Meet us at the IRX & eDX Expo: Learn more here

How to Avoid Cannibalisation Between Organic Search and Paid Search

digital paid ad concept, man using laptop

So, you’ve perfected your SEO strategy, got your backlinks secured, and your organic search rankings are soaring. But wait, what’s this? Your paid search campaigns seem to be stealing the spotlight, syphoning off the hard-earned traffic and conversions that should’ve been yours. 

Welcome to the pain of SEO cannibalisation, where your own marketing efforts can sometimes work against each other. But fear not – we’re here to help you navigate this pesky problem and emerge victorious. Let’s take a closer look.

What is Cannibalisation in SEO?

As the UK’s top paid search agency, we at Clickslice understand how impactful cannibalisation can be; it’s a bit like a digital version of sibling rivalry. Your paid search ads and organic search listings are vying for the same keywords, and sometimes, the paid ads end up stealing the thunder from their organic counterparts. Picture your marketing team playing a game of tug-of-war, and the prize is your potential customers’ attention.

Causes of SEO Cannibalisation

So, what causes this cannibalistic behaviour? Well, it could be a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen.” When different teams or individuals are managing your organic and paid search efforts, communication breakdowns can occur, leading to overlapping strategies and conflicting goals.

Impact on Performance

The impact of cannibalization can be felt far and wide; tour organic click-through rates (CTR) might take a nosedive, and your conversion rates could fall considerably. You can end up watching your hard work go down the drain, all because your paid ads decided to crash the party.

Signs Your Keywords Are Being Cannibalized

Decrease in Organic CTR

If you notice your organic CTR suddenly taking a dip, it could be a red flag that your paid ads are stealing the spotlight. Your organic listings might be functioning optimally, but the paid ads keep hogging the limelight.

Increasing Clicks Across Multiple Pages

When your paid ads and organic listings are competing for the same keywords, you might also see an increase in clicks across multiple pages.

Increasing Ad Conversion While Overall Conversion Stays The Same

If your ad conversions are skyrocketing, but your overall conversion rates remain stagnant, it could be another sign that cannibalisation is afoot.

Strategies to Mitigate Cannibalization

Keyword Segmentation

Colorful wooden pie chart pieces

One way to keep cannibalization at bay is to divide up your keywords strategically. Assign specific keywords to your organic efforts and others to your paid campaigns.

Landing Page Optimization

Producing unique, compelling landing pages for your paid ads can also help differentiate them from your organic listings – this allows each keyword to have its own space and also allows you to track which of your marketing efforts are most successful.

Coordinated Campaign Planning

To avoid cannibalisation, your organic and paid search teams need to be on the same page. If you’re able to successfully align your goals and objectives, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are working in harmony, as opposed to against each other.

Integrated Marketing Approach

An integrated marketing approach needs to be meticulously choreographed, with each element – from your organic SEO to your paid ads to your social media presence – complementing and enhancing the others. If you’re able to achieve this, and your marketing channels are working together seamlessly, cannibalisation should become a distant memory.

Monitoring and Adjusting Strategies

Regular Performance Evaluation

Just like any aspect of your business operations, your marketing strategy needs regular monitoring and refinement. By keeping a close eye on your performance metrics, you can quickly spot any signs of cannibalization and nip them in the bud.

A/B Testing and Experimentation

You can also try out A/B testing to minimise cannibalisation; this is where you experiment with different ad copy, landing pages, and targeting options, with a goal in mind of fine-tuning your paid search campaigns to avoid stepping on your organic listings’ toes. It’s all about finding the perfect balance and rhythm – you can also do a SEO PPC keyword research comparison to differentiate between your two different marketing channels.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, cannibalisation can be a pesky problem when it comes to digital marketing, but it’s easily fixed with a comprehensive strategy; by segmenting your keywords, optimising your landing pages, and fostering collaboration between your organic and paid search teams, you’ll be well on your way to a harmonious, high-performing search marketing strategy.

And if you ever need a helping hand, remember – we at Clickslice are here for you! We’re experts in both PPC and SEO, so we’re well equipped to help you create a successful, coordinated and comprehensive marketing strategy that gets results. So if you’re dealing with SEO cannibalisation and don’t have the time to pour through your site to fix it, book a discovery call with us today and let us do what we do best – the hard work!

Article by:

Joshua George is the founder of ClickSlice, an SEO Agency based in London, UK.

He has eight years of experience as an SEO Consultant and was recently hired by the UK government for SEO training. Joshua also owns the best-selling SEO course on Udemy, and has taught SEO to over 100,000 students.

His work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, AgencyAnalytics, Wix and lots more other reputable publications.