Keyword Cannibalization: Locating, Fixing and Preventing

Site Audit Issues
Keyword Cannibalization: Locating, Fixing and Preventing


  1. What Is Keyword Cannibalization?
  2. How to Locate Content Cannibalisation?
  3. How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization?
  4. How to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization?
  5. How to Make a Website Audit With Netpeak Spider?
  6. Conclusion

Meet the monster of identical content — keyword SEO cannibalization. If you don’t optimize your articles for unique terms, keyword cannibalization may harm your rankings. Eventually, it will reduce your ability to be seen on Google. And well, that’s definitely what website owners want to omit, right?

In this article, Netpeak Spider will outline keyword cannibalization meaning, how it could harm your SEO efforts, how to locate it, and what measures to take to prevent its impact.

What Is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is a phenomenon that occurs when your website has more than one web page for the same search query on Google. It may happen when the subjects of these pages are similar or if you have optimized them for the same keywords.

When you optimize several articles for the same type of search queries, they compete, thereby shrinking their chances of ranking. They cannot be seen together, as Google will show only one or two results from the same domain in its search for a given query. This way, content cannibalisation harms your SEO in SERP and conversions.

How to Locate Content Cannibalisation?

It's easy to determine whether your site is experiencing keyword cannibalisation. You simply have two ways to detect cannibalization SEO issues: run a check in Google Search Console or conduct site research.

Run a Check in Google Search Console

Google Search Console is your friendly checker for content cannibalisation. Once you’re in the console, navigate to the Performance tab → Search Results → enter the required keyword in the Query filter → open Pages to detect the ranking links for this query.

Examine the pages to see any overlap in the search query. A keyword cannibalization scenario occurs when multiple web pages gain clicks and impressions.

Performance report for SEO keyword cannibalization in Google Search Console

Conduct Site Search

Another way to locate SEO cannibalization is a general googling of the site:[domain] with the preferred keyword. This way, you will see all the website pages on the selected topic. However, be careful here since Google will display all queries with the inserted keyword, even those with different targeting.

Let’s take SEO audit query as an example:

Manual search in Google with the site:[domain] filter for cannibalization SEO issue

Thoroughly check the results. Are any pages catering to the same search intent? If this is the case, you most likely face keyword cannibalization.

How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization?

All right, we located the issue, so how do we fix keyword cannibalization now? It is a good and right question, so we’ll highlight several points. The main idea here is to choose the primary page for the keyword and push Google to rank it as a priority. But let’s proceed to this aim step-by-step.

Implement Redirects

When you have multiple pages targeted to the same keywords (like blog posts or catalog lists) but require only one — redirects might be a solution.

Redirection Manager in RankMath.

Check the matching links per keywords, and based on the highest number of backlinks, ranking, and traffic volume, pick the primary page to which you will redirect the others. Then follow these steps:

  1. Post the new version of the preferred page on the required link.
  2. Use 301 redirects on the pages with content cannibalisation to your selected primary page. Proceed in a few clicks in RankMath.
  3. Redirection type in RankMath.

  4. Prevent internal redirects by identifying and updating any internal links to redirected pages.
  5. Clear the redirected links from your XML Sitemap.

Benefit From Canonical Tags

Using canonical tags or rel=canonical attributes allows search engines to distinguish which version of the page has similar content to the index, preventing keyword cannibalization appearance. This way, you can save your so-called duplicate content without harming your SEO.

Simply place the rel=canonical attribute in the cannibalized HTML page header. Use this tag <link rel = "canonical" href = "" />, where is the canonical page address.

Google’s code sample the rel="canonical"attribute in the <head> section

To set the canonical tag in WordPress, navigate to the YOAST panel → ‘Advanced’ settings tab. In the' Canonical URL' section, put a link to the canonical page. The YOAST plugin automatically identifies your page with the empty ‘Canonical URL’ field as a canonical one.

Setting rel=

Optimize Your Page Content

Google identifies the primary page the same way we discussed in the ‘Implement Redirects’ section (by the backlinks number, highest ranking, and traffic volume). Besides, when you have several pages with repetitive keywords, search engines could just misunderstand which page is more accurate for the preferred query. As a result, a cannibalized page can rank higher in SERP than the preferred (primary) page.

Therefore, consider web page content optimization, such as:

  • Title tag
  • URL slug
  • Headings (H1 and H2-H6)
  • Meta description
  • Images and alt attributes

Make each element from the list above unique, clear, and accurate to the keyword volume.

WordPress page content optimization

Additionally, do not underestimate internal linking in your website SEO optimization since it helps search engines navigate your site structure.

Be Attentive Upon Content Creation

Targeting the same keyword on several related pages can result in content cannibalisation. It happens when you don’t have a single page that effectively addresses the searcher's needs. Such situations confuse users and affect your SEO.

