What is SEO Cannibalization and How is it Solved?

As any site grows and becomes more internal, more and more textual information and posts appear on it. Some of them are devoted to topics that have already been covered before or, in one way or another, have something in common with the old ones. Keyword cannibalization occurs when a site has multiple articles with similar content and using the same keywords. You are absorbing, or cannibalizing, your own traffic with these pages. Each of them therefore has a lower effect, fewer views, and even fewer conversions than if you had a single landing page. This is becoming a real threat and there is a need to improve SEO rankings to promote the site. It is important to first understand how SEO cannibalization may impact the site’s ranking in search results for a particular query, how to spot the issue, and how to repair it.

What is SEO Cannibalization?

When several pages on a website compete with one another for the same or similar keywords, this is known as keyword cannibalization and it lowers the site’s organic performance. The problem of cannibalization mainly affects developing sites. The more content, the more likely it is to create posts and pages that have similarities.

Keyword cannibalism often happens unintentionally. The search engine does not understand what content is outdated, and what page should be ranked for a particular query. Uncertainty negatively impacts SEO strategy and can result in search engines not ranking one or both pages for the key word. If you optimize content for the same query, there will be problems with search engines. They do not understand what content is more relevant, what should be shown in the SERP. Traffic cannibalization occurs – one page eats another.

Negative Impacts of SEO Cannibalization

Some site owners are unaware of the problem of page cannibalization. But this process can lead to disastrous consequences for SEO promotion. If two different pages rank in search for the same keyword, here’s what happens:

  • Your web pages’ quality score and hierarchy are suffering. Your web pages are in opposition to one another. Each is vying for the other’s views, and both are only medium-relevant, instead of becoming one high-relevance page. In addition to indicating a lack of content on your website, keyword cannibalization informs Google that your pages may not even be relevant to the target term.
  • Google may devalue a more relevant page. Google tries to comprehend the content of each page on your website, but if you have many pages that are all targeted at the same keywords, there is a good risk that the search engine will deem the most crucial page to be the least crucial and lower the relevance of the others.
  • Backlinks are disorienting. Instead of linking to one good source of information, you spread your efforts over many pages. Your internal links are also likely to send people in different directions for the same information.

How to detect SEO Cannibalization?

Search for pages that use the same keywords to detect serious cannibalization problems. Any effective keyword strategy should begin with preparation and research, choosing competitive top keywords from historically low-volume, low-competition searches wherever feasible. It’s also important to make sure your titles, meta tags, and content are well-optimized for these terms. Here are a few ways to identify such pages:

  • Conduct a content audit;
  • View the history of ranking positions;
  • Do a Google search and remove host clustering;
  • Look for many URLs that rank.

How to solve SEO Cannibalization?

After you create a table of URLs and keywords, check if there are duplicate values among the recent ones. If there are, then consolidate content where possible, and select other keywords for those pages where such consolidation does not apply. How to fix and prevent SERP cannibalization:

  • Change site structure. The creation of a single authority page from which you may link to additional pertinent sites is one of the most straightforward solutions to the issue of term cannibalization.
  • Create new landing pages. Take a critical look at your site and determine if it has a landing page that can bring together all the similar pages with relevant keywords.
  • Optimize secondary pages and sharpen them for low-frequency queries.
  • Merge content.In particular, if they are unproductive, audit your pages and merge those with comparable keywords and content. The new page will get greater authority as a consequence, and the search engines will rank it higher.
  • Combine articles. If you have 2 or more articles that use the same keyword, it’s a good idea to combine them into one unique article. You can include all the points presented in both articles and write a long, informative article.

How you Shouldn’t Solve SEO Cannibalization

People frequently attempt to address the issue of cannibalization at the keyword level with logical-sounding but essentially flawed methods. What should not be done:

  • Deleting a page. This is rarely the right decision, unless the page has no value for your business or only ranks for a “cannibalizing” keyword.
  • Blocking page indexing. A page will not rank for any keywords if a noindex tag is included, which leads search engines to remove the page from their index.
  • Page deoptimization. This might work in theory, but it’s fundamentally flawed because you can’t deoptimize a page for just one keyword.

Although keyword cannibalization can lead to major issues, they are rather simple to resolve. You must ensure that the pages you develop do not compete with current ones in addition to addressing the issue of term cannibalization that already exists. New content should primarily fill gaps, not compete with itself for keywords.


The problem of SEO query cannibalization can happen to anyone. No one will enjoy the bad effects, such as a drop in positions, a loss of traffic, and a drop in conversions, but search engines won’t penalize or ban you for it. As a result, it’s crucial to routinely check the rankings and relevancy of pages for key searches, stop cannibalization in its tracks, and evenly distribute keywords throughout the website.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.