Accounting is generally a civilized profession, but you may be doing very uncivilized things to your SEO without even being aware that it’s happening. Setting the focus keyword to a single term used on multiple pages is known as keyword cannibalization, and it’s a common problem your accounting firm should work to avoid.
Targeting a term like “tax,” “audit” or “accounting” across much of your website creates a situation where Google doesn’t know which page to rank for, and therefore may direct web users to a page that’s less relevant to their specific needs. It also means that your pages are, in effect, competing with each other to rank highly for queries on that term. Both will negatively impact your search traffic, so here’s what you can do to avoid the problem.
- Choose specific keywords that reflect the unique focus of each page. While your professionals no doubt approach all the services they provide with an awareness of tax ramifications and other overarching issues, you’ll achieve better SEO results by choosing a highly specific focus word for most web pages. Is the main topic on the page tax credits and incentives? Tax planning? IRS representation in tax controversies?
- Use broad keywords for landing pages and more narrow focus terms on industry and service pages. Broad focus keywords are most appropriate on landing pages that lead to multiple sub-pages. Instead of using the same terms to rank on those internal pages, drill into the specifics. This will boost SEO as well as creating a better match between readers’ needs and page content.
- Watch for keyword duplication on title tags and other sources of metadata. When verifying that all pages have unique focus keywords, be sure to check title tags as well. Duplicates here will confuse web crawlers and lead to the same negative effects on SEO.
- Combine sub-pages or add new landing pages. If you’re struggling to find different keywords for two or more pages, it may be a sign that the content could and should be combined in a single page. The goal is clear copy that communicates discrete information, but over-division into too many sub-pages will only annoy readers and dilute the strength of your ranking factors.
- In a pinch, try a 301 redirect. Sometimes there’s no real way to avoid reusing important keywords. When that happens, consider using a 301 redirect from related pages to one that links them together, and assigning the keyword to that one. This tactic should be used rarely and judiciously, as it brings its own SEO challenges.
As humans and accountants, we’ve progressed well beyond the cannibal stage. Make every effort to keep your keywords distinct, joining you at a similarly advanced state of cultural evolution.