December 3, 2023


Immortalizing Ideas

A tutorial to search phrase cannibalization in Search engine optimization and how to deal with it

Search phrase cannibalization comes about when you have two or a lot more internet pages position for the exact same search phrase. It is commonly deemed undesirable. 

This post will enable you determine irrespective of whether you have a search phrase cannibalization problem and, if so, how to fix it.

Is search term cannibalization often problematic?

Prior to correcting search term cannibalization, examine whether it is a authentic problem for your site.

Occasionally, two parts of content material ranking can be favorable, specifically with an indented SERPs.

For Delish, these two web pages rating on web page 1 are helpful. In a single look for, they’ve obtained two pieces of information position. The indented SERP provides Delish additional house in the website page and boosts their chances of a simply click.

A quick search of these two pages will show similarities in rating key terms. For example, in accordance to Semrush, equally web pages rank for:

  • “quick uncomplicated healthier lunch”
  • “easy healthful lunch ideas”
  • “easy balanced lunch”
  • “easy and healthful lunch ideas”

You really don’t have to choose action on two web pages position when there are indented SERPs. Leave them particularly if you are acquiring clicks and conversions.

Figuring out search phrase cannibalization that needs repairing

If you really don’t have access to program to help location cannibalization, you can discover probable problems with Google web page lookup. 

Use the pursuing when exploring:

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

The screenshot earlier mentioned reveals how Google has stated information on and about “healthy” and/or “lunch” revealed on the Delish web site. 

If you have related outcomes, glance at the pages and look into if they are problematic.

To detect problematic cannibalization problems, look for the subsequent:

A unexpected fall in clicks or impressions

This can materialize when you publish a new piece of articles and Google prioritizes the new piece in excess of what was now ranking. 

This can return to regular following a when, but if it doesn’t, glimpse at the following portion on fixing key word cannibalization.

Struggling to rank even with your very best efforts

Two pieces of articles targeting the exact SERP intent can be “confusing” to Google. 

It signifies that your information technique isn’t as sturdy as it should really be. 

Pages ranking for a search term that is not supposed to

If you have labored on your written content method, but the incorrect site continue to ranks, then you’re practically certainly cannibalizing by yourself.

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

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Repairing key phrase cannibalization 

How you fix key phrase cannibalization will count on the problem it is producing and the alternative most handy for your viewers.

Listed here are some keyword cannibalization alternatives to look at.

Inner linking

An inside linking technique is a excellent to start with effort and hard work to take care of keyword cannibalization. 

Below, you will not likely be taking web pages down or redirecting material – a rather harmless alternative if you feel anxious about the repercussions.

How to correct keyword cannibalization with inside linking

Interior linking is a effective resource for Search engine optimization. It’s practical for audience to locate pertinent sources and related written content. It also presents Google a directive on what a site need to rank for.

If you’re doing written content the ideal way, you know what the two parts of articles should rank for. 

So you can use an inner backlink from a single piece to the other to reinforce where they sit in website architecture and what individuals may possibly look for to find the piece.

In this occasion, choose for an precise match search phrase or a little something near to it.

Evaluate your interior inbound links and recognize inbound links pointing to the two position parts. You may be pointing to the internet pages with the exact anchor textual content. 

You can get a superior concept of what anchor text you are employing to link to internet pages with Screaming Frog.

Open Screaming Frog, then simply click crawl your web-site. Filter by HTML, simply click the website page you want to check out, then strike inlinks.

Annotated screenshot of Screaming Frog showing the steps to analyze internal links to help solve keyword cannibalization issues.

You can expect to see which webpages link to your website page and with what anchor textual content. With a brief edit you can straighten out your inside linking approach.

Pro idea: When making a information strategy, put together a information databases (like a Google Sheet) the place you can select a keyword from the cluster to use in your anchor back links. This system prevents writers from incorporating random inside inbound links in their articles.

