are the correct ones for that keyword.
How does internal competition for keywords occur?
Internal keyword competition is not a deliberate action. Unwanted competition between keywords generally appears as an unintended secondary matter – for example, if a site owner or SEO officer loses old links while moving a site or changing the site’s link structure.
The following scenarios can result in different pages ranking for the same topic:
- Content is produced without the different departments of the company communicating properly, for example, sales, marketing and product development.
- When websites experience strong and rapid “growth” by producing massive amounts of content, some of that content may already be there but has been forgotten (this scenario is common in blogging).
- In the case of an online store, the product detail page, rating page or brand page, for example, is the one that is ranked in the search engine and the names of products may be similar in different sizes and colors and the struggle over the origin of the keyword remains between them.
- Many still believe in the “the more pages the better” and create multiple “keyword” pages. Of course, this is very wrong.
How do you avoid internal competition for keywords?
In principle, internal keyword competition can be avoided if you properly document your keyword strategy and regularly check your site’s ranking. This gives you an overview before each new optimization of the keywords you already use and whether the new measures will break up internal competition for your current ranking results.
Keep a list of the excel file containing the link column and the keywords column for which you have already created content so that you can easily search them before you start writing new content that you have already written.
Don’t lose sight of the very important SEO rule – one keyword per URL. This will help ensure that only one URL is classified for a specific set of keywords or a pre-defined set of keywords.
How do you discover the internal competition for keywords on your website?
There are several ways to check if your site is facing internal competition for keywords.
The quick and easy way is to use a suitable tool like Cannibalization Fetcher. Its website monitoring feature tells you if there is any competition for keywords in different sub-pages or sub-folders.
The manual method (too tedious) You can specify optimization actions for duplicate keywords via Google search, for example. When doing this, use the “site:” search operator to limit search results to your website only. Next, add the search operators “intitle:” or “inurl:” to your query and enter the keyword you want to check.
- site:yourdomain.com inurl:yourkeyword
- site:yourdomain.com intitle:yourkeyword
This will give you a list of all subpages that contain the keyword in the page title or URL and thus provide an excellent indication of any duplicate optimizations. Google Search Console is a great tool for finding duplicate rankings and internal competition for keywords. You can check double-order URLs using the Service Report function on the Pages tab. But this method is not easy either.
Therefore, it is preferable to use the express method because it uses artificial intelligence algorithms capable of scanning all the data on your site and I developed it myself over a long period of time.
How do you fix internal competition for keywords?
Now that you have the Cannibalization Report, you can now start eliminating internal competition for keywords on your pages:
If you can do without a particular URL, for example because it gets much fewer impressions and clicks and thus affects the ranking of another page, a 301 redirect can be used to redirect the user to the page with the best performance.
If you select two or more pages with related content, try combining them to create one new page and this often leads to a noticeable improvement in the ranking of this combined page. And don’t create a new link, just delete the page that gets less traffic and redirect its link to the link of the other page that gets more traffic after you embed the content on this last page.
Use the noindex
In some cases, you may want to keep both pages of the site. What you can do here is use the noindex tag that tells search engines not to include the “weakest” page in their search index. Google will continue to crawl the page but it will not appear in search results and this will be a signal to the search engine that it is not this page you are asked to archive, but the other one.
Change the set of keywords
Another popular solution is to change and expand the keyword set. If the content has been online for a long time, this is a good way to add new relevant keywords. The long tail (deep and sub) keyword set is especially important here.
Use the Cannonical Link Tag
If pages A and B are duplicates and B does not have a specific value to the user, the legal link tag in the page source code can be used to tell search engines that page A is the favourite. This is the perfect way to leave both pages in the index and let the search engine know which of the two pages is more important. But be careful not to use it unless the two pages are identical in content.
In the event that the content does not match, use the previous methods, so as not to give conflicting signals to the search engine that violate the functions for which the canonical link was tagged.
Conclusions about the internal competition for keywords
Multi-page optimization for a given keyword isn’t particularly helpful. This repetition can prevent one page from ranking higher in search results. Realizing this is the first step towards avoiding these interferences from occurring in the first place.
There are different ways to check if multiple pages are ranking for the same keywords in the Google search index as we mentioned earlier and it is preferable to run them periodically every 3 months as I do.
Once you do that, you then have to determine the best solution that meets your needs. This depends on a number of factors. For example, how many subpages are affected overall, what is the focus on individual keywords, and how much work I am willing and able to monetize.
I hope that I have succeeded in explaining this problem and explaining how to discover the internal competition for keywords in your site and how to break this competition!
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