A way to Spot and connect keyword Cannibalization

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keyword cannibalization is an search engine optimization concept humans do not frequently consider. A few seo specialists claim it does not exist.

however the reality is this—key-word cannibalization is an trouble which can effect your scores.

Use this manual to recognize what keyword cannibalization is, what it isn’t always, and how to discover and connect problems stopping your web site from high-overall performance.

what’s key-word Cannibalization in seo?

keyword cannibalization happens when you have more than one page focused on your web site’s same keyword and rationale. One of the two pages influences the other’s ability to rank, and as a end result, neither web page will perform as properly as it have to.

shall we say you want to rank for the key-word “accommodations in Paris.” so you create a blog post titled “7 beautiful & highly-priced motels in Paris, France.” 

some years later, you understand a few greater luxurious inns were built when you consider that your final go to. So that you create a new submit that includes those particular luxurious inns however objectives the identical key-word.

that is an instance of key-word cannibalization. Each posts have the equal key-word and consciousness, despite the fact that they seem on the same website years apart. They have got the equal key-word inside the title, will in all likelihood have the same key-word positioned throughout the content, and could have similar content standard.

Optimizing or more pages for the equal keyword to your website does not mean they will rank. But, two pages with similar keywords can harmoniously stay on the equal web site if they have one of a kind search motive.  

Examples of key-word Cannibalization

keyword cannibalization can reason several issues and prevent your website’s overall performance in search engines like google.

a number of the more not unusual cannibalization problems that could appear include:

  • Ever-converting rating URLs
  • Fluctuating ranking Positions
  • rating words battle to boom
  • the incorrect URL Ranks

permit’s dive into every one to get the information.

Ever-converting ranking URLs

have you discovered that the ranking for a specific keyword continues converting? 

ranking URLs that continuously exchange is a commonplace signal of key-word cannibalization and usually approach Google can not determine out which web page have to rank.

you can see this occurring in the instance below, where more than one URLs keep switching inside and outside for a keyword.

essentially, there are puzzling and conflicting alerts at play.

given that positions are often fluctuating, the user’s revel in and direction to conversion are negatively impacted—particularly whilst one page converts customers at a miles higher fee than the other. 

Fluctuating ranking Positions

This rating fluctuation commonly occurs alongside URLs changing. You can have noticed that your ranking function for a key-word continues fluctuating, frequently excessively. 

this can show up as a result of key-word cannibalization whilst URLs are changing. Conflicting indicators mean that the ranking function fluctuates consequently.

suppose one web page has earned more links than every other, yet there’s an obvious battle of intent and common content material fine. In that case, this could imply that your natural visitors also can fluctuate pretty exceptionally if one of the URLs ranks in a distinguished function for a excessive-extent term. 

ranking key phrases warfare to increase

once in a while you expect your web page could boom in ranking, yet it seems to make no progress in any respect—especially whilst you realize you have earned wonderful hyperlinks and created fantastic content material. This could be frustrating however is a not unusual trouble resulting from keyword cannibalization.

here’s what is taking place—the authority of your pages is break up throughout or extra pages, as opposed to one, so neither page is rating as strongly as it could. 

hyperlinks are a number one ranking element, and whilst link authority splits throughout more than one URLs, this may purpose even in addition confusion on what’s ranking. 

if your rank isn’t increasing, going for walks a test with position monitoring for cannibalization troubles may also assist. 

the wrong URL Ranks

once in a while, you’ll find that the incorrect URL ranks for your goal key-word.

This might be a single product ranking for a keyword that you companion with a category or subcategory, or perhaps a bit of content unique from the only that have to be ranking—maybe one that became posted years in the past. 

right here is an splendid instance of a weblog put up from 2011 that ranks in pinnacle spots:

Wrong URL ranking

while this happens, cannibalization is probably the purpose of the difficulty. The “wrong” URL is extra applicable than the only you’re looking to rank. 

