Definition of Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization refers to the unintentional practice of targeting the same keyword or search term across multiple web pages or blog posts within a website. This can cause confusion for search engines, resulting in lower rankings for each of the competing pages. Additionally, it can also dilute the authority and relevance of the content, making it harder for users to find the most appropriate information on your site.


The phonetics of the keyword ‘Keyword Cannibalization’ are:/ˈkiːwɝd/ /ˌkænɪbəlɪˈzeɪʃən/

Key Takeaways

  1. Keyword Cannibalization refers to a situation where multiple pages on your website compete for the same targeted keywords, ultimately harming your search engine ranking and potentially confusing users.
  2. To avoid keyword cannibalization, it is important to conduct keyword research, create unique and valuable content for each targeted keyword, and optimize individual pages with proper on-page SEO techniques.
  3. Regularly auditing your website and using tools like Google Analytics or Search Console can help identify instances of keyword cannibalization and address them effectively, improving your overall SEO performance and user experience.

Importance of Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword Cannibalization is an important digital marketing term because it highlights a detrimental issue where multiple web pages on a website compete for the same or similar keywords, ultimately diluting their overall search engine ranking performance.

This internal competition can lead to weakened SEO efforts, confusion for search engines when trying to determine the most relevant content for a specific keyword, and a diluted user experience.

Resolving keyword cannibalization ensures that a website has unique, focused content targeting specific keywords, thus improving its search engine visibility, user experience, and overall online performance.


Keyword cannibalization is a crucial concept in the realm of digital marketing, which aims at optimizing a website’s content for improved search engine rankings and enhanced online visibility. At its core, the purpose of this phenomenon is to prevent multiple pages of a website from targeting the same keyword or phrase, which could ultimately hinder the website’s overall performance in search engine results pages (SERPs). This is because search engines such as Google may struggle to identify the most relevant content among various pages addressing identical topics, thus diluting the site’s authority and potentially leading to lower rankings.

In order to avoid this detrimental effect, digital marketers and content creators should diligently analyze their website’s content strategy to ensure that each page is tailored to target distinct and relevant keywords. By diversifying the targeted keywords and allocating them strategically across the website, webmasters can avoid inadvertently competing against their own content and effectively curb keyword cannibalization.

This practice not only prevents pages from undermining each other on SERPs, but also contributes to a more comprehensive and organized content structure. As a result, websites optimized to avoid keyword cannibalization are more likely to rank highly on search engines, attract qualified organic traffic, and ultimately, drive conversion and business growth.

Examples of Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on a website target the same or similar keywords, causing competition for the same search terms and potentially leading to lower rankings for each page. Here are three real-world examples:

Example 1 – An online store selling running shoes:Suppose a website has separate pages for different types of running shoes for men, such as trail running shoes, road running shoes, and minimalist running shoes. However, each of these pages has content that targets the keyword “best men’s running shoes.” As a result, they are competing against each other in the search engine ranking for this keyword, rather than complementing one another.

Example 2 – A recipe blog:A food blogger creates a new post for a “healthy vegetarian lasagna recipe.” The blog already has another post related to “best vegetarian lasagna recipe.” Since both these blog posts target similar keywords, Google may struggle to determine which page to rank higher, so each page’s ranking is impacted negatively.

Example 3 – A travel website:An online travel guide has several pages that target the keyword “best hotels in Paris.” These pages might include accommodation options categorized by budget, location, or style (luxury, boutique, etc.), but they all focus on the same search term, creating competition within the website for that keyword. This can lead to reduced rankings for each of these pages, and ultimately, a decrease in overall visibility on search engines.

FAQ: Keyword Cannibalization

What is keyword cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on a website compete for the same target keyword. This can dilute the effectiveness of the pages and hinder overall search engine visibility. It confuses search engines about which page should rank for the target keyword, which may lead to neither of them ranking as high as they potentially could.

How can keyword cannibalization affect my SEO?

Keyword cannibalization can negatively impact your SEO efforts by causing confusion for search engines, dividing authority among multiple pages, and reducing click-through rate. When search engines are unsure which page to rank, it may hurt the chances of your most relevant content being found by users.

How can I identify keyword cannibalization on my website?

To identify keyword cannibalization, you can use various SEO tools or perform manual searches with Google search operators. Some common tools include Google Analytics, Ahrefs, and SEMrush. You can also use “target keyword” in Google search to check if multiple pages from your site appear for the same query.

What are some strategies to resolve keyword cannibalization?

To resolve keyword cannibalization, consider merging similar content into a single comprehensive piece, using canonical tags, implementing 301 redirects, or updating internal linking structures. You can also differentiate your content by targeting different keywords, long-tail variations, or search intent for similar topics.

Can I target the same keyword on multiple pages if the search intent is different?

Yes, you can target the same keyword on multiple pages if the search intent is different. In this case, ensure that your content clearly addresses different aspects of the search query, and optimize your meta tags, headings, and URLs to reflect the distinct focus of each page. This way, you’ll minimize the chances of keyword cannibalization and improve your chances of ranking for specific search intents.

Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Keyword Ranking
  • Keyword Competition
  • On-Page Optimization
  • Content Marketing

Sources for More Information

Reviewed by digital marketing experts

More terms

Guides, Tips, and More