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How To Identify & Eliminate Keyword Cannibalization To Boost Your SEO

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How To Identify & Eliminate Keyword Cannibalization To Boost Your SEO


Do you have multiple pages on your website ranking for the same keyword?

That may sound like a good thing.

After all, the more pages you have in search results, the more impressions you will receive from search users, right?

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Targeting a specific term across multiple pages can have the opposite effect. You may do more harm than good to your SEO for that keyword.

The reason is simple — when you have multiple pages ranking for the same keyword, you force your pages to compete with each other.

Consequently, each page has a lower CTR, diminished authority, and lower conversion rates than one consolidated page would have.

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We call this SEO misstep keyword cannibalization.

What Is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is known as such because you’re “cannibalizing” your own results by splitting CTR, links, content, and (often) conversions between two pages that should be one.

When you do this, you aren’t showing Google the breadth or depth of your knowledge. You aren’t improving the authority of your site for that query, either.

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Instead, you’re asking Google to weigh your pages against one another and choose which ones it thinks suits the matching keywords best.

For example, let’s say that your website sells shoes, and [shoes] is the only keyword you target. You’re essentially telling Google that every page is about shoes regardless of whether they’re hiking shoes, tennis shoes, sneakers, etc.

Instead of capitalizing on a lot of valuable longer-tail keywords such as women’s shoes, running shoes, etc., you’re competing against yourself for one keyword that may be too broad to have commercial intent.

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6 Negative Effects Keyword Cannibalization Can Have On Your SEO

Keyword cannibalization can have disastrous consequences for your SEO. Many people suffering from keyword cannibalization aren’t even aware there’s an issue.

They might even be happy that one page is ranking in the fifth and sixth slot for their targeted keyword, without realizing that one authoritative page would probably rank higher and convert better.

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The practical consequences are clear. However, lost site traffic, queries leading to the wrong page, fluctuating SERP rankings, and ultimately lost sales may also result, and are more difficult to detect.

Why?

Because…

You’re Diminishing The Authority Of Your Page

Instead of having one highly authoritative page, you’re splitting your CTR among multiple moderately-relevant pages.

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Essentially, you’ve turned your pages into competitors and now you’re fighting for pageviews and SERP rankings.

Consider it from the point of view of a reader looking for a new book on Amazon. Would you rather have one, in-depth book about a topic that demonstrated your expertise?

Or would you prefer to have two or more less complete books about a topic, each leaving you wishing there was more information?

You’re Diluting Your Links & Anchor Text

Backlinks that could have gone to one consolidated source of information are now being split between two (or more) pages.

The outreach efforts spent on acquiring 10 links for one page and 15 links for another could have been spent acquiring 25 links for one better-performing page.

Furthermore, a complete, in-depth page is more likely to be linked to than lighter, less comprehensive pieces.

Similarly, your anchor text and internal links are leading visitors to multiple different pages instead of one authoritative page on the subject.

Google May Devalue The More Relevant Page

Keywords are one of the main ways in which we help Google understand what our pages are about.

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If all of your keywords are the same, Google tries to understand which page is the best fit – and if your content is too similar, it might get it wrong.

For example, let’s say you have two pages ranking for the same keyword. If the higher converting page ranks lower, you could be missing out on high-value, converting traffic.

You’re Squandering Crawl Budget

Your crawl budget is the number of times a search engine spider crawls your website in a given time period.

Having multiple pages devoted to the same keyword results in the crawling and indexing of pages that aren’t needed.

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Note: Small sites probably won’t notice a difference or ever have to worry about their crawl budget, but large ecommerce sites or vendors with multiple products may.

It’s A Sign of Poor Page Quality

Multiple pages targeting the same keyword tells your users that your content is probably stretched thin. It also signals to Google that your content may not match your keywords on each page.

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Your Conversion Rate Will Suffer

Inevitably, one of your pages will convert better than the rest.

Instead of directing new visitors to that page and making it the most authoritative page possible, you’re instead losing potential leads when they land on less relevant pages.

How To Identify Keyword Cannibalization

Fortunately, once you’ve identified the problem, fixing keyword cannibalization is easy.

Identifying keyword cannibalization is as easy as creating a keyword matrix.

Simply create a spreadsheet that lists all of your site’s important URLs and their associated keywords.

For example, if your site sells shoes, then your spreadsheet might look like this:

Screenshot Taken by Author

Alternatively, you can use a keyword mapping tool, which might look like this:

Keyword Cannibalization Mapping ToolScreenshot Taken by Author

Once you’ve listed your URLs and their keywords, run down the list and look for any duplicate entries.

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If you spot any – especially across core pages – you’re probably suffering from keyword cannibalization.

Now it’s time to fix those pages!

