How to cure keyword cannibalization and rank higher in Google


You’ve probably learned by experience that if you “spread yourself too thin” you become inefficient and ineffective.

The same thing is true with keywords.

If you are actively involved in content marketing and create blog posts on a regular schedule, you may find yourself going back to the same keyword over and over again. If you do this, you run the risk of spreading your “authority” on that keyword too thin. You will end up with a lot of pages that rank low on search engines rather than one page that ranks very high. Every time you post a new piece of content using the same keyword, you cannibalize the authority of that keyword on previously published posts.

If you’re muttering “Uh-oh!” right now because you realize that you have inadvertently created this situation, don’t worry: it can be fixed. And, I’ll show you a way to fix it that will have added benefits beyond just improving your ability to rank higher in search results. This is one search engine optimization (SEO) tip that’s easy and everyone should do.

The power of long-form content

Let’s take a bicycle shop as an example. We’ll call our shop Wally’s Wheels.

Wally’s Wheels has a blog that has been posting useful articles on how to get a mountain bike ready for competition. Wally has written about the best bikes for competitive mountain biking, the best accessories for competitive mountain biking, and the best ways to set up your bike for competitive mountain biking.

He’s been writing 500-word articles around the keyword “competitive mountain biking” for the last couple of years and now has more than a dozen of these. Unfortunately, no single article ranks very high in search results. What should he do?

Wally needs to take those articles and combine them into one article that might be as long as 5,000 words. He then needs to create easy navigation to that long and informative article. He’ll probably want to have it on the top level of his homepage navigation bar.

Hub and spoke strategy

From within that article, he can link out to other related keyword articles on his website. This is a “hub and spoke” strategy. You use a fairly general keyword for the hub and you link out to articles built around longer tailed keywords. Jimmy Daly has a succinct article on the topic over on his website.

Further, once you’ve created this in-depth article, you can use it in other ways. Create a PDF with the content and use it as a free download. You can offer this free download from within the article itself – as in: For a PDF version of this article click here! – and you can also use it separately in pop ups and social media offers. In each case you exchange the free download for an email-list signup to help get your email marketing program running in high gear.

Does this  SEO strategy sound like it can give your keyword content marketing a shot in the arm? I think many small business owners will be able to use this. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it’s one of those projects where the end result is actually greater than the sum of each piece.

There aren’t too many of those opportunities around.