Prevent Your SEO & PPC Efforts From Competing Against Each Other

Keyword cannibalization is when two campaigns, often paid search and organic search, compete for the same keywords and traffic. This ends up driving up costs for paid search while decreasing organic visibility. For HVAC businesses, avoiding keyword cannibalization is crucial to maximizing the effectiveness of marketing budgets.

Keyword cannibalization happens when a business targets the same main keywords across both paid search and organic search campaigns. For example, an HVAC company might bid on the keyword “HVAC services” in their paid search campaign. Then they also optimize their website and content to target that same term for organic search.

This causes the paid and organic campaigns to compete for the top positions in search results. The paid ads might take the top spots, pushing the organic listing down the page. That leads to higher paid search costs over time to maintain those top ad positions. Simultaneously, it hinders the organic rankings and traffic.

For HVAC companies, this can drastically drive up customer acquisition costs. Money is wasted on expensive paid clicks, when that traffic could potentially come from organic search at no cost. It also limits the visibility and authority of the website over the long-term. Avoiding overlaps in targeted keywords is crucial for cost-effective growth.

Tips to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization

Do your keyword research

Before you create any new pages on your website or start running paid ads, do your keyword research to make sure that you are not targeting the same keywords with multiple pages. You can use a variety of keyword research tools to help you identify relevant keywords, such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEMrush.

When choosing keywords to target, be sure to consider the following factors:

  • Search volume: How many people are searching for the keyword each month?
  • Competition: How competitive is the keyword?
  • Relevancy: How relevant is the keyword to your business and the content on your website?

Use negative keywords in your paid search campaigns

Negative keywords allow you to prevent your ads from showing for certain keywords. This can be helpful for preventing keyword cannibalization between your paid and organic search campaigns.

As an example, if you have a page on your website that is optimized for the keyword “HVAC repair,” you could add the keyword “HVAC installation” as a negative keyword to your paid search campaigns. This would prevent your ads from showing for the keyword “HVAC installation,” which is a different keyword that you may also want to rank for organically.

Optimize your pages for different keywords

When you are optimizing your pages for search engines, choose different keywords to focus on for each page. This will help you to avoid keyword cannibalization and ensure that each page is ranking for the keywords that are most relevant to the content on the page.

Here are some tips for optimizing your pages for different keywords:

  • Use the target keyword in the page title, meta description, and throughout the body of the page.
  • Use related keywords and synonyms throughout the page.
  • Write unique and informative content that is relevant to the target keyword.

Use landing pages for your paid search campaigns

When you are running paid search campaigns, use landing pages that are specific to the keywords that you are targeting. This will help to improve your conversion rate and reduce your bounce rate.

Your landing pages should be relevant to the keywords that you are targeting, and they should include a call to action. For example, if you are running a paid search campaign for the keyword “HVAC repair,” your landing page should be about HVAC repair, and it should include a call to action to contact you to schedule a repair.

Additional Tips for HVAC Businesses

Use long-tail keywords

Incorporating long-tail keywords into your SEO and PPC strategies can be a highly effective way to both bolster your online presence and mitigate the risks of keyword cannibalization. Long-tail keywords are characterized by their specificity and often entail longer phrases or queries, making them an excellent choice for HVAC businesses. Here’s an expanded perspective on the benefits and considerations of using long-tail keywords:

Enhanced Specificity and Reduced Competition

Long-tail keywords offer a distinct advantage over short-tail keywords due to their heightened specificity. They are typically more descriptive and tailored to particular aspects of your HVAC business. This specificity inherently reduces the competition for these keywords, allowing your content to stand out in search results.

For HVAC businesses, this means you are more likely to rank well for long-tail keywords, as you face less competition compared to broader, more generic terms. This reduces the chances of keyword cannibalization, where multiple pages on your site compete for the same keyword.

Examples of HVAC Long-Tail Keywords

Here are some examples of long-tail keywords that HVAC businesses can consider:

  • “Emergency HVAC repair near me”: Targeting this long-tail keyword caters to the urgent needs of local customers seeking immediate HVAC assistance.
  • “HVAC repair for central heating and air”: This long-tail keyword specifies the type of HVAC system, making it highly relevant to those searching for central heating and air conditioning repair services.
  • “HVAC repair for commercial buildings”: Focus on businesses or institutions with commercial HVAC systems, demonstrating your expertise in this niche.
  • “HVAC repair for residential buildings”: Attract homeowners and tenants seeking residential HVAC solutions.
  • “HVAC repair for specific brands of HVAC equipment”: Tailor your content to cater to customers looking for repairs on particular HVAC equipment brands, showcasing your expertise in those brands.