In flip, this may damage conversion quotes if customers land on the wrong page.

keyword Cannibalization pertains to user purpose

keyword cannibalization is all about  motive. Content provided to a consumer in search engines like google and yahoo depends on their search rationale and which part of the client’s adventure. 

Is the user simply seeking out statistics about some thing (informational), or are they shopping for something (transactional)?

we’ll use of Apple’s MacBook pro pages as examples:

Macbook Pro SERPs

Apple.Com has two specific pages ranking in natural positions #1 and #2. 

it’s no longer a wonder they’re the pinnacle end result, however if the assumption that pages optimized for the identical keyword will save you every different from ranking, really we ought to see a unique end result right here?

but let’s look at the pages in a little extra element.

here is the  pinnacle-ranked MacBook seasoned web page:

Macbook Pro Main

we are able to see this is Apple’s foremost MacBook pro web page because it offers a top level view of the product and version contrast. 

The assumed motive of a user surfing this web page is they’re looking for extra statistics on the product while they may be within the studies stage in their purchase journey. It’s miles an informational page.

the alternative result that ranks just underneath this is the  “buy Macbook seasoned” page, visible underneath.

Macbook Pro Buy

This web page is a traditional class web page focused on those who’ve long gone through the customer’s recognition & consideration degrees and are within the decision degree. 

definitely positioned, they’re prepared to make a purchase. 

We see further detail on pricing, specs, and greater. Compared to the primary page, the second one page is transactional instead of informational—an explicit a part of the shopping for procedure. 

whilst the key-word and subject matter are very similar, the reason of those two pages is one-of-a-kind.

the primary web page allows introduce the MacBook seasoned at the same time as without problems comparing the exceptional models available. The second exists for the ones considering their laptop options. 

these pages can exist alongside every other without causing any confusion for both kind of person or serps. 

conserving multiple ranking position for a keyword, particularly in pinnacle positions isn’t cannibalization. In this example, occupying more than one positions in the top 3 positions is superb!

Cannibalization Exists For more than one Pages With similar reason 

keyword cannibalization generally occurs by chance whilst new pages are published over time with out thinking about what already exists. 

the main component to don’t forget is this: multiple pages optimized for the equal key-word do now not cannibalize except the rationale of these pages is the same.

while the motive for both pages is the identical, you are essentially competing in opposition to your self. 

Google’s John Mueller was asked  on a Reddit AMA multiple years again: 

“How is keyword cannibalization visible via Google? People believe that having a couple of pages approximately the same topic confuses search engines and that hurts their chances of ranking.”

John’s response turned into:

We simply rank the content material as we get it. If you have a group of pages with kind of the equal content, it’ll compete with each different, kinda like a gaggle of children trying to be first in line, and in the long run a person else slips in ahead of them :). In my view, I opt for fewer, stronger pages over masses of weaker ones – don’t water your website’s cost down.

— John Mueller, Google

consider it this manner:

in case you can not pick which page is the one that need to rank, how will you expect Google to achieve this?

real key-word cannibalization troubles imply which you efficaciously ask a seek engine’s set of rules to choose which one to rank.

at the same time as on occasion stronger rating signals point to 1, there aren’t ranking indicators indicating to the alternative. As a end result, neither will rank in addition to they may, for this reason cannibalizing every different’s overall performance potential.

but, that said, it’s far a tremendous difficulty that influences many web sites, and cleansing those up is a critical challenge that should shape a part of your broader  seo strategy.

the way to pick out keyword Cannibalization

Now that you realize what key-word cannibalization is and isn’t, it is time to find out which pesky pages are cannibalizing each other.

