Search engine optimization (SEO) relies on effectively targeting keywords that are relevant to a website’s content, which, when optimized properly, can ensure visibility for the site online. 

Nonetheless, SEO efforts may be undermined by keyword cannibalization, a situation where multiple pages (or parts of one page) all target the same primary keyword.

Identifying and understanding this multi-faceted issue is extremely important. Luckily many SEO agencies, like this one offering Salt Lake City SEO services, are here to fully optimize an online presence and reach potential customer audiences.

What is Keyword Cannibalization? 

Keyword cannibalization actually occurs when multiple pieces of content included within a single website all target the same set of keywords. 

This severely dilutes the ranking potential for a given keyword as search engine algorithms struggle to prioritize which page should be ranked in searches for this keyword.

Root Causes of Keyword Cannibalization 

Poor site structure and internal linking practices 

Poor site structures and internal linking practices are usually caused by novice SEOs creating multiple pages that feature the same content while targeting the same keyword or slight variations thereof. Improper structuring of URLs in certain architectures may create perfect conditions for cannibalizing various pages through duplicate content issues, which depletes page authority on competing sites.

Duplicate content issues and their impact 

Duplicate content, like that found on the same pages or ones very similar to each other produced within the same site, can have a major damaging impact on SEO efforts. 

Not only does it decrease user engagement and CTRs by presenting confusing options for visitors. But, these conflicting URLS also make it hard for search engines like Google to accurately index information, leading to murky results and reduced visibility from ranking. 

Additionally, many sites running ads may find their revenue hampered as this type of content makes ad unit billing difficult. Avoiding duplicate content issues greatly improves SEO performance dramatically.

Unintentional targeting of multiple pages for the same keyword 

Unintentional cannibalization of keywords, where multiple, i.e., redirected/duplicate content URLs or individual portal pages rank for the same targeted keyword phrase, leads to competition against each other in SERPs and is seen as a negative signal by Google’s algorithms. 

It not only causes confusion among search bots but also provides inconsistent and disjointed visibility on different search engines, thereby affecting overall SEO performance.

Lack of clear content differentiation

When producing content around similar themes, clear distinctions must be made right from the title to highlight which page is targeting a particular keyword phrase or expression. 

Without proper technology in place and well-structured content design coupled with targeted keywords, search engine spiders would crawl all the web pages and index them under

the same terms leading to SEO performance struggles over time.

Strategies to Resolve Keyword Cannibalization 

Content Audit and Optimization

For those affected by SEO cannibalization, a content audit and optimization can form the basis for resolving it. The key to having success here is identifying underperforming pages that may have inadvertently been competing against one another for similar keywords. 

Subsequently, consolidation of content into a single page should also follow, if applicable, before redirecting any banned URLs so as not to kill user experience or link usage.

Finally, double-checking the targeted keyword per page should be left at the end before finalizing the onsite optimization phase in regard to the effectiveness of dealing with cases of keyword cannibalization.

Strategic Keyword Mapping

Strategic keyword mapping is a method used to map specific search terms that describe what the content covers and what action it intends to push. Primary keywords should be established that need to be targeted on all pages, whereas secondary keyword phrases can be allocated selectively onto more target-relevant pages. 

The result of this tactic allows for better optimization in such a manner these keywords appear correctly in SERP as well as create smoother navigation for users. An effective way to further drive organic traffic.

Enhanced Internal Linking

Enhanced internal linking is a key tactic for ensuring content visibility and making sure that search engines can discover important pages. It involves creating hierarchical page structures with strong contextual connections and cross-linking between relevant topics, which enables seamless crawling by bots and enhanced end-user experience.

 When establishing an effective link-building structure, it’s important to focus on the quality of the links rather than quantity, as well as come up with strategies to ensure pages are properly linked to other relevant pages within the site hierarchy.

Canonicalization and Noindexing

Canonicalization and Noindexing are two important techniques for mitigating keyword cannibalization in SEO. Canonical tags allow websites to indicate which version of a webpage URL should be considered authoritative, avoiding duplicate content issues. 

Meanwhile, indexing tells search engines not to crawl certain pages or include them within search engine results so that the most relevant page is selected when multiple appealing options exist between various pages on your website.

 Both these methods help ensure strategic keyword targets do not compete with each other, allowing webmasters to receive maximum benefit from their optimization efforts.


The elimination of keyword cannibalization should be a priority goal for all SEOs. This guide highlights the importance of proactive prevention practices, including content audit and optimization, strategic keyword mapping, and structure internal linking. 

Going forward, the continual monitoring and optimization, together with technical implementations, can bring more organic traffic, improved user experiences as well as better ranking results in SERPs (search engine result pages).