SEO Keyword Cannibalization: What Is It And How To Fix It

SEO Keyword Cannibalization: What Is It And How To Fix It image 0 Beginner’s Guide

Search Engine Optimization Search Phrase Cannibalization: What Is It And How To Fix It

Brandon Lazovic, March 8, 2021|SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Producing high quality web content is just one of one of the most significant variables for driving natural website traffic to your website.

It’s very easy to enter into the state of mind of creating numerous articles/pages to rank for your top priority search phrases, but one search engine optimization killer that you need to be knowledgeable about is keyword cannibalization.

Review our latest guide for more information about keyword cannibalization concerns, how it adversely influences SEO, as well as exactly how to repair it on your internet site.

What Is Keyword Cannibalization?

Quick Navigating

  • 1 What Is Keyword phrase Cannibalization?
  • 2 Where Search Phrase Cannibalization Occurs The Most
    • 2.1 Meta Information
    • 2.2 Individual Page Material
  • 3 Effect Of Keyword Cannibalization For Search Engine Optimization
    • 3.1 Search Phrase Position Performance
    • 3.2 Loss Of Backlink Web Page Authority And Internal Linking Equity
    • 3.3 Ranking The Incorrect Pages For Queries
    • 3.4 Decreased Conversion Fees
    • 3.5 Duplicate Web content
  • 4 Situations Where You’re Seeing Keyword Phrase Cannibalization
    • 4.1 Search Phrase Position Variation
    • 4.2 Struggling To Rank For A Keyword phrase
    • 4.3 Ranked URLs In The SERPs Maintain Transforming
  • 5 Exactly how To Look For Keyword Cannibalization On Your Website
    • 5.1 Determine Web Content Buckets
    • 5.2 SEMRush
    • 5.3 Ahrefs
    • 5.4 Google Search Console
    • 5.5 Signing In Google Look
  • 6 How To Repair Key Words Cannibalization
    • 6.1 Recognize Pages That Suffer From Key Phrase Cannibalization
    • 6.2 Consolidate/ Delete Content
    • 6.3 De-Optimize Pages
    • 6.4 Approved Tags
    • 6.5 Noindex Marks
    • 6.6 301 Redirects
  • 7 Just How To Stop Keyword Cannibalization
    • 7.1 Keyword phrase Planning
    • 7.2 Matching The Right User Intent

Keyword phrase cannibalization is when 2 even more web pages on your web site rank for the exact same particular keyword phrase.

You may think this is a good idea: if both web pages ranking, after that I can obtain more natural traffic from Google’s search results pages, right?

This line of thinking made use of to be real a years back, yet online search engine have dramatically altered their formulas in a manner that having multiple web pages placing for the exact same search phrase can negatively impact the natural wellness of your website.

Where Key Phrase Cannibalization Takes Place The Most

Key words cannibalization generally happens in two main locations:

Meta Information

Cannibalization takes place when two or even more pages have metadata (meta title tags as well as meta descriptions) that target the exact same or very similar key words. Considering that only the metadata needs to be customized, this is a less lengthy spot.

Considering that product web pages generally have extremely little message, keyword cannibalization is common on e-commerce websites. Because of this, meta tags are among one of the most crucial factors that internet search engine think about when establishing how a website differs from others. Shopping sites also struggle to distinguish metadata in order to target more exact keywords/subcategories.

Specific Page Material

This design of keyword cannibalism is a lot more common on editorial pages (blog sites, blog posts, and so on) or any various other pages with a lot of text. This is when the pages’ body material covers extremely close topics. More work or a technological backside repair is needed to fix this cannibalization. It’s crucial to very first determine all completing pages prior to picking the very best approach for dealing with the concern.

Aiming to discover more about seo? Review our search engine optimization newbie’s overview for whatever you need to understand about SEO as well as exactly how to drive service results via online search engine like Google as well as Bing.

Influence Of Keyword Cannibalization For SEO

Below we’ll undergo the biggest elements that keyword cannibalization affects on your website pages:

Search Phrase Position Efficiency

When multiple web pages place for the very same search phrase, Google attempts to figure out which of these web pages is the most appropriate one to show on its search results pages.

In the past, Google would certainly present numerous web pages from the exact same domain name for offered search phrases. Nowadays, Google has upgraded its formula to only present a solitary page per domain for a provided search inquiry.

As Google tries to determine which page ought to place for that query, it may get confused in identifying the very best one. When Google faces this concern, it may choose the wrong page to turn up in the SERPs, or it may choose to show no results from your domain name for that question.