There are some different methods that you may take a look at for cannibalization issues. Right here are some demonstrated techniques:

Semrush’s role tracking tool

you may continually use Semrush’s  position monitoring device to monitor pages with capability cannibalization issues. If you have the  Guru or marketing strategy, you’ll see a “cannibalization” tab within the tool—that is a extremely good region to start locating problems that exist in your web page.

you’ll find cannibalization as an choice:


There are alternatives in relation to the usage of this tool. You can view capacity troubles both via “pages” or with the aid of “key-word” to fast find opportunities and begin solving them.

starting with the keyword view have to be your first step. You’ll be looking at cannibalization more frequently on a keyword-with the aid of-keyword basis in place of a web page-through-page basis.

you may analyze any given key-word and see in which multiple URLs are ranking and the positions they appear in to prioritize possibilities—considering the search extent, anticipated traffic, and contemporary rating position.

cannibalization tool data

the placement monitoring device assists in studying URL fluctuations that would point to a cannibalization issue. You may also see a keyword’s records by clicking the arrow subsequent to the keyword for an elevated view.

position tracking URL changes

using these functions of the device will let you to identify troubles at a top-level and decide while this began and which pages are cannibalizing each other. 

Google search Console

Google search Console (GSC) can be a great device for finding cannibalization issues.

to use it, head to the performance document, and you may see, through default, a list of queries that your website online has earned impressions and clicks from. 

click into one of these queries, through the “pages tab” and you will see a list of the URLs that rank for that query and the associated stats that go along with it.

aspect be aware: GSC aggregates statistics and suggests an average. Take note of filters like area, tool, etc., and use them to get greater correct effects.

If there’s multiple URL showing, this can be as a result of key-word cannibalization.

Search Console Cannibalization

site: search Operator

Use the “web page:[domain] keyword” seek operator instantly on Google to find a list of pages which might be deemed relevant and optimized for a selected keyword.

site search operator

in case you accept as true with you’re laid low with cannibalization, do a manual evaluation check for the reason of those pages. If you note each pages have the identical purpose, then you may roll out fixes to ensure best a single web page is focused on a selected motive.

the way to repair key-word Cannibalization to your website online

there may be no “one length suits all” technique to solving cannibalization problems. The direction you take to resolving the issues depends on the character situations.

however, there are not unusual fixes you can use while it is the right time to achieve this. 

cast off and Redirect Cannibalized Pages

if your website online has a couple of pages focused on the identical motive, but you only want to hold the sort of live, placed a few  301 redirects in location.

as soon as you have recognized the most powerful of the pages cannibalizing—do not forget inbound links pointing to the pages, organic visibility across other phrases, and historic site visitors as alerts to help make your decision—get rid of the others and 301 redirect their URLs to the strongest page. 

that is usually the handiest manner to restore cannibalization problems. 

make sure to update any inner links pointing to the pages you remove. Other than that, you need to see the removed URLs drop out of Google’s index over the next few weeks. 


occasionally, you cannot do away with the cannibalized pages and preserve simply the only. If this is authentic, there are some times where using canonical links would be useful. 

you can use canonical hyperlinks for::

  • A page that may be a committed % touchdown page
  • A terrific piece of content from a person-enjoy angle
  • CMS restrictions which might be causing page duplication or another motive completely.

when these are the instances, recollect the use of  canonicalization to help you kind out the ones problems. 

Doing this indicates you may pick one web page because the primary, which then tells Google that is the one that must rank on the SERP. It additionally guarantees that rating alerts, together with hyperlink equity, are attributed to the canonical page.

From right here, none of the opposite pages will need to be eliminated, and they could nonetheless all be accessed by using users. 

See our  amateur’s manual to Canonical Tags to learn more approximately canonical pages.


If, for some thing purpose, you’re unable to delete and redirect the elaborate pages, you might consider this subsequent solution. 

try implementing rel= “noindex” tags—or an HTTP reaction Header—on all but the web page you have selected as your primary web page.

With this approach, all pages can nonetheless exist at the web page. However all except one page will be de-listed, resolving the cannibalization problems. 

That said, canonicalization is preferred over noindex, given that ranking alerts are attributed to the canonical, whereas noindex in any other case may not be.