In this case, merge the web pages that have less value and concentrate on the primary pages. Make sure that your primary page doesn’t have duplicates. Especially when it comes to the product listing in the catalog, like with the “black office chair Amazon” query.

Product categories keyword cannibalization

Here are the things to pay extra attention to:

  • Product section and subsections
  • Anchor text to mirror the page, matching the executive post's word combinations
  • Removal of all mentions of the cannibalizing keyword from the page

Use Noindex Tags (Not Recommended)

Noindex <meta name="robots" content="noindex" /> is a particular X-Robots-Tag that directs search engines to block a page from the index, which implies that the pages won’t be ranked for any demands.

If you remove such pages with SEO cannibalization from the list of search results, they will not be able to compete with your target page. However, there will be no traffic for the excluded page at all. That’s why this method is the last resource you should consider.

Noindex with the Rank Math WordPress Plugin

How to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization?

First and foremost, don’t publish pages that target the same keyword and satisfy the very same search intent. Also, it’s a good idea to analyze your website thoroughly before creating and optimizing any web page content to avoid keyword cannibalization.

You can utilize your content management system (CMS) or the site:[domain] filter with the preferred keyword mentioned in Google to search efficiently. Besides, don’t hesitate to benefit from a website audit for quick issue detection!

How to Make a Website Audit With Netpeak Spider?

A detailed technical SEO audit helps you identify and prevent significant website blockages on time. With a website crawler, you can easily find out about SEO keyword cannibalization and other issues on your website. Netpeak Spider is a perfect all-inclusive crawler that ensures the correct functioning of your site. Among the TOP features it offers are:

Netpeak Spider

Complete an Internal Linking Audit

Internal linking is vital in search engine indexing. Thanks to an in-built “For PageRank” parameters template, Netpeak Spider collects information regarding internal and external links throughout the whole website. So, it will analyze all anchor texts, rel attribute values, and link types on your web pages. In the Database module, you can find all the reports.

Internal linking report in Netpeak Spider.

The program also reveals link equity distribution, pages with limited link equity, and insignificant pages with high PageRank. The “Internal Pagerank calculation” function estimates the detrimental effects of link equity and provides a general overview of how the link equity is distributed.

Locate TOP-Ranked Search Queries

As we mentioned in this article, you need to regularly run a check on the TOP-search phrases on your website to evaluate TOP-ranked ones. And Netpeak Spider can conduct such a search for you!

  1. To proceed, navigate to the ‘List of URLs’ tab in the software’s window, then choose the ‘Enter manually’ section to insert the list of the required pages’ inks. In the ‘Settings’ tab, pick the ‘Google Analytics & Search Console’ section, and press ‘Add a new Google Account’.
  2. Google Analytics & Search Console settings in Netpeak Spider

  3. You will be redirected to the browser window, where you need to select the Google account to which Search Console is attached. Allow viewing and data downloading and press ‘Continue.’
  4. In the ‘Google Search Console Settings’ section, locate the required website and enable export of search queries, pressing OK after.
  5. Google Search Console settings with queries export in Netpeak Spider.

  6. In the ‘Parameters’ tab, checkmark the ‘GSC: Requests’ and press on ‘Start’. Once Netpeak Spider ends its investigation, you will receive the full report. To export the obtained info, select the ‘XL (very large) reports from database’ under the ‘Export’ section. Afterward, choose the ‘Request from Search Console (XL)’ option.

Netpeak Spider provides you with a full report on individual web pages. Thanks to the export functionality, it is easy for you to download important data such as clicks, impressions, and CTR indicators into Excel. You can then analyze this info to determine the top priority pages for SEO.

Conduct HTTPS Protocol Audit

Once the website transits to HTTPS, you need to eliminate all HTTP links, create direct HTTPS links without redirects, and solve mixed content problems for your site’s security. That is where Netpeak Spider comes in handy.

Before crawling, use parameters such as ‘Status Code,’ ‘Incoming Links,’ ‘Redirects,’ ‘Target URL Redirect,’ ‘Page Hash,’ and ‘Outgoing Links’ to detect mixed content.

In the ‘Settings’ tab, allow crawling of more pages and files such as JS and CSS. Following the crawl, navigate to a report on HTTP links under the ‘Overview’ section:

How to open a report on links with the HTTP protocol in Netpeak Spider

To see the incoming links, right-click or F1 for a particular page and Shift+F1 in the report. The report will also show you all links with redirects, destinations, and incoming links.

Netpeak Spider


To sum up, the solution to keyword cannibalization in SEO requires constant work and meticulousness. This includes an audit of current content, performance analysis, informed decisions on what to maintain or delete, and prompt actions.

Regarding e-commerce websites, studying how the CMS manages to organize pages is crucial. Using the approaches we mentioned in this article, you will be able to address current issues and avoid SEO keyword cannibalization in the future.

Netpeak Spider is your all-in-one checker and helper when it comes to SEO issues, so don’t hesitate to benefit from its features to rank your pages in the highest priority mode for SERP.