Note that keyword cannibalization can even occur if the meta information in your title tags seems to target the same keyword, so double-check those, too.

If you’re using a rank tracking tool, you may also want to take this opportunity to search for thin content and keywords mistakenly applied to the wrong page.

It’s a good time to give your site a little TLC.

How To Fix Keyword Cannibalization

How you solve keyword cannibalization depends on the root of the problem.

More often than not, the issue is simply one of organization. But particularly stubborn cases may require that you break out the 301s or new landing pages.

Here are five possible solutions.

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1. Restructure Your Website

The simplest solution is often to take your most authoritative page and turn it into a landing page, which links to other unique variations that fall under the umbrella of your targeted keywords.

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If we return to our shoe-product example, it might make sense to make “shoes” our canonical source page and link all more specific variations back to it.

2. Create New Landing Pages

Alternatively, you might lack a landing page that consolidates all of your product pages in one place.

In this case, you’d benefit from creating a unique landing page to serve as your authoritative source page and link to all of your variations from there.

In our example, we might create a page called “hiking shoes” and another called “sneakers for men.”

These should allow you to target both broad keyword terms with your consolidated pages and long-tail keywords on your variations.

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3. Consolidate Your Content

If your pages aren’t unique enough to warrant having multiple pages targeting the same keyword, consider combining them into one page.

This is a chance to take two underperforming pages and turn them into a more authoritative source. It may also solve thin content issues.

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Start with your analytics to determine which page performs best in terms of traffic, bounce rate, time on page, conversions, etc. You may find that one page receives most of the traffic, but the other has the content that converts more users.

The goal, in this case, could be to consolidate the converting copy content on the page with the most traffic. Ideally, you would be able to maintain the same ranking and convert more of the traffic.

An added benefit of this approach is that you won’t have to worry about having your website penalized for content that Google considers thin or cookie-cutter-like.

4. Find New Keywords

Finally, if you’re already blessed with highly diverse, content-rich pages, and the only thing your website is suffering from is a poorly planned keyword strategy, maybe all you need to do is find new keywords.

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Just make sure your keywords accurately describe your page’s content. Will a website visitor who searched for the target keyword be satisfied by the content on each page that ranks for it?

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If the answer is no, it may be time to do some keyword research.

Looking at your pages in a spreadsheet with the following details can help you spot better keyword opportunities for similar pages:

  • Keyword & rank.
  • The page URL.
  • SEO title & meta description.
  • Word count.
  • Organic traffic.
  • Bounce rate.
  • Conversions.

This should help you spot pages targeting the same keywords.

From there, you can determine which pages are most valuable, which can be consolidated, and which need new keywords.

In most cases, you can use your keyword research tool to find the most relevant keywords for all of the pages you want to keep.

If you have two pages ranking well for a long-tail keyword, see if there is a related broad term you could be focusing on for one of them to capture more traffic.

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Once you find that keyword, reoptimize for it accordingly and update the details in your spreadsheet for future reference and performance tracking.

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5. Use 301 Redirects

While I generally advise against using too many 301 redirects (see my list of the 10 Most Harmful Mobile SEO Mistakes), they might be necessary if you already have multiple pages ranking for the same terms.

Using 301s allows you to consolidate your cannibalized content by linking the less relevant pages to a single, more authoritative version.

Keepin mind though that this tactic is suitable only for pages with similar content and those matching specific keyword queries.

Conclusion

These five solutions will fix most cases of keyword cannibalization. Still, if you manage an ecommerce website, you should be particularly careful to note how your CMS separates products with variable sizes and colors.

Some CMS programs create separate pages for every product variation.

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If your CMS is organizing products like this, you should either restrict duplicate pages from being indexed using robots.txt or <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”> tags, or you should use canonical URLs to consolidate link signals for the duplicate content.

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Keyword cannibalization is more prevalent today than ever before.

Ironically, its victims are usually webmasters who recognize the importance of SEO for their business. Yet while they intend to optimize their site, they don’t fully understand how to ‘speak’ Google’s language.

Fortunately, if your website is cannibalizing its target keywords, solutions aren’t hard to come by — and the damage isn’t permanent.

With the right tools and a “can-do” attitude, you can give your SEO a well-deserved boost.


Featured image: Paulo Bobita/SearchEngineJournal

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Running Amazon Deals And Discounts: A Complete Guide

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Running Amazon Deals And Discounts: A Complete Guide

Amazon offers several different types of deals and discounts.

Utilizing these deals and discounts can impact your click-through rate, conversion, and even the overall success of your product launch.

In this article, we will outline the types of deals and discounts Amazon makes available to sellers and how you can utilize them to help drive awareness and sales for your products.