Refining keyword clusters and setting up obvious lookup intent

Most likely you’ve got determined search phrase cannibalization but want to continue to keep the two web pages. In this circumstance, you might will need to give just about every piece a described function. 

To do this, create a keyword cluster and set up very clear research intent. Every piece of articles have to do a little something exclusive.

Using the Delish example from earlier mentioned, we can see that whilst equivalent, the two article content have obvious research intent. 

  • A single article recommends lunch thoughts for do the job.
  • The other endorses packed lunches. 

Getting a packed lunch to get the job done is synonymous with a do the job lunch, but it just isn’t just for do the job functions.

Content consolidation and 301 redirects

It really is reasonably intuitive when you require to do a content material consolidation and a 301 redirect. Primarily, you can notify straight away if a page is targeting the specific exact search term.

Heading back to the Delish illustration, while similar, the two webpages on healthier lunches have two unique intents. As mentioned, one particular short article focuses more on lunches for work, and the other is about packed lunches.

Although nuanced, the two material pieces can co-exist assuming they’re not leading to issues at the rear of the scenes.

Even so, if the two article content were being “55 Healthful Lunches” and “The Finest Healthier Lunches,” there is an situation.

The target search phrase is clearly identical – “healthy lunches” and “very best nutritious lunches.” Seems like the exact same matter, ideal?

To affirm, a swift lookup of  “nutritious lunches” and “finest healthy lunches” returns practically the precise exact same SERPs.

So, these articles or blog posts would be consolidated, and a single would be redirected to the other.

How to resolve key word cannibalization with articles consolidation and a 301 redirect

Just before consolidating two (or a lot more) articles or blog posts, do your owing diligence. Use facts to assist you make a decision which URL you’re trying to keep and which a person you happen to be redirecting.

  • Consolidate the content in the two articles. When you do this, make sure you give it a complete edit. You can expect to do far more poor than very good if you finish up with Frankenstein-esque written content. To realize success with this tactic, your written content have to be superior-top quality and properly-composed. 
  • Find the most profitable URL by on the lookout at Google Lookup Console facts. Filter by web site to see which URL receives the most clicks, impressions and typical position. Normally, 1 will supersede the other a good deal, so the decision will be noticeable.
Annotated screenshot of Google Search Console showing the page filter.
  • If the successful URL doesn’t bounce out at you by this point, check the backlink profile. While you will redirect a person website link to the other and carry over all those back links, keeping the content material on the URL with the strongest backlink profile would be greater.

Add a canonical

If the two webpages need to exist but you you should not want Google indexing both equally, you could add a canonical. 

This technique is practical on ecommerce websites, notably Shopify websites, the place the exact item exists on many URLs.

We can see the canonical in motion on Helm’s Shopify internet site.

Their Xander Olive shoe exists on two URLs:


A lookup in just the code of the /collections/ URL shows the canonical pointing to the products.

Screenshot of Helm website showing canonical in their code.

How to keep away from cannibalization in the future

Cannibalization issues take place when there is no apparent plan for material manufacturing. With out a approach, properly-intentioned writers can provide identical parts of written content. 

To prevent cannibalization, keep a written content log and watch the adhering to:

  • Target search phrase: Assign just one to just about every piece of articles.
  • Search phrase cluster: Detail all other key terms the piece should rank for.
  • Content material pillar/subject: This will help visualize all written content less than a selected topic.

The nearer you are to your articles and its purpose, the much less probably you are to develop cannibalizing content. It allows to have a strategic Search engine optimization qualified to guideline the system so they can accurately assign keywords. 

If each piece of articles matches within a certain pillar or subject, you can filter content material by that matter and double check you have not already produced articles just before you produce it.

Or, you can use your articles research method to determine information that could be edited as a substitute of recreated. Occasionally, a excellent edit on an present post can do miracles for your Search engine optimisation.

Viewpoints expressed in this report are these of the visitor author and not necessarily Research Engine Land. Employees authors are outlined right here.