Keyword cannibalisation happens when you’ve optimised two internet pages for the exact same or really similar keyword. You might’ve performed this on goal or by incident, but possibly way it’ll result in you challenges when it will come to ranking for the time period as you’re sending conflicting indicators to search engines over which URL you want to rank and the web pages will stop up competing with every single other. 

Google is pressured to decide on among which URL it ranks bigger on research final results, so it may possibly rank the wrong site higher or rank both of those URLs in a decreased situation than a competitor’s URL that has more powerful applicable indicators.

Cleaning up Search engine marketing search phrase cannibalisation can be performed as section of a written content audit, and in our experience, it commonly boosts position initiatives.

When is key phrase cannibalisation a dilemma?

If you’ve deliberately optimised various web pages for the identical goal keyword with the hope that getting various internet pages to rank will strengthen your possibilities of attaining visibility for that term, it is basically not heading to perform. Google usually won’t display more than 1 listing from the exact domain, except if executing so is heading to be significantly useful. 

It could also materialize unintentionally – you may well have many articles or blog posts on a very similar, but not equivalent subject matter, and these could possibly close up rating for the similar or identical keyword phrases. It is important that every single URL focuses on just one particular subject matter, and although it’s fantastic for new internet pages to department off into subtopics, the key key word concentration of every single of your URLs ought to be distinct.

It’s well worth noting that search phrase cannibalisation is not usually a dilemma. URLs are normally going to begin rating for lots of distinctive phrases, and some of these are likely to overlap throughout your site – it is only an issue it starts off impacting general performance. For case in point, if you notice several URLs concentrating on just the exact key phrase and neither page is rating well, you may well be ready to strengthen the visibility and visitors of just about every by consolidating these pages. But, if you have a site optimised for a target key word which is ranking effectively and attaining targeted visitors, and then recognize a unique URL commence to attain visibility for the same or a comparable phrase reduce down in the look for success, it’s almost certainly best to just depart it by yourself.

Identifying key phrase cannibalisation

Numerous rank monitoring tools will spotlight when various URLs are competing for the identical search phrase. In SEOMonitor you can filter your tracked keywords by ‘Issues’ to detect exactly where cannibalisation is occurring:

Also, if you’re monitoring keywords and phrases in Semrush there is a certain cannibalization tab:
Semrush cannibalisation tab

But don’t be concerned if you’re not monitoring keyword phrases in a paid device. There is free of charge means of pinpointing cannibalisation also:

A site: research

Employing a web page: lookup can be reasonably practical in this perception. Pop your domain title and concentrate on keyword into Google like this:

web page:domainname.com “keyword”

This will empower you to see rating URLs linked to this phrase, this sort of as: 

a site: search for the keyword 'SEO'

Notice that this does not always emphasize a difficulty – as you can see in the above case in point, these are unique internet pages linked to Search engine optimisation. But it might spotlight a handful of internet pages you’d want to appear into in much more element.

Google Lookup Console

If you search for a unique question in Google Look for Console, you’re in a position to see all the URLs that are attaining impressions and clicks for that phrase. We’d assume to see impressions for a question throughout fairly a massive set of URLs, so that is not a issue.

Even so, if you are looking at far more than one URL selecting up clicks for a certain question, that undoubtedly warrants more investigation. You’re perhaps diluting your over-all visibility for that term by forcing Google to decide on which URL to rank optimum.

How to resolve keyword cannibalisation issues 

If you are doing the job on a new web-site make, inner search term cannibalisation difficulties can be averted by building a search term map which assigns each individual site a focus on search phrase. This builds in superior Website positioning from the start off and will assistance minimise issues in the long term.

But if that is not been the scenario, there are 3 solutions that can correct any key word cannibalisation problems.

1. Consolidate your written content

Think about good quality over high quality. It’s improved to consolidate relevance and position indicators in 1 URL than it is to dilute that throughout numerous equivalent webpages – this evidently signposts to Google which URL we want to rank for this core keyword. For illustration, when carrying out a information audit, we recognized that we experienced three individual URLs gaining impressions for the time period ‘black friday’.Prepared decades aside from each individual other, just about every was a blog on the same subject matter of Black Friday internet marketing ways. In this case, the cannibalisation was resolved by merging any useful content material into the strongest, most recent URL /black-friday-advertising-methods, and 301 redirecting the other two into this URL.
3 URLS that are showing similar content on the same site
When carrying out a content audit and determining various URLs on the very same or identical subject matter, it is truly worth consolidating the written content into a single URL and redirecting the weaker webpages (calculated by decrease clicks/impressions/rankings) into this URL.

Before getting this motion, remember that the URLs you are redirecting could already rank for a variety of other conditions that could have some good search volume.

Therefore, it is best to weigh up whether you could be losing any worthwhile rankings by consolidating your articles. Normally it is only a little something you must do if the information or matter is really comparable.

2. Employing the noindex tag

In some occasions, the noindex tag could be more correct. For instance, even though doing the job with a new shopper recently, I recognized in Google Research Console that numerous URLs were being gaining impressions for what I’d instructed to be a main concentrate on key word. These URLs were paid landing pages that Google had been permitted to index, and there were quite a few variations focusing on specifically the exact same organic search phrase which I preferred the consumer to rank higher for. In this circumstance, consolidating the content into 1 URL would not have been appropriate, as individuals paid landing web pages ended up driving targeted traffic and profits from their advert strategies. But, they did not will need to be obtainable to Google, so we added a noindex tag on all the URLs we didn’t want to see rating organically, clearing up confusion more than which URL we required to rank and led to greater visibility.

3. Enhance inside linking 

Our ultimate position sticks to the foundation that you will need to make factors as straightforward as doable for Google for it to recognize which URL you want to rank for a selected phrase. An additional critical move that will manual Google in the ideal direction is earning sure you optimise inside linking and anchor textual content to stage to the URL you want to rank for that question. So, when you have a target keyword for a page, make absolutely sure that inside back links level to that website page, ideally making use of that concentrate on key phrase or a variation of it as the anchor text. And even extra importantly, check out to stay clear of making use of that concentrate on key word in anchor textual content pointing to a different URL.


If you choose away almost nothing else, at minimum takeaway these 5 points:

  • Key phrase cannibalisation is only an concern if it is holding back again organic performance 
  • This might be the situation if you have many indexed URLs focusing on the exact same keyword
  • You can location key phrase cannibalisation in rank monitoring applications, or by making use of Google Research Console or a site: search command
  • It can be fastened by focusing on top quality around amount, and remembering to make which webpage you want to rank for a term as obvious as possible for Google
  • Approaches for applying this consist of consolidating and redirecting material to just one URL, applying the noindex tag and increasing interior url alerts.

If you have obtained even more thoughts about search term cannibalisation problems, get in touch with a member of our Website positioning staff


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