Choosing Long-Tail Keywords: Considerations

When selecting long-tail keywords to target, pay attention to these key factors:

Relevance: Long-tail keywords should align closely with your HVAC business and the content on your website. Relevance ensures that your content meets the needs of the searchers who use these specific queries.

Search Volume: While long-tail keywords may have lower search volumes than broader terms, they often bring more focused and motivated traffic. Evaluate how many people are searching for each long-tail keyword monthly, considering both quantity and quality of leads.

Competition: The lower competition for long-tail keywords offers you a better chance of ranking well and avoiding keyword cannibalization. Assess the competitiveness of each long-tail keyword you target.

    Incorporating long-tail keywords into your HVAC business’s digital marketing strategy is a smart approach to both enhancing your online visibility and ensuring that your paid and organic campaigns work cohesively to attract the right audience.

    Use location-specific keywords

    For HVAC businesses looking to attract local customers, incorporating location-specific keywords into search campaigns is crucial. When someone searches for an “HVAC repair” service near them, you want your business to appear in the results. That means optimizing your website and paid ads with keywords containing your city, zip code, and other local landmarks.

    Here are some examples of location-specific keywords for HVAC businesses:

    • HVAC repair in [your city]
    • HVAC repair [your zip code]
    • HVAC repair near [your city hall]
    • HVAC repair near [your local university]
    • HVAC repair near [your local airport]

    When selecting location-specific terms, be sure to consider relevance, search volume, and competition. Your goal is to choose keywords that are a good fit for your business in terms of service coverage, that have decent search volume, and that you can realistically rank for given the competitive landscape. Taking the time to optimize for geotargeted HVAC keywords will connect your business with customers exactly when they need your services nearby.

    Monitor your results

    Monitor your results regularly

    It’s crucial for HVAC businesses to monitor their paid and organic search results on an ongoing basis to detect and fix any keyword cannibalization issues. Without monitoring, you could miss cases where two or more pages are competing for the same keywords and harming performance.

    Use tools like Google Search Console

    Google Search Console is a free platform that provides insights into your website’s performance in search results. By connecting Search Console to your site and tracking key metrics over time, you can identify exactly which keywords each page is ranking for. Sudden drops in organic rank for certain terms may indicate a problem.

    Leverage paid tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs

    SEMrush and Ahrefs offer more robust, detailed tracking of website traffic, rankings, and backlinks. The in-depth keyword data from these paid platforms makes it easy to spot potential cannibalization problems and take corrective action.

    Check rankings manually on occasion

    In addition to using tracking tools, it doesn’t hurt to manually search for your most important HVAC keywords in Google every so often. Seeing where your pages rank for key terms with your own eyes can provide useful perspective.

    Take steps to fix any keyword overlap

    If you detect two or more pages competing for the same term, there are a few options to mitigate the issue:

    • Combine very similar competing pages into a single optimized page.
    • Optimize existing pages around different primary keywords.
    • Implement canonical tags to specify the preferred page version.
    • Adjust paid keyword bids and negative keywords.

    With consistent monitoring using the right tools, HVAC businesses can stay on top of any developing keyword cannibalization threats and take action. This protects marketing performance.


    Keyword cannibalization can significantly hinder the performance of paid and organic search campaigns for HVAC businesses. By targeting the same keywords across both campaigns, companies end up competing against themselves in the search results. This drives up ad costs while lowering website visibility and traffic.

    The key is taking a strategic approach to keyword selection and optimization to avoid overlap. Conduct thorough keyword research, leverage long-tail and geo-targeted terms, and optimize different pages around distinct keywords. Implement tracking through platforms like Search Console and SEMrush. If you detect keyword cannibalization, take corrective actions like using negative keywords, combining pages, or optimizing for new terms.

    Avoiding keyword cannibalization takes some extra effort upfront in the planning stages. But it pays off tremendously by boosting your paid and organic presence in harmony. This gives your HVAC website more visibility, improves conversion rates, and reduces customer acquisition costs over the long-term.

    Focus on streamlining your keyword strategy across SEO and PPC to maximize reach and minimize conflicts. Don’t compete with yourself for the same keywords in search. With the right optimization and monitoring, you can get your paid and organic campaigns working together to drive cost-efficient growth and ROI.

    Scott Davenport

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