Unraveling the Mystery of Keyword Cannibalization: A Definitive Guide

Understanding Keyword Cannibalization

Ever wondered why your priority page isn’t the one dominating Google’s search results for your key terms? Enter the realm of keyword cannibalization – a challenge in the SEO landscape.

The Basics of Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization occurs when different pages on a website vie for the same or closely related keywords. This confusion leaves search engines indecisive about which page should reign supreme for a specific keyword.

Illustrating the Conundrum

Consider “Keyword.com,” a platform focusing on rank tracking. If every page fixates solely on “rank tracking,” Google might randomly prioritize a page discussing “Share of Voice” for the same keyword. This disperses your website’s ranking potential, hindering the preferred page from claiming the top spot.

The Intricacies of Keyword Cannibalization

Evaluating Cannibalization Scenarios

What if two pages target the same keyword, but one languishes on the 5th page of SERPs while the other reigns high? Enter keyword cannibalization, where one page monopolizes the traffic. But what if these pages cater to multiple keywords?

Ahrefs Insights

Ahrefs’ research reveals that a top-ranking page often dominates the top 10 for nearly 1,000 relevant keywords. This nuanced understanding dispels fears of cannibalization when pages excel in diverse keyword rankings.

The Dark Side of Keyword Cannibalization

Unraveling the Negative Impacts

  1. Reduced Search Visibility: Ambiguity in ranking pages can jeopardize your visibility in search results.
  2. Diluted Authority: Targeting the same keyword on different pages splits your website’s authority, diminishing its overall impact.
  3. Confusing User Experience: Users seeking information may be misled by encountering both category and product pages, leading to a subpar experience.
  4. Decreased Organic Traffic: Cannibalization undermines organic traffic by pushing users toward more focused competitors.
  5. Difficulty in Ranking for Related Keywords: Ranking for specific terms becomes challenging due to the overshadowing effect of cannibalized pages.
  6. Diversified Links: Backlinks, a crucial ranking factor, get divided between pages instead of consolidating on one authoritative page.

Identifying and Addressing Keyword Cannibalization

Simple Steps for Small Sites

For small sites, a spreadsheet can reveal pages and associated keywords to identify cannibalization. Larger sites require a more in-depth approach.

Comprehensive Strategies for Larger Sites

  1. Perform a Content Audit: Tools like Screaming Frog and Google Search Console simplify the identification of duplicate content and cannibalization issues.
  2. Create a Keyword Map: Use keyword mapping tools to arrange pages into clusters, revealing those optimized for multiple keywords.
  3. Google Site Search: Execute a Google search to check cannibalization for a specific keyword on your site.
  4. Keyword Cannibalization Checker: Leverage tools like Google Search Console, Keyword.com, and Keylogs to swiftly identify and resolve cannibalization.

Strategies to Fix Keyword Cannibalization

  1. Consolidate and Redirect: Merge underperforming pages into a comprehensive one, and set up a 301 redirect to funnel authority to the chosen page.
  2. Use Keyword Cannibalization Checkers: Tools like Keyword.com and Keylogs not only identify issues but also offer actionable strategies for resolution.
  3. Find New Keywords: If cannibalized pages hold value, explore new keywords to maintain their worth without harming your SEO.

Preventive Measures for a Cannibalization-Free Future

To avoid falling into the cannibalization trap:

  • Create comprehensive content around your target keyword.
  • Build a topical authority through a well-structured topic cluster.
  • Continuously monitor and adjust your SEO strategy for sustained success.


Keyword cannibalization isn’t a doom-laden scenario if approached strategically. By understanding, identifying, and implementing corrective measures, you can navigate through the SEO maze and ensure your website claims its well-deserved spot in the digital realm.

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