This injures your total key words rankings, along with the various other significant elements described in this post. John Mueller from Google has a fantastic quote for this:

“We just rank the web content as we obtain it. If you have a number of web pages with approximately the very same content, it’s going to compete with each various other, kinda like a number of children intending to be initially in line, as well as ultimately someone else insinuates ahead of them:-RRB-. Directly, I favor less, stronger pages over great deals of weak ones– don’t sprinkle your site’s value down.”

Backlinking is one of the most significant ranking aspects on Google. The objective of backlinking is to gain links from appropriate, reliable websites that directly connect to your own site.

Google uses this as a positive signal that your web site is a professional or authority on a particular topic, which assists to enhance what’s referred to as your domain’s authority in the eyes of internet search engine.

The goal of a good link-building approach is to drive traffic as well as authority to specific website to help them rank much better. Rather than producing a number of links to one combined informative item, keyword cannibalization breaks feasible links between numerous web pages targeting the same topic.

This dilutes the overall authority a single, insightful piece of material might get, as well as divides it amongst the various cannibal pages that are targeting the exact same material, which will certainly make those web pages place even worse compared to if all web links were sharp and combined in a single page.

Inner linking will certainly deal with a comparable problem, guiding visitors to a number of various pages instead of a single authoritative page with the exact same content. In addition to helping internet search engine find and also creep new pages, inner linking aids to spread the authority acquired from backlinks among the other web pages that you’re inside connecting to.

Once more, if you’re inside linking to a number of web pages that might have been merged into very material, you’re throwing away that web link equity obtained from backlinks as well as hurting your pages in that method.

Ranking The Wrong Pages For Queries

Google’s formula is respectable at identifying what a web page has to do with. It is not, though, without flaws.

When several pages target the very same terms, Google may decide that the even worse or much less pertinent page is one of the most ideal one to show in its search results page. This decreases the value of the various other pages that cover the same topic.

Consider it this way– let’s claim you have two types of pages: a product web page that’s concentrated on conversion. And one more page that is informative (like a short article).

Depending on the intent for that search, Google may present a web page that does not completely meet the correct intent of that search question. When a user brows through that web page, they may not locate the answer they’re seeking, and also bounce back into the search engine result to find another web page that even more suitably matches their intent.

This is one more poor signal to Google– the less time individuals invest in your site, or the even more they bounce from a web page without communicating on it, the stronger of a point of view Google kinds in making a decision that your page isn’t pertinent, as well as it will certainly replace your keyword placement with a rival web page that it regards to much more suitably match that customer intent.

Lowered Conversion Rates

In numerous search engine optimization circles, conversions are the supreme metric of performance. Conversion price improvement is usually the target goal of a lot of search engine optimization jobs, whether it’s email sign-ups or a product order.

SEO Keyword Cannibalization: What Is It And How To Fix It image 1

It’s uncertain that every one of your web pages will convert similarly. This prevails on pages with differing intents (is the customer in the transactional, educational, or consideration phase?) Some web pages will certainly have more powerful conversion rates than the others (assume transactional vs. informative, or an item web page vs. article). Sadly, cannibalizing pages are splitting potential leads throughout a number of pages that rank for the exact same search phrase.

By assigning/ combining a single web page to a target key phrase, you can affect customers to discover web pages that transform the best. On top of leadflow objectives, this is another SEO advantage since conversions are indicators that a website matters and also lined up with the search function, improving that web page’s domain name authority as well as key phrase rankings.

Duplicate Content

Your pages are up versus each various other and also the numerous other internet sites on the web. As opposed to making a single very authoritative as well as important website, you’re separating the website traffic and also clicks amongst a number of websites of moderate relevance.

Keyword cannibalism likewise suggests the product is spread out slim and also could only be tangentially pertaining to the desired keyword phrase.

Targeting the very same keywords or phrases across different websites raises the possibility of replicate as well as low-grade material. Google hates replicate web content and also might choose to show known of your web pages in the search results.

Circumstances Where You’re Seeing Keyword Phrase Cannibalization

Here are a couple of scenarios where you may be experiencing keyword cannibalization.

Key Phrase Position Placement Change

Have you ever saw that a link that rates for a specific keyword modifications? This is a frequent signs and symptom of keyword cannibalization, and also it suggests that Google is not able to establish which web page should be ranked.

Battling To Rank For A Search phrase

This variation in positions is common as URLs alter. You may have discovered that your key phrase ranking status fluctuates a whole lot.

