SEO cannibalization: how to detect it and 4 effective solutions

SEO cannibalization: how to detect it and 4 effective solutions

SEO cannibalization affects the performance of the content strategy, we show you four methods to combat it successfully

SEO cannibalization: how to detect it and 4 effective solutions


SEO cannibalization can be considered a flaw in content strategy. It occurs when two or more pages of a domain compete for the same keyword, affecting the positioning strategy. Consequently we lose strength in both urls and we are less effective.

How does SEO cannibalization affect content strategy?

It affects the CTR of each page: One of the main consequences of SEO cannibalization has to do with the number of clicks that each page receives. By having two contents competing for the first places in the ranking, the number of visits is divided. That in addition to reducing the CTR, also stagnant at the two urls in the last positions of the first page of Google.

The authority of the page does not grow: SEO cannibalization limits the growth of authority, by attracting divided traffic. This directly affects the strength of the page: an indicator that Google takes into account to measure the popularity and authority of the content.

The conversion rate is reduced: As a general rule, the landing pages that promote your product or service should be positioned above the blog’s content. However, when competing for the same keyword, the opposite is possible. This is a terrible failure in the content strategy, because it decreases the conversion rate.

You spend in vain crawling budget: In addition to spending time and money writing SEO-optimized articles, which in the end will not meet their objective, you also spend more crawling budget for the search engine to index and find them.

Is SEO cannibalization always negative? 

SEO cannibalization in blogs

Not always, there are very specific cases where SEO cannibalization can be a bit positive. It can happen that a section of the website is positioned above a blog article and that both receive a significant amount of traffic.

There are also two forms of “positive cannibalization” that can be safely attempted. But they are quite difficult to achieve.

The first is possible when you have a keyword positioned in the first place in Google and without the possibility of another domain removing it from there. Then you can take advantage of the authority that that word gives you and create variations of keywords (with low competition) to position other articles.

The second (and more interesting) way is to create a section focused on a main keyword that receives the most backlinks. And then link it to other secondary keyword sections.

For example: we created a “Life Insurance” section for an insurer’s website. We work on the link building of that url and when it has sufficient authority, we link it with other sections such as “Life insurance for families”, “Life insurance for workers”, and the like.

How can I know that my website is cannibalizing keywords?

Well, the only solution to SEO cannibalization is to concentrate all authority on a single page. For this you can simply unify the contents.

Use your CMS search engine

You just need to enter your blog and place the keyword in the content search engine. All articles that share the same keyword will appear in the results list.

Use the command “site:” in Google

You can also detect cases of SEO cannibalization using Google. You only need to place the command ” site:” with the domain we want to explore and the keyword that in this case we want to analyze.

SEO cannibalization software

You can also find signs of this problem with alternative tools, some paid, others free. What these tools do is extract all the keywords from the site and there you can identify which ones are falling into cannibalization.

How to fix SEO cannibalization?

The technique you will apply to correct SEO cannibalization will depend on the size of your domain and the amount of published content.

Unify the content in a general article

The best way to correct SEO cannibalization is by unifying content. Detect topics that share the same keyword and create a single post with all the available information.

Do a 301 redirect (merge all addresses into just one)

In this case, analyze all competing URLs for a keyword, with any research tool. Be it SEMrush, Ahrefs or the one of your preference.

Study and analyze in detail which URL has the best organic position ; that is, which one has the greatest authority, the greatest number of incoming links and the most positioned keywords.

On more than one occasion you will find pages with no strength, with no backlinks, much less positioned keywords. You will have it very easy there, because there will be nothing to sacrifice.

What do I do then, delete them? No, this will cause more problems. It is almost certain that that page will be linked to another on your same site or shared in a social network. If we remove them, then we will get an even bigger error, which is the 401 error. The latter affects SEO much more.

What we have to do is a 301 redirect. How does it work? It simply redirects all the traffic from those secondary pages to the main publication, the one you have chosen before for having a better organic position.

By applying this technique, all secondary urls will lose the interactions received, but instead you will gain greater domain of authority on the website.

Internal linking

This technique doesn’t really solve the problem, but it does make it up to Google.

It consists of putting a link with Dofollow property to the main publication, in the first paragraph of the secondary article. In anchor text (phrase that goes above the link) it will have the exact name of the article or category.

How does it work? The Google algorithm, when scanning the first paragraph of the content (one of the most important), you will notice the importance we give to that link and you will know where to direct the domain of authority.

Canolical links 

The canonical links are intended to indicate to Google that, when faced with several of the same content, it should only focus on one. The most relevant.

The disadvantage of this method is that it does not transfer the authority from one page to another, as is the case with the 301 redirect option. Furthermore, using this technique does not guarantee 100% effectiveness, because well the Google robot can ignore the prompt.


SEO cannibalization: how to detect it and 4 effective solutions

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