Use the noindex approach with warning. 

seasoned Tip: don’t mistake combining canonicalization and noindex as answers. The 2 signals are contradictory pieces of facts,  as stated by using John Mueller:

Noindex (alone) & robots.Txt disallow (in widespread) are not clear signs and symptoms for canonicalization. Just having a noindex on a web page would not inform us which you need to have it combined with some thing else and that indicators should be forwarded.

that is additionally wherein the manual which you shouldn’t blend noindex & rel=canonical comes from: they are very contradictory pieces of statistics for us. We will generally choose the rel=canonical and use that over the noindex, however any time you rely upon interpretation through a computer script, you reduce the weight of your enter 🙂 (and seo is to a huge component all about telling computer scripts your preferences).

— John Mueller, Google

in case you are not cautious, you may emerge as sending conflicting alerts and potentially risk attributing ranking signals on your primary web page. 

Noindex can be useful whilst you need to solve cannibalization issues because of skinny content material and not using a oneway links and no organic visitors—assume tag pages for your blog, for instance. 

Re-Optimizing Pages

occasionally, you find you have inadvertently brought on cannibalization at the metadata level honestly by using no longer optimizing for key-word versions. 

as an example, shall we embrace you run an eCommerce keep that sells a product in 3 one of a kind colorings. 

even though the product pix are extraordinary, it’s commonplace to peer product variations on unique URLs with the same identify tag and H1 tag. 

in this instance, you may re-optimize every variant’s page to target greater without a doubt and resolve cannibalization troubles. 

reworking Your internal Linking shape

In a few times, you may restore cannibalization problems with the aid of reworking your  inner linking structure—specially whilst the use of specific fit  anchor textual content that factors to specific pages. 

reworking internal links to make sure that these are set up correctly and factor to the right web page—not a cannibalized version—can assist smooth up troubles. However, on its personal, it also includes now not enough to restoration the hassle outright. 

Take this method along with cleaning up pages that compete for motive to look higher fulfillment. 

Merging and Consolidating Pages

In cases whilst you discover you have got or weaker, however competing pages cannibalizing one another, merge and consolidate them into a single page. Essentially, you’re creating one greater massive web page with the help of more than one weaker ones.

this is normally the excellent technique to take when you have one clean number one web page being a standout, having hyperlinks pointing to it, or receiving site visitors while you can’t pick out a primary web page.

it could also suggest you need to clean up the content material to enhance the very last web page. You might need to make certain 301 redirects are put in place for any pages deleted or URLs changed to bypass over any rating indicators. 

developing New reason-targeted content

One common cannibalization problem seen with eCommerce is a single product web page that ranks for seek terms related to their product range. 

And when this occurs, because no “variety” subcategory exists, fixing the difficulty is as simple as creating a brand new page.

whilst there isn’t a page that matches the purpose, you’ll discover “the subsequent excellent thing” rating, so you simply create one. You should then locate that the problem disappears because it satisfies the cause. 

how to avoid Cannibalization problems in the destiny

First and most important, constantly actively monitor your website. 

while you’re investigating new opportunities for content creation, do not sleep on what a Semrush toolkit can offer. 

tools like function tracking, area overview, and organic research can give you an active review of what you’re currently rating for already, so you do not make the error of making new pages with the same content.

take a look at for content material on your site that has the equal purpose every time you create something new.

It would not want to be time-consuming and ought to occur all through  keyword studies

just head to Google and use the “website online:area ” operator to go back a listing of pages deemed applicable for the key-word.

Check for intent cannibalization

look through the results from a mindset of cause evaluation. Scan for existing content serving comparable functions and similar reason to what you want to create.

if you see a web page with the same cause because the content you want to create, take into account updating the prevailing web page in preference to growing some thing new and inflicting cannibalization issues. 

Resolving key-word Cannibalization troubles Can power important profits

keyword cannibalization is a commonplace issue in seo. It remains a place that causes persisted confusion and forestalls many websites from acting as well as viable.

larger web sites with a lot of content material are most probable to stand cannibalization problems, however no web page is proof against it. 

So do your web site a massive choose: often run cannibalization audits.

these system-driven procedures can assist prevent cannibalization problems from taking place again. 

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