A guide to keyword cannibalization in SEO and how to fix it

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A guide to keyword cannibalization in SEO and how to fix it

Keyword cannibalization happens when you have two or more pages ranking for the same keyword. It is generally considered undesirable. 

This article will help you decide whether you have a keyword cannibalization problem and, if so, how to solve it.

Is keyword cannibalization always problematic?

Before fixing keyword cannibalization, check whether it is a real problem for your site.

Sometimes, two pieces of content ranking can be favorable, especially with an indented SERPs.

Screenshot from Google SERPs showing indented search results. An example of where keyword cannibalization is not really a problem.

For Delish, these two pages ranking on page 1 are beneficial. In one search, they’ve got two pieces of content ranking. The indented SERP gives Delish more space in the page and increases their chances of a click.

A quick browse of these two pages will show similarities in ranking keywords. For example, according to Semrush, both pages rank for:

  • “quick easy healthy lunch”
  • “easy healthy lunch ideas”
  • “easy healthy lunch”
  • “easy and healthy lunch ideas”

You don’t have to take action on two pages ranking when there are indented SERPs. Leave them especially if you’re getting clicks and conversions.

Identifying keyword cannibalization that needs fixing

If you don’t have access to software to help spot cannibalization, you can find potential issues with Google site search. 

Use the following when searching:

  • site:example.com “keyword” 
Screenshot of Google showing how to identify keyword cannibalization with the site: search query.

The screenshot above shows how Google has listed content on and around “healthy” and/or “lunch” published on the Delish website. 

If you have similar results, look at the pages and investigate if they are problematic.

To identify problematic cannibalization problems, look for the following:

A sudden drop in clicks or impressions

This can happen when you publish a new piece of content and Google prioritizes the new piece over what was already ranking. 

This can return to normal after a while, but if it doesn’t, look at the next section on fixing keyword cannibalization.

Struggling to rank despite your best efforts

Two pieces of content targeting the same SERP intent can be “confusing” to Google. 

It indicates that your content strategy isn’t as robust as it should be. 

Pages ranking for a keyword that isn’t supposed to

If you’ve worked on your content strategy, but the wrong page still ranks, then you’re almost definitely cannibalizing yourself.

In this situation, follow our tips on what to do when the wrong page ranks.

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This content was originally published here.