As URLs change, this might occur therefore of keyword cannibalization, and also contending signals cause the score area to rise and fall as necessary.

If one page has even more links than the other, however there is a solid dispute of intent as well as total content high quality, your organic traffic might swing dramatically if among the URLs rates prominently for a high-volume key phrase.

Ranked URLs In The SERPs Maintain Transforming

You might believe you should be seeing an enhancement in score, yet your site appears to be stuck. Especially when you understand you have actually built wonderful content as well as won excellent connections. This may be irritating, however keyword cannibalization is an usual issue.

Essentially, the authority on your web pages is being divided right into two or three, instead of just one, and no web page is placed in addition to your website ought to be.

Links are a significant ranking element, and when link authority is spread out via several Links, it can create a lot more question by sending contradictory signals.

Try to find cannibalization issues if the ranking isn’t rising.

Exactly how To Look For Keyword Phrase Cannibalization On Your Website

Now that we have actually covered the effects of keyword cannibalization, we’ll walk through just how to recognize contending pages on your website.

Determine Material Buckets

The initial step is to determine what subjects as well as classifications you’re targeting on your site. An instance we can utilize remains in the home mortgage room. Our primary classifications may be:

  • Home acquiring
  • Home selling
  • Home loans
  • Refinancing
  • Home loan Devices (calculators and prices web pages)

You intend to after that recognize the sub-categories or subjects that you’re targeting in each category. One example is content for FHA fundings under the “home loans” category.

There are various types of FHA finances (improve, refinance, 15 year repaired, three decades fixed) that your site could cover and also rate for distinct keyword phrases. However, your website could also have duplicate or cannibalizing content, such as:

  • FHA Car Loan Guide
  • FHA Financing Limits (for each year)
  • Concerns To Inquire About FHA Financing Purviews
  • FHA Finance Rates
  • Benefits To Utilizing A FHA Funding

A great deal of these topics are very similar and also may even rate for the exact same target search phrase (FHA Funding). In this case, you would want to combine every one of this web content into one web page (the FHA Lending overview might be the best fit to make a stunning, detailed item of material).

So you intend to determine these content buckets, draw a checklist of every one of your site posts/ classify them, determine what your main pages are on your website, and also identify which of your articles are very comparable to each other.


The previous approach of checking for keyword cannibalization can be tedious. You can use a tool like SEMRush to pull a checklist of your leading natural keywords as well as put them into a spreadsheet, or make use of the quick overview control panel to see individual keyword rankings, which will certainly reveal you if numerous pages are ranking for a single search phrase, as well as the keyword settings of those individual web pages.

A quicker technique is to just export all of that data right into an Excel spreadsheet.

After you’ve established your spreadsheet, arrange your columns in alphabetical order by Key phrase. This indicates that all search phrases that have actually been cannibalized will certainly be alongside each various other, in a different location and also URL.

After that, you can look the web page inside out to see which keywords have numerous pages vying for them. However you don’t intend to waste your time scanning, do you?

Rather, plug in the following formula:

=IF(B2=B3,”Cannibalized”, IF(B1=B2,”Cannibalized”,”Unique”))

If you utilize this formula right, you need to be able to rapidly repeat the cell and also transform Column An into a long list of automated examinations without needing to do any kind of job.


Comparable to SEMRush, you can utilize Ahrefs to pull the very same relevant details in the specific same method, whether you’re determining cannibalization on an individual page level, or doing a bulk check utilizing an Excel spread sheet.

Google Look Console

A cost-free technique of checking for keyword cannibalization is through the use of Google Search Console.

Authorize right into your dashboard and also filter your results by key phrase by entering your target key phrase as a specific match.

SEO Keyword Cannibalization: What Is It And How To Fix It image 2

This will certainly pull all the pages that are placing for that single keyword.

You can additionally use Google Look drivers to uncover comparable pages. For instance, if we wish to locate every one of the web pages that may rank for the term “FHA Car loan”, we would certainly utilize this search driver:

Website: “fha car loan”.

This will bring up every one of the web pages that Google regards pertinent/ is targeting this expression on your site. The only caution to using this technique is that it’s better for long-tail or medium-tail key phrases.

For broader searches (like FHA Lending), a lot of web content might know on FHA lendings in some capacity. Google will certainly show all web sites that contain this key words in its content or meta aspects, which isn’t as helpful and calls for hand-operated recognition to identify if those web pages can standalone, or if they ought to be combined.

