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How to Identify Keyword Cannibalization Issues in SEO

Writing keyword-focused content can help you rank well in search engine results, but keyword cannibalization issues in SEO can completely derail your marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll cover what keyword cannibalization in SEO is, why it’s bad, and how you can spot it.

Google SEO

What Is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization happens when you have more than one page on your website that focuses on the same keyword. As a result, search engines can’t discern which page is more relevant to the reader.

This easily happens with well-established blogs that have produced a lot of content over the years. You may have written on a topic years ago, and since then, new information has come out. You want to have the most up-to-date content, so you write a new post using the same or very similar keywords. In doing so, you become your own competition for SERP rankings.

Why Is Keyword Cannibalization Bad?

When your website has keyword cannibalization in SEO, you will struggle to achieve higher search engine rankings. Ranking high is essential, as nearly 70% of clicks go to the first five organic search results. When two posts compete against each other to rank for the same keyword, both end up struggling to perform.

Additionally, you have no way of knowing which page or post Google will rank higher. Google reviews the quality of content, and it gives a higher ranking to what it believes is the most relevant content. If Google can’t distinguish between your two pages, it may choose the wrong one to rank higher.

Signs of Keyword Cannibalization

Is your website suffering from keyword cannibalization in SEO? Here are some signs that may be the case:

Top-Ranking Pages Keep Changing

When you check the SERP for a keyword, the top-ranking pages displayed frequently shift around. This is a sign that the search engine is struggling to identify which page has the most useful information for the reader.

The Wrong Page Is Ranking Higher

If you have two pages focusing on the same or similar keywords, you may find that the less-relevant page is ranking higher on the SERP.

You Struggle to Rank at All

Even though your content is highly relevant, you used strong links, and your SEO strategy is perfect, your page doesn’t rank well because you've diluted the authority of your page with duplicate content.

To avoid keyword cannibalization issues in SEO, carefully plan which keywords you use in content. Google recommends using a good mix of keyword phrases and variations to see better results.

Tracking keyword usage and being mindful of your reader’s intentions can help you to avoid keyword cannibalization and its negative effects on SEO. To learn more or to get help with SEO, contact the Slyde Associates Content & SEO Team.


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