Keyword Cannibalization: How to Identify Fix and SEO Issues

Keyword cannibalization happens when several pages on a website target the same or similar keywords, forcing them to compete for search engine rankings. This internal competition can dilute the authority of your pages, confuse search engines, and ultimately hurt your website’s overall search performance. Instead of having one highly authoritative page, you might end up with several mediocre pages vying for the same keyword, which can reduce your chances of ranking high in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Why is Keyword Cannibalization Harmful?

While having multiple pages ranking for the same keyword might seem harmless, the reality is far from ideal. Keyword cannibalization can lead to a host of SEO headaches, including:

  • Diluted Ranking Signals: Instead of consolidating ranking power on a single, authoritative page, you’re spreading it thinly across multiple pages, making it harder for any of them to rank high.
  • Wasted Crawl Budget: Search engines need more resources to crawl and index your website. When encountering multiple similar pages, they might save time crawling them instead of focusing on other important content.
  • Lower Click-Through Rates (CTR): A confusing search results page with multiple pages from your site targeting the same keyword can leave users unsure of which link to click, ultimately lowering your CTR and traffic.
  • Internal Competition: Instead of working together to boost your website’s authority, your pages compete against each other, hindering your overall SEO performance.
  • Lost Link Equity: Inbound links are crucial for SEO, but when you have multiple pages targeting the same keyword, you risk splitting your backlink profile, diluting the link equity that could have been directed to a single, authoritative page.

How to Check for Keyword Cannibalization

Checking for keyword cannibalization involves several steps to identify if your website has multiple pages competing for the same keyword. Here are some effective methods:

Google Search

One of the simplest ways to check for keyword cannibalization is to perform a Google search for your target keyword and see how many of your pages appear in the search results.

  • Search Query: Enter your target keyword in the Google search bar.
  • Analyze Results: Look through the first few pages of the results to see if multiple pages from your site are ranking. If you find more than one page, you might be experiencing keyword cannibalization.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console provides insights into your website’s performance, including how different pages rank for specific keywords.

  • Performance Report: Go to the Performance section and review the queries report.
  • Filter by Keyword: Use the filter to enter your target keyword.
  • Inspect Pages: Examine the list of pages that rank for the keyword. If you see multiple pages, keyword cannibalization might be occurring.

SEO Tools

SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz offer keyword-tracking features to help identify cannibalization.

  • Rank Tracking: Use the rank tracking feature to monitor your keywords.
  • Keyword Analysis: Analyze the data to see which pages rank for your target keywords.
  • Duplicate Rankings: Identify if multiple pages are ranking for the same keyword.

Content Audit

A content audit involves comprehensively reviewing your website’s content to identify and resolve keyword cannibalization issues.

  • Inventory of Pages: Create a list of all your web pages.
  • Keyword Mapping: Assign primary keywords to each page.
  • Identify Overlaps: Look for pages targeting the same or similar keywords.

How to Find Cannibalized Keywords

Finding cannibalized keywords is a crucial step in addressing keyword cannibalization. Here’s how you can do it:

Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics can help you track the performance of your pages and identify potential cannibalization issues.

  • Behavior Flow: Go to the Behavior section and check the behavior flow report.
  • Landing Pages: Look at the performance of your landing pages.
  • Keywords: Identify which pages are driving traffic for specific keywords.

SEO Tools

Advanced SEO tools provide comprehensive keyword analysis and can help find cannibalized keywords.

  • Ahrefs: Use the Site Explorer tool to analyze your website. Look for page ranking for the exact keywords.
  • SEMrush: Use the Position Tracking tool to monitor keyword rankings and identify overlaps.
  • Moz: Use the Keyword Explorer tool to find which pages rank for specific keywords.

Manual Review

A manual review of your content can also help identify cannibalized keywords.

  • Content Audit: Review your content and list the keywords each page targets.
  • Compare Keywords: Check for duplicate keyword targeting across different pages.

