Keyword Cannibalization – What is cannibalization?

When we talk about keyword cannibalization in SEO, we are referring to the situation in which different URLs of a web page are competing to position for the same keyword.   

There are many websites that fall into this error—most unconsciously or involuntarily—and see how their organic positioning is negatively affected.

How cannibalization harms SEO

If several pages on the same website try to rank for the same keyword, Google will not really know how they want to rank those pages, and the end result will probably be that none of them will end up ranking for that keyword.

The consequences of keyword cannibalization can be serious; For example, in an e-commerce it may happen that a blog entry is positioned above a product technical sheet.

How to detect keyword cannibalization

To find out if this SEO cannibalization is occurring on your site, you can use different detection methods.

  • “site” command:  In the Google search engine you can use the “site:” command followed by the domain and keyword. In the results obtained it will be possible to see if there are different URLs that compete to position themselves for that keyword.

  • WordPress:  In this CMS you can search for the keyword in the entries to obtain a list of them that point to that keyword.

How to Avoid and Solve Keyword Cannibalization

To avoid SEO cannibalization, the best solution is to focus your keyword positioning efforts on a single content URL. To prevent cannibalization from occurring or resolve it if it is already occurring, you must:

  • Use a keyword for each URL:  A specific keyword must be assigned for each page, thus preventing different URLs from competing for the same keyword.

  • Have a level structure:  Structuring the website with different levels will make it easier to assign a keyword to each of the pages.

  • Define the objective of each page:  If each page has its main objective defined, it will be easier to find the appropriate keyword for it, preventing it from competing with other URLs of its own.

In summary, keyword cannibalization is a common mistake made by many websites that has negative consequences when it comes to positioning the site. It is possible to analyze a web page quickly and easily to detect those URLs that compete for positioning with the same keyword, and thus be able to take the necessary measures to avoid it.

As a general rule, to avoid SEO cannibalization you should choose a primary keyword for each new page added to your website.