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Keyword Cannibalization

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on a website target the same keyword or keyphrase, leading to confusion for search engines and dilution of ranking potential. This phenomenon can result in competing pages from the same site appearing in search results, ultimately diminishing the overall visibility and effectiveness of the website’s SEO efforts.


Keyword cannibalization refers to the situation where multiple pages within the same website target the same keyword or keyphrase, causing search engines to struggle to determine which page to rank for the query. This often leads to a decrease in rankings and organic traffic for the affected pages due to internal competition and dilution of relevance signals.

Example of how Keyword Cannibalization is used

For example, suppose a website has two blog posts targeting the keyword “best SEO practices.” Both posts cover similar topics and offer similar advice. As a result, search engines may have difficulty deciding which page to rank higher for the keyword, leading to lower rankings and traffic for both pages.

Key Takeaways

  1. Content Consolidation: Identify and consolidate overlapping content targeting the same keyword to strengthen the relevance and authority of a single page.
  2. Keyword Mapping: Conduct thorough keyword research and map each keyword to a specific page on the website to avoid overlap and ensure clarity for search engines.
  3. Canonicalization: Implement canonical tags to designate the preferred version of a page when duplicate or similar content exists, consolidating ranking signals and avoiding keyword cannibalization.
  4. Internal Linking Strategy: Develop an internal linking strategy that strategically directs link equity to the most relevant and authoritative pages, reducing the likelihood of keyword cannibalization.
  5. Regular Auditing: Regularly audit the website’s content and rankings to identify instances of keyword cannibalization and take corrective actions promptly to optimize SEO performance.

FAQs for Keyword Cannibalization

How do I identify keyword cannibalization on my website?

Monitor keyword rankings and organic traffic for pages targeting similar keywords. Look for instances where multiple pages from your site appear in search results for the same query.

What are the negative impacts of keyword cannibalization on SEO?

Keyword cannibalization can lead to decreased rankings and organic traffic for affected pages, as search engines struggle to determine the most relevant page to display for a given query.

Can keyword cannibalization affect website authority?

Yes, keyword cannibalization can dilute the authority and relevance signals of a website, impacting its overall visibility and performance in search engine results.

How can I resolve keyword cannibalization issues?

Resolve keyword cannibalization by consolidating overlapping content, implementing canonical tags, and optimizing internal linking to ensure clear signals to search engines.

Is it possible to have unintentional keyword cannibalization?

Yes, unintentional keyword cannibalization can occur due to content duplication, overlapping topic coverage, or inconsistent keyword targeting across pages.

What role does keyword intent play in keyword cannibalization?

Keyword intent is crucial in addressing keyword cannibalization. Ensure that pages targeting the same keyword offer unique value propositions and cater to different search intents.

Should I delete one of the competing pages to resolve keyword cannibalization?

Deleting a page should be considered a last resort. Instead, consolidate content, implement canonical tags, and optimize internal linking to preserve valuable content while resolving keyword cannibalization.

Can keyword cannibalization occur across different subdomains or domains?

Yes, keyword cannibalization can occur across different subdomains or domains if they target the same keyword or keyphrase, leading to confusion for search engines.

How frequently should I conduct keyword cannibalization audits?

Regularly audit your website for keyword cannibalization, especially after significant content updates or changes, to ensure optimal SEO performance and avoid detrimental effects.

What tools can help me identify instances of keyword cannibalization?

SEO tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Google Search Console provide insights into keyword rankings and search performance, helping identify instances of keyword cannibalization on your website.

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