Lighting Deals

Screenshot from Amazon, September 2022
Running Amazon Deals And Discounts: A Complete GuideScreenshot from Amazon, September 2022
Lighting Deals and 7-Day Deals show on the Today’s deal page. Lighting Deals also show the percentage of items claimed.

Lightning Deals are probably the most well-known deal on Amazon.

When you run a Lighting Deal, it runs for a specific time set, and you commit to a specific number of units.

These deals are highlighted on the Today’s Deals page with the Limited Time Deal badge and the discount percentage.

Outside of the Today’s Deals page, the badge and discount percentage also show in the search results.

lightning deal Amazon exampleScreenshot from Amazon, September 2022

With Lightning Deals, you select a specific number of units to be included in the deal, and a countdown of the percentage of discounted units displays on the product detail page.

The actual product detail page shows a countdown of the total number of units still available as part of the deal in the area next to the product’s Buy Box.

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Together, the badge, percentage off, and the claimed percentage can increase impulse purchases by increasing a sense of scarcity for this deal.

With Lightning Deals, one thing to remember is that you have little to no control over when your deal will run.

While you can select a deal window where you know your deal will run, you cannot select the exact date and time.

If you select a deal during an event like Prime Day, the deal will run only during the event, but you will not be able to select the day or time.

For non-events, there will typically be a list of weeks for you to choose from for a deal fee. For non-peak shopping days, this fee is usually $150. The fee for Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday can be significantly more.

According to Amazon:

“A Lightning Deal is a time-bound, promotional offer where an item is featured for a limited number of hours, usually 4 to 12 hours (as determined by Amazon), on the Amazon Deals page.”

So your deal may run on a Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. PST, or your deal could run from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. PST on a Sunday.

While, of course, the time the deal runs can impact the effectiveness of your lighting deal, the type of product you are offering can also significantly impact the number of customers interested in your deal.

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In our experience, items a customer might have been looking for an excuse to buy do the best for Lighting deals.

Maybe they have been eyeing that Roomba, LEGO Set, or luxury home product, but have been watching for a discount that would justify splurging on the item.

These items do the best with Lightning deals. The short duration of these deals provides the scarcity needed to compel purchases.

Commodities and items like groceries tend to underperform in Lightning Deals compared to the results of the products that are more coveted, as mentioned above.

7-Day Deals

If you are looking for a little bit more control on when your promotion will be run, you might want to look at 7-Day Deals. As the name suggests, these deals run for a full seven days.

While you will not get the countdown on the number of units offered, your deal will be featured on the Today’s Deal Page and show the discounted amount in search.

7 Day deals do not require you to select a specific number of units to commit to. They also provide enough time to amplify your deal via social media and your email list if you desire. These deals have a fee that starts at $300.

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We recommend that you test both Lighting Deals and 7-Day Deals to determine their effectiveness for your product mix.

Event Deals

Deadlines for event deals can vary by account. For deals like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime day, you need to check your Deals Dashboard in Seller Central. You will see that in the dashboard if you are eligible to submit a deal.

The deal fee for 7-Day Deals and Lighting Deals for events is more expensive than for non-event dates. That’s because Amazon anticipates significantly more potential traffic to your deal during these times.

Remember, even if you are too late to secure a deal for Black Friday, you can often still submit a deal for the period between Cyber Monday and Christmas, for instance – as well as run Prime Exclusive Discounts and Coupons.

Eligibility

Amazon outlines in detail what is required for a deal to be eligible for a 7-Day Deal or Lighting deal in its support documents.

To be eligible for deals, you must be a professional seller with an overall rating of at least 3.5-stars. Additionally, products must meet these criteria:

Not every product is eligible to run deals. You cannot submit a deal if your product does not appear eligible in the Deals Dashboard in Seller Central.

It is also important to note that any coupons or discounts run simultaneously will be combined with your deal.

That means the coupon will still be available on top of the discounted price available through your 7-Day Deal or Lighting Deal.

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For both deal types, Amazon will provide a minimum discount per unit that would need to be offered for the deal to be eligible.

Discounts

In addition to deals, Amazon also provides two different types of discounts you can run on your Amazon product detail pages.

These are Prime Exclusive Discounts and Coupons. Discounts don’t require the same lead time as deals and have less stringent eligibility and discount requirements.

Let’s go through the details for each type of discount.

Coupons

Coupons are great tools for increasing your conversion rate. These coupons show in search and on the product detail page.

Because these deals show in both ads and search, coupons can also increase your CTR for well-optimized products.

All products are eligible for coupons. With coupons, you are only charged $0.60 when a coupon is redeemed. You will not be charged if a customer clicks a coupon but does not check out.

You can also see how many people clipped your coupons versus redeeming them. This reporting is found in Seller Central under Advertising > Promotions.