How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization

Once you’ve identified keyword cannibalization issues, the next step is to fix them. Here are some effective strategies:

Consolidate Content

If you have several pages that target the same keyword, try combining them into a single, complete page. 

  • Merge Pages: Combine the content of the cannibalizing pages into one authoritative page.
  • 301 Redirects: Use 301 redirects to direct traffic from the old pages to the new consolidated page.

Update Content

Updating and optimizing your existing content can help differentiate your pages and resolve cannibalization issues.

  • Unique Keywords: Assign unique primary keywords to each page.
  • Content Enhancement: Update the content to focus on different aspects or subtopics of the main keyword.

Internal Linking

Proper internal linking can help search engines understand the relationship between your pages and distribute authority effectively.

  • Link to Primary Page: Add internal links from related pages to your primary page.
  • Anchor Text: Use relevant anchor text to reinforce the primary keyword of the target page.

Deindex Pages

If specific pages are optional, you can deindex them to prevent them from competing with more critical pages.

  • Noindex Tag: Add a noindex tag to the less important pages.
  • Remove from Sitemap: Ensure these pages are removed from your XML sitemap.

How to Prevent Keyword Cannibalization

Preventing keyword cannibalization involves proactive measures to ensure your website remains optimized and free from internal competition.

Keyword Mapping

Create a keyword map to assign unique primary keywords to each page on your website.

  • Keyword Assignment: Ensure each page targets a unique keyword.
  • Content Strategy: Develop a content strategy based on your keyword map.

Content Planning

Careful content planning can help avoid keyword cannibalization from the outset.

  • Content Calendar: Use a content calendar to plan your content.
  • Topic Clusters: Organize content into topic clusters with pillar pages and supporting articles

Regular Audits

Conduct regular content audits to identify and address potential keyword cannibalization issues.

  • Periodic Reviews: Schedule periodic reviews of your content and keyword strategy.
  • SEO Tools: Use SEO tools to monitor your keyword rankings and identify overlaps.

Unique Titles and Descriptions

Ensure each page has unique titles and meta descriptions to differentiate them from search engines.

  • Title Tags: Craft unique and descriptive title tags for each page.
  • Meta Descriptions: Write unique meta descriptions that accurately reflect the content of each page.

What is Keyword Cannibalization Checker?

A keyword cannibalization checker is a tool that helps identify instances of keyword cannibalization on your website. These tools analyze your website’s content and rankings to detect when multiple pages compete for the exact keywords. They provide insights into which pages are affected and recommend resolving the issues.

Keyword Cannibalization Checker Tool Free

There are several free tools available that can help you check for keyword cannibalization. Here are some options:

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that provides valuable insights into your website’s performance and can help identify keyword cannibalization issues.

  • Performance Report: Use the Performance report to see which pages rank for specific keywords.
  • URL Inspection: Use the URL Inspection tool to analyze individual pages.


Ubersuggest offers a free version that includes keyword tracking features.

  • Keyword Overview: Use the Keyword Overview tool to see which pages rank for your target keywords.
  • Site Audit: Perform a site audit to identify potential SEO issues, including keyword cannibalization.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Screaming Frog offers a free version of its SEO Spider tool, which can crawl your website and help identify keyword cannibalization.

  • Crawl Analysis: Use the crawl analysis to review your website’s content and identify duplicate keyword targeting.
  • Custom Search: Make custom searches to find pages targeting the exact keywords.


Keyword cannibalization is a common SEO issue that can significantly impact your website’s search performance. By understanding what keyword cannibalization is, how to check for it, and the steps to fix and prevent it, you can optimize your website to ensure each page ranks effectively. Utilizing tools like Google Search Console, Ubersuggest, and Screaming Frog can provide valuable insights and help you maintain a healthy, optimized website. Regular audits and strategic content planning are essential to prevent keyword cannibalization and enhance your overall SEO strategy.

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