SEO cannibalization: definition and examples

SEO Cannibalization | 

In search engine optimization, one of the main objectives is for a page to appear in the best possible position in the Google SERPs for a certain keyword.

Many times, and unconsciously, different URLs of the same web page try to position themselves for the same keyword, a situation that will end up penalizing the positioning of the site. This SEO cannibalization is a practice that should be avoided in most cases, being more interesting to try to position the URLs of a website by different keywords so that they can achieve better positions on the results page of Google.

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What is SEO cannibalization?

SEO cannibalization occurs when different pages on the same website compete to rank for the same keyword. This situation is negative in most cases because Google is not able to identify which of the pages it wants to position, which implies that none of these URLs will improve its position in the ranking.

What is keyword cannibalization for?

Keyword cannibalization can be used to try to appear on Google results pages with different URLs for the same keyword. It is a risky practice because it is very difficult to get this to happen, and for two pages from the same site to appear in the top positions of Google.

Large companies such as Amazon and AliExpress (both global marketplaces) achieve this, taking the top positions in Google with different pages. For any other website if the domain authority and the volume of traffic of this type of internet giants, keyword cannibalization should be avoided so as not to harm the positioning of each URL.

Why is avoiding keyword cannibalization important for SEO?

When Google bots crawl and analyze a website and find that different of its URLs try to rank for the same keyword, cannot distinguish which of them is the most relevant, so they will not prioritize any. The result is that all these URLs will lose strength in the positioning and will not be able to place themselves in good positions on the search pages.

If, on the contrary, each of these URLs is positioned by a different keyword (even if it is a related or derived keyword), Google will prioritize each of them for its corresponding keyword over the rest, allowing them to reach better. positions in your ranking.

Examples of keyword cannibalization

The cannibalization of words occurs many times by wanting to position many pages of a web with the same keyword. For example, if a website that is dedicated to addressing employment counseling issues tries to position all its sections and articles with the keyword “employment counseling”, it would confuse search engines that they would not know which URL is the most relevant for that keyword. of your website, with the result that none of your pages rank well.

How to detect and fix cannibalizations

One of the optimization tasks of a website is to detect possible cannibalisations and take actions to prevent different pages from fighting each other to rank for the same keyword.

Detect keyword cannibalization from Google

To find out if keyword cannibalizations are taking place on a website, you can use Google’s own search engine together with the SITE: command, to perform a search only on the website for a keyword.

For example, entering in the Google search field: SITE: + “keyword”, all the pages of the site positioned by that keyword will be obtained on the results page. By analyzing the results it is possible to identify if there are two or more pages of the site competing for the same keyword.

Detect keyword cannibalization from Google Search Console

Another interesting option to detect keyword cannibalization is to use the free Google Search Console tool. In the Search Traffic & gt; Search analytics, you must select the keyword to analyze and activate the page option, so that the URLs positioned by it are displayed.

The cannibalization of keywords is a situation to avoid on a website as it damages its positioning in Google. Once the pages that are being positioned by the same keyword have been detected, the best solution is to detect which one is the most powerful and use canonical links to tell Google that this website is the one you are most interested in positioning.