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Prime Exclusive Deals

Prime Exclusive Deals (PED) are only available to Prime members. If a customer is not a member of Amazon Prime, they will have the option to join Prime.

While there is no charge for these discounts, there are stricter requirements around what products are eligible for Prime Exclusive Deals compared to coupons at the time of this writing. Additionally, customers will not need to clip or redeem this offer; it is available automatically.

When first launched, Prime Exclusive Deals appeared with a badge and discounted amount – in both search results and the product detail page.

In the last week, Prime Exclusive Deals have only shown some products’ Prime Exclusive Deal information on the product detail page.

Amazon provides the requirements for Prime Exclusive Deals within the Prime Exclusive Deal workflow as follows:

  • The item needs to be a nationally Prime shipping eligible product.
  • The Prime Exclusive Discount must meet all regular eligibility criteria.
  • The product must have at least a 3.5-star rating or no rating.
  • The discount must be at least 20% off the non-Prime member’s non-promotional price.
  • The discount must be at most 80% off the non-Prime member’s non-promotional price.
  • The discount must be lower than the reference price (that is, List Price or Was Price). Learn more about Reference Prices and how to show a reference price to your products.
  • The Prime Exclusive Discounted price must be lower than the lowest price for the ASIN in the past 30 days. The lowest price in the last 30 days is the lowest order price for the ASIN in that period, including all deal, promotional, and sale prices across all merchants.
  • You must be a seller with at least 4 Seller Feedback Rating when the seller rating is available. Amazon looks at the last 365-day rating average if there are 10 or more ratings in that period. If there are less than 10 ratings in the last 365 days, Amazon considers the lifetime average rating.

*Note: A different set of criteria is posted in Seller Help documents; however, we find that the items within the workflow are the most accurate.

Testing Your Pricing With Deals

Prime Exclusive Deals and Coupons can be a great way to test a lower price for your items.

If you are concerned that your pricing might deter potential customers, we always recommend that you test a lower price with a discount before lowering your overall price.

Simply lowering the price on your product, instead of testing with a discount, can cause Buy Box suppression if you decide to return to the original higher price.

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If Amazon sees your current price on Amazon is higher than the average over the last 30 days, Amazon will often suppress the Buy Box on your items.

A suppressed Buy Box can cause your conversions to decrease significantly.

When the Buy Box for your products is suppressed, customers must click about three extra times to make a purchase. Also, you will be unable to run any ads while your product’s Buy Box is suppressed.

Testing with deals instead of simply lowering your price allows you to have the data you need to make an informed decision about whether or not to lower your price. It also limits any potential long-term negative effects on your product’s listing.

When Not To Use Deals And Discounts On Amazon

Discounts and deals can help you rank your products and increase brand awareness. However, there are times when it could be better not to run deals on Amazon.

Low Inventory

When considering running a deal, you also want to consider your current stock level and lead times. One of the benefits of increasing your sell-through rate is that it will naturally improve your organic ranking.

However, if your deal causes you to sell out, you will lose any organic ranking gains from your deal.

When determining if you should run a deal, make sure that even if the deal goes well, you will still have enough units on hand to avoid any stockouts.

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Low Profitability

While running deals can help with the successful launch or ranking campaign, it is important to look at overall profitability when considering deals.

A coupon might significantly impact profitability on items with a smaller average order value. This is especially true if you plan on running deals regularly.

Amazon now provides detailed SKU economics, including inbound shipping and your Sponsored Products costs. You can use this to help determine if your product has enough margin to sustain a profitable deal.

Audience Expectations

We have found that non-luxury consumables tend not to perform as well with deals and discounts because the discounts tend not to be large enough to motivate buyers.

Consider if your audience is looking for a deal or if they are coming to your product ready to purchase it regardless of any discounts.

At the end of each deal, review your overall sales and conversion rate to evaluate the impact of your deal or discount. Will Haire, Co-Founder of BellaVix, shared advice:

“During strategic holidays like T5 (BF-CM) or Prime Day, shoppers expect to find deals on Amazon when shopping. We always recommend accepting deals when they become available. You can always cancel them up until the moment they go live.

Coupons are a performance-based promotion, which means you are only charged after the shopper clips and purchases a product.

We recommend trying out the different types of deals, and we find that the Prime exclusive deals tend to be the most successful in terms of sales and worth the upfront investment.

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When experimenting with price points, we will leverage deals or coupons to measure any change in sales velocity, indicating if we are priced too high in the market.”

Overall, deals and discounts can help you increase your sales, click-through rate, and organic ranking when used in conjunction with a strong ad strategy.

Understanding the different types of deals and discounts available for your products on Amazon will help you maximize their effectiveness as you head into your busy season or launch new products.

More resources: 


Featured Image: 1981 Rustic Studio kan/Shutterstock

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