How To Identify & Eliminate Keyword Cannibalization: Steps to Clear Confusion

keywords cannibalization

Do you ever wonder why you don’t perform well for keywords you know you’re targeting? Do you want to discover how much content cannibalization might cost you and how to counteract it successfully?

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of keyword cannibalization and provide actionable strategies to eliminate this issue, helping you secure a top spot in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

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What is keyword cannibalization?

When several website pages attempt to rank for the exact keywords, this is known as keyword cannibalization. Because of this, Google may find it challenging to choose which page to display in search results.

Keyword cannibalization

If Google cannot distinguish which material to prioritize, this could lead to cannibalization. Not URLs, but keywords are the topic at hand. Two pages on your website might compete for the exact keywords.

The Detrimental Impact on SEO

Keyword cannibalization severely threatens your SEO efforts by diminishing the effectiveness of your optimization strategies. It leads to:

  1. Ranking Dilution: When multiple pages compete for the same keyword, they can only partially dominate the search results, resulting in lower overall rankings.
  2. Confused Ranking Signals: Search engines receive mixed signals about which page is the most relevant, making it harder to display the appropriate page in search results.
  3. Reduced Click-Through Rates: Users who encounter multiple variations of the same content might not click on any, reducing your organic click-through rates.

Types Of Cannibalization:

Internal Cannibalization

Internal cannibalization refers to a situation in which multiple pages within a website compete against each other for the same or similar keywords in search engine rankings.

This competition among the site’s own pages can lead to confusion for search engines and users, resulting in lower overall visibility and rankings for those keywords.

Market Cannibalization

Market cannibalization refers to a scenario in which a company’s various international branches or markets inadvertently compete against each other for the same customers, resources, or market share.

Subdomain Cannibalization

Subdomain cannibalization occurs when multiple subdomains of a website, which are essentially separate sections or subdivisions of the main domain, compete against each other for the same keywords or target audience in search engine rankings.

One of these four scenarios accounts for the cannibalization of your pages in 99% of cases:

  1. Overlapping theme.
  2. Authority injection.
  3. Poor internal linking.
  4. Non-contextual optimisation.

How To Identify Different Types Of Cannibalization

The most typical forms of cannibalization are as follows:

  • Suspicious FluxIncorrect capitalization and internal linkage.
  • Content Evolution: Pages that conflict because of information such as rumors, releases, and review articles.
  • Inline Conflict: Conflicting search results pages.

You can correct cannibalization once you’ve determined its type.

Strategies to Eliminate Keyword Cannibalization

  1. Keyword Mapping

Start by performing a comprehensive keyword analysis for your website. Map out the keywords that each page is currently targeting. This step will help you identify instances of cannibalization and create a clear roadmap for optimizing your content.

  1. Content Consolidation

Merge or redirect pages that target the exact keywords into a single, authoritative page. This consolidation reinforces the relevancy of your content and sends a strong signal to search engines about which page should rank.

  1. On-Page Optimization

Please review and update on-page elements such as titles, headings, and meta descriptions to ensure they accurately reflect the page’s content. This fine-tuning enhances search engines’ understanding of your content’s purpose.

  1. Internal Linking

Implement a strategic internal linking strategy that directs search engines to the most relevant page for a specific keyword. Internal linking boosts the authority of the chosen carrier and guides users to the content they seek.

  1. Canonicalization:

Implement canonical tags to inform search engines which page is the preferred version to display in search results. Canonicalization prevents duplicate content issues and reinforces the chosen page’s authority.

How To Monitor Cannibalization

After the issue has been resolved, it’s critical to track and monitor keyword cannibalization by: consistently

  • Every URL.
  • Top 100.
  • Rivals all.
  • The past.

Keyword Cannibalization Audit

A “Keyword Cannibalization Audit” is a process in the field of search engine optimization (SEO) where you assess and analyze your website’s content and structure to identify instances of keyword cannibalization.

The keyword cannibalization audit involves these steps:

  1. Keyword Mapping
  2. Content Analysis
  3. Page Authority
  4. Ranking Analysis
  5. User Intent
  6. Content Consolidation or Differentiation
  7. On-Page Optimization301 Redirects or Canonical Tags
  8. Monitor and Adjust

The goal of a keyword cannibalization audit is to ensure that each page on your website has a clear purpose, targets unique keywords, and contributes positively to your overall SEO strategy without causing confusion or competition among your own pages.


In the realm of SEO, eliminating keyword cannibalization is a pivotal step toward achieving top-ranking positions on search engines.

By understanding the nuances of this challenge and implementing effective strategies like keyword mapping, content consolidation, on-page optimization, strategic internal linking, and canonicalization, you can ensure that your website’s content works in harmony to secure its rightful place in the SERPs.

Stay vigilant, monitor your rankings, and adapt your strategies to maintain your competitive edge and achieve SEO success.

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