Keyword Cannibalization

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is a common SEO issue with serious implications for websites. 

Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple website pages compete for the same keywords or phrases. This means that when someone searches for something related to your business, two or more of your pages will come up in the search results.

The issue here is that both pages are trying to rank for the same keyword. This could essentially "cannibalize" each other using the same words. As a result, each page can compete with others using different keywords. 

The Negative Impacts of Keyword Cannibalization 

In most cases, keyword cannibalization is unintentional. But it can seriously affect your website's SEO performance.

Some negative impacts of keywords cannibalization are:

1. Confused search engines 

Multiple pages targeting the same keywords can confuse search engine algorithms. As such, it makes it difficult to determine which page should rank highest for a given query.

As a result, both pages may suffer from poor rankings—or worse yet, neither page shows up in search results at all. This is true if you use overly-similar titles and descriptions across different pages.

2. Reduced credibility 

Search engines may label your site as “spammy” if you have similar content with the same keywords. This will cause them to rank you lower than you otherwise would be.

To avoid this problem, make sure each page on your website has unique content.

3. Frustrated visitors 

Some frustrated visitors land on pages targeting the same keywords but find different content. This could cause visitors to lose trust in your brand. As such, click away from your website altogether—not exactly ideal!

To prevent visitor frustration, make sure all your web pages are optimized properly. This is to make sure that visitors always land on the correct page for their query.

4. More difficult link building 

Building links is one of the most vital aspects of SEO success. But if you have two pages targeting the same keyword phrase, it can be difficult to decide which page should get the link from an external source.

If link building is done incorrectly, you could end up with more than one page competing for the same links. This will ultimately hurt your chances of ranking higher in search engine results.

How to Find Cannibalization Issues

Fortunately, there are a few ways to check your website for cannibalization. Here are some options: 

  • Use Google Search Console. Google Search Console allows you to check how well your site appears in organic searches. It will alert you if two or more pages appear for the same query and show you which page has higher visibility.
  • Content Audit. Looking at your content may reveal unintentional repetitions of the same keywords. If that's the case, consider rewriting some content so that each page has unique keywords.
  • Check SERP rankings. If one page isn't ranking well despite having strong SEO signals, then this could be a sign of keyword cannibalization taking place.
  • Use SEO Tools. These tools allow you to compare different websites side-by-side. Also, you'll see how they stack up against each other in SEO performance.

If you want to check your website, SEOLeverage™️ has an app to help you do that. The SEOLeverage™️ app helps you identify any potential issues by analyzing your website. 

The app also provides detailed information on where there might be too much competition. Also, it gives suggestions to make your site perform better. These features make it easier to know potential SEO problems before they become too big.

How Can You Fix Keyword Cannibalization? 

When pages compete for the same keyword, it sends signals to search engine algorithms. This caused them to get confused about which page should be ranked higher in search results.

Let's look at the tips for fixing keyword cannibalization issues. 

Tip 1: Publish unique content 

Ensuring that each page has unique content can help search engines differentiate between pages. Also, this avoids indexing duplicate versions of the same page.

This will also help improve user experience. In such a way, visitors can find relevant information without encountering duplicate content. You just need to avoid keyword stuffing as well!

Tip 2: Create 301 redirects 

301 redirects are another useful tool for preventing keyword cannibalization issues. These redirects tell search engines that a certain URL has been permanently redirected to another. Using also 301 redirects will help ensure visitors will be on the right page without any confusion. 

Tip 3: Find new keywords

Finding new keywords is the best place to start if you want to get more out of your website's SEO potential. Merely having a diverse set of content-rich pages isn't enough. The content must be planned with the correct keywords for your page to appear in Google or Bing.

When selecting new keywords, ensure each one accurately describes the page. This ensures that customers searching for a specific topic are satisfied when they land on your page—as a result, granting greater visibility and better SEO results.

What NOT to Do When Fixing Keyword Cannibalization

Rare or not recommended solutions when dealing with keyword cannibalization include: 

Canonical tags

Canonical tags are also known as rel=canonical. These tags tell every search engine which version should be given higher rankings.

While this does help with keyword cannibalization, it only sometimes works as intended. This is especially true if the pages need to be properly optimized for SEO purposes.

Additionally, canonical tags can be tricky to implement correctly. If done incorrectly, they could end up causing more problems than they solve. 

Noindex tags

Noindex tags tell Google not to index your page, meaning it won't appear in search results. While this can seem like an easy solution, it can be problematic. This is because it prevents people from finding your content.

Additionally, these tags do nothing about which page should actually rank for that target keyword. They just prevent any page from ranking at all. As such, this is not a recommended solution for dealing with keyword cannibalization.

Rewriting your content

Rewriting content is only viable if it addresses keyword cannibalization's core issue. All it does is change up some words without ensuring each page targets different keywords and phrases. Additionally, rewriting content could cause more harm than good if done incorrectly. 

Deleting content

Lastly, deleting content isn't a recommended solution because it's time-consuming. Plus, it could be more effective since it doesn't prevent other pages from targeting similar keywords. You just risk losing valuable content and visitors by deleting it from your site altogether!   


All told, keyword cannibalization can be detrimental to those who take SEO seriously. You must take steps to identify any instances where duplicate content exists on your site or where multiple pages are targeting the same keywords. Then, take steps to correct those issues to avoid negative impacts on your SEO efforts.

By understanding what keyword cannibalization is and how it can affect your business, you'll be well-equipped to tackle any issues head-on. Also, ensure that your website remains optimized for success!