Exactly How To Repair Keyword Cannibalization

Now that you’ve recognized keyword cannibalization on your web site, we’ll now walk through exactly how to fix it.

Identify Pages That Suffer From Search Phrase Cannibalization

Once again, reference your checklist of URLs and also figure out which pages are experiencing keyword cannibalization.

Combine/ Remove Content

Next, based on those subject containers that you produced, you’ll want to determine which web pages must be consolidated into a solitary page, or which ones require to be deleted from the site.

De-Optimize Pages

One more method to prevent keyword cannibalization is to de-optimize those web pages for that targeted search phrase.

If that web page can standalone and is distinct, yet does not have a matching web page that it can be consolidated to and also is still cannibalizing a search phrase, you can de-optimize that page for that target search phrase.

You’ll intend to eliminate any states of that search phrase within your H1 headers as well as web content. This must assist to de-prioritize that page, and offer priority to the web pages that require to be ranking for that keywords.

This consists of de-optimizing interior links on your web site. So if you have inner links with “FHA Financing” support text targeting several web pages, you’ll either wish to upgrade your internal linking framework to indicate a single page about FHA lendings, or update the support message to a different phrase if you still intend to link to numerous sources.

Approved Tags

Canonical tags are commonly puzzled with noindex tags, and as a result, many customers are reluctant to utilize them on their websites. When applied correctly, nonetheless, an approved tag is an effective device for decreasing keyword cannibalization.

As an instance of cannibalization, take into consideration two close money web pages on your associate site that are vying for the same broad word.

By adding an approved tag from one page to the other, you’re informing Google that, while there is some product duplication and also similarities between the two, the one you choose is the extra appropriate one.

So, instead of rating that a person, rack up that one.

Canonical tags will provide top priority to your target web page of your picking as opposed to splitting that equity between two or even more competing web pages.

Noindex Identifies

Let’s claim you have numerous web pages rating for the same query, but you don’t desire them to be 301 redirected, combined, or removed.

Utilizing noindex tags is a remedy to this, where users can still locate and review that material within your site, yet you’re indicating to Google that you don’t want particular pages indexed on your internet site.

Noindex tags can aid with thin or replicate content, while functioning as a regulation to Google that you want X web page position, yet Y and also Z pages do disappoint up in all in the search results page.

Having stated that, I choose canonicals over noindex tags. Google prefers them and offers a stronger instructions on if numerous pages must be combined or incorporated. Here’s a quote from John Mueller on that particular topic:

“Noindex (alone) & & robots.txt disallow (generally) are unclear indications for canonicalization. Just having a noindex on a web page does not inform us that you intend to have it incorporated with something else, which signals must be sent. This is also where the guide that you should not mix noindex & & rel=canonical originates from: they’re very contradictory pieces of information for us. We’ll typically choose the rel=canonical as well as utilize that over the noindex, yet whenever you rely upon interpretation by a computer script, you minimize the weight of your input (as well as search engine optimization is to a big part all about informing computer system manuscripts your choices).”

301 Redirects

301 Redirects can be helpful for lowering keyword cannibalization. These are important when you’re consolidating content right into a solitary web page, or you’re erasing web content from the site.

A 301 redirect will certainly draw away that page authority gathered from internal web links/ link building to your brand-new target page, enabling it to place better keeping that added link building juice.

How To Stop Search Phrase Cannibalization

Now that we have actually walked through how to fix keyword cannibalization on your website, it is very important that you know how to prevent it from taking place in the future.

Key words Preparation

Initially, you’ll wish to map your keyword and also content plan out. Utilizing the web content mapping approach I described earlier, you’ll wish to use this as your north celebrity for determining the right place for your material in the grand system of your website and recognizing your web content collections of your website.

As you determine brand-new topics or web content, consider those containers that you developed. Are there any type of short articles that already have that info, or are similar?

From there, you can choose if you intend to update your web content to include new information, or need to develop brand-new material buckets for monitoring.

You’ll likewise wish to do keyword research study for every one of your subjects. If that material is targeting or might rate for the very same search phrase as another item of content on your checklist, it’s a good idea to scrap that concept as well as compose something various instead.

Matching The Right Customer Intent

Google sights individual intent in 4 means: educational, navigational, transactional, or commercial.

Make certain that your content matches the best intent. For instance, if the leading search results for a question are all product landing web pages, you would certainly want to produce an item touchdown web page to match that intent. If you were to create a blog site write-up that’s informative, opportunities are it won’t rate well due to the fact that it does not match the user intent.

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