Are too many of your pages fighting to rank for the same keyword? This is called keyword cannibalization, and here are five ways to avoid it.


When it comes to building your sites SEO, keywords are crucial. With 82% of marketers stating that SEO effectiveness is on the rise, we are going to be seeing more and more online marketers including organic SEO into their online marketing strategies.

But there's a problem. You focus your content on the same niche, and with that keywords overlap between the content you produce for your site.

With so many different pages battling it out over the same keyword, how do you focus on making sure the page you want is ranking for the right search term?

Keyword cannibalization is a problem that many marketers run into and this article will guide you through the process of managing your pages so that cannibalization is no longer a problem.

Let's get started.

First, What Is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is what happens when you have multiple pages on your site that are all targeting the same keyword. You usually wouldn't pick up on this type of issue if you are fairly new to SEO for your site.

It's something to really take seriously, as it can damage your rankings for a number of reasons.

Why Keyword Cannibalization Is a Problem

Cannibalization is a problem because Google won't know which is the most relevant post for the specific query. When Google crawls your site it will see a variety of different pages being suitable for that keyword.

Google then has to choose between these pages to figure out which seems to be the highest value for the search term. This reduces the effectiveness of your SEO and you miss some good opportunities for improved SEO:

  • Conversion - Why focus on having multiple pages if one page converts better? Focus your efforts on one of these pages instead of wasting energy on alternative lower-converting pages.

  • Content quality - If you are targeting multiple pages with the one keyword, chances are they'll all be about the one subject. Instead of risking duplicating content and lower-quality writing make it all into one post.

  • Internal anchor links - If you have multiple pages to link to, you are lowering the effectiveness of your anchor texts. By linking all of your pages to one internal link, it adds to the effectiveness.

  • External links - External links can leverage the link juice of a single page. If you have 11 links pointing to one post, the external link on that post has more weight than if your 11 links were pointing to 3 or 4 different posts.

Understanding why keyword cannibalization is a problem is the first step, the next step is getting it under control.

5 Ways to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization

Figuring out where you are going wrong with your keywords can be difficult which is why many people consider outsourcing SEO services. If you'd rather figure it out yourself then dive into these five tips on how to avoid keyword cannibalization.

1. Use Canonicals

Instead of repeating the same keyword on every page, you should try to implement variations of that particular keyword. The trick is to link back to the original source for the specific term.

This lets Google know which version is the most relevant for each of these queries. Don't forget that it's not just Google that struggles with multiple keywords, it's your users to.

By using this solution, you're ensuring a clearer path for your readers as well as Google.

2. 301 Redirects Are Your Friend

If you are having issues with keyword cannibalization, you can use 301 redirects to send the link juice and relevance to another single page. This helps you immensely, as by identifying which pages have the problems and then redirecting to a relevant page, it helps to boost that particular pages relevance.

This helps your visitors land on the right page and Google will rank the most valuable page for the search query.

3. Look for Duplicate Title Tags

You want to try and identify where there may be keyword cannibalization happening on your site. You would then map out the preferred topical themes of your site, this means each page would be targeting a unique keyword and topic.

The easiest way to identify a cannibalization issue is to look for duplicate title tags on your site. You can do this by using a web crawler to help you do this. These tools such as Screaming Frog Crawl your site and sorts through your pages to give you a bird's eye view of all the meta tags including title tags.

You can sort the columns by title tags to give you an easy way to spot duplicate titles. You can even export these files into an excel document, giving you more advanced controls for filtering your pages.

4. Reorganise Your Site's Architecture

Hopefully, all your website will need is a shuffle around with title tags, if the problem is more complex than that, however, it may be time to consider re-organizing your site's architecture.

One of the easiest ways to reorganize your websites information architecture is by creating a visualization of what an organized architecture would look like. You can take the pages and keywords you have already and regroup them.

The only downside with this technique is you may create some gaps in which you need to write content to fill in those gaps.

5. Consolidate Your Content

One of the issues you may encounter when trying to figure out your keyword cannibalization is that your pages aren't unique enough. If you can't justify having multiple pages targeting the same keyword you should consider consolidating them into one single piece of content.

This is a great opportunity to take two or more pages that are underperforming and convert them into a higher authority page. The average first-page result is 1,890 words in Google, so longer form content generally ranks better too.

This also helps you to resolve any pages with thin content.

Time To Up Your SEO Game

With cannibalization under control, your site will not only perform better in Google searches, but you'll be giving your users a much better overall experience. Your pages will flow more seamlessly and your internal linking structure should be giving you a much-needed boost in link juice.

For more helpful tips on everything SEO, check out our other articles.

Search Engine Marketing Columnist


Search Engine Guide > Robert Clough > 5 Ways to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization