How to fix Keyword Cannibalization issues on Shopify ?

Are you aware of any SEO’s Shopify issues? Do you ever have multiple pages rank for the same keyword?  Have you ever noticed that it might confuse Google to define which page to rank for? Or does it do more harm than good? 

The answer is, when you have 2 pages rank for the same keyword, you are actually giving them the chance to compete with each other. This SEO issue is called Keyword Cannibalisation. 

We worked with many Shopify clients who dealt with keyword cannibalization? Some know how to fix it manually while some don’t. 

So what is keyword cannibalization on Shopify? What is the importance of detecting keyword cannibalisation on your Shopify store? 

And more importantly, what method should we apply and what method should we AVOID when fixing keyword cannibalization? 

What is REALLY keyword cannibalization? Is it serious Shopify problems?

Keyword Cannibalisation is one of Shopify issues that we should worry about!

According to Yoast SEO, it happens when you have multiple pages in your Shopify domain using the same keyword. In other words, your pages are competing with each other. And as a result, it might significantly hurt your website ranking and your domain. 

In e-commerce context, keyword cannibalization happens quite often:

  • Two product pages have the same type of product, that one for men and one for women. For instance, when I audit Buckwildgear store on Google with keyword “Patriotic t-shirt”, it turned out that Page 1 and Page 2 is ranking for the same keyword. 
  • On the same Shopify domain, a product page and a blog both rank for the same keyword. 

What people are getting wrong about keyword cannibalization? Why should we worry them as a Shopify issues?

In an old article published in 2018, Searchengineland discussed our misunderstanding about keyword cannibalization. When mentioning keyword cannibalization, we often have a stereotype that 2 pages ranking for the same keywords means keyword cannibalization. However, Searchengineland argued that if 2 URLs from the same domain ranking for the same keyword but offer different intent, we do not call it Keyword Cannibalization. 

For instance, Moz offered us several URLs ranking for Local SEO and both of them are ranking for keyword “local SEO”.

For instance, one as a blog post offers the reader the checklist of Local SEO while the other introduces Local SEO to readers. So they do offer different intent and as a result, we don’t call it Keyword Cannibalization. 

How to detect keyword cannibalization?

Through running a site search on Google with a keyword “Frenkle Pen, we noticed that 2 URLs from Moz are ranking for that keyword. The collection page ranked at #1 and other product pages ranked the below position respectively. 

The pros of this method is the flexibility and the ease of using a webmaster tool to search for any keyword cannibalization from the same domain. However, the only issue is that it does not make a sense of place, making it hard for us to address the issue. For instance, from the case above, we do not really know if these other subdomains are in the top 20 SERPs. 

Method 2: Through Ahref’s Keyword Research:

Shopify cosmetic brand Colourpop have 3 URLs ranked for the same keyword “frenkle pen”. One is a collection and other ones are product pages. 

Attention! It’s always useful to recheck them on Google SERPs to ensure you really have keyword cannibalization in your hand. 

How to fix keyword cannibalisation? 

Method 1: Leave it like that

If all of your pages are ranked on top 10 SERPs and gain high traffic volumes, then no need to remove any of them. This is a very rare solution unless your pages do not offer any benefits to your business. 

Method 2: Internal linking 

Internal linking is another solution to restructure your site architecture, telling Google how your pages are considered. For instance, direct a blog post ranked for “frenkle pen” to a collection page ranked for the same keyword. 

Method 3: Canonical

This might be the most useful one when dealing with duplicate content. It tells Google which page is more important amongst those. 

Here are 4 rules to follow when applying Canonical to your URLs:

  • Rule #1: Use absolute URLs. For instance: <link rel=“canonical” href=“” /> instead of <link rel=“canonical” href=”/sample-page/” />
  • Rule #2: Use lowercase URLs
  • Rule #3: Use correct domain URLs HTTPs. For instance: <link rel=“canonical” href=“” />
  • Rule #4: Use one canonical tag per page as Google will ignore all of them if there are too many in one page. 

Method 4: 301 redirect

Another way is to redirect one page (already has traffic, e.g. blog page) to the other page that you want to rank (e.g. collection page), so that in the short term, you can increase more traffic to the page that needs ranking → Remember to reindex in Google. 

Method 1: De-optimize the page:

We do not recommend this solution. Let’s say like this. You can’t just make a page less optimizing by removing all internal linking, because tt might affect your website ranking for other keywords too. If the keywords are traffic-potential and one page (especially converting page, e.g collection page) ranks higher than the other (e.g. blog page), you can consider removing keywords from the meta tags of the blog page and reindex in Google. 

Method 2: Delete or noindex the page: 

We do not recommend this solution. Delete or noindex the page only when this page brings no value to your business. 

Final Thoughts

Keyword Cannibalisation is really one of top Shopify issues that we should check frequently. When your site is getting bigger, you tend to write more articles ranking for the same keyword. So just to make sure weekly or monthly that your site is not dealing with any keyword cannibalization at the same time. Believe me! If you do not want to lower your ranking pages for your accidental mistakes. 

If you are too busy with your other duties and keyword cannibalization takes you a bunch of time to manually deal with it, we can lend you a hand. We are offering a free Shopify SEO service for some on-page, off-page and technical optimization. 

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