Ever noticed multiple pages of your website showing up in search for the same keywords and queries? If your business is working on optimizing content, this may sound great — more impressions = more clicks, right? In actuality…ranking multiple times on a search engine results page (SERP) for the same search intent is not what it seems.

Why? When multiple pages on your website are ranking for the same keyword, you’re falling victim to keyword — or content — cannibalization. Keyword cannibalization is the practice of creating different pieces of content that have the same focus, which can negatively affect your website’s ranking and performance. In order to properly optimize your site, it’s important to understand what keyword cannibalization is, the impact it can have, how to identify it, and how to avoid it in the future.

What Is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization is the process of targeting the same keyword(s) or search intent across multiple pages of your own website, which causes these pieces of content to compete against one another in search results. This takes away from one page’s ability to rank and perform well in search, and it often ends up hurting the site as a whole.

As an example, say your website sells ski equipment and you write a blog about the best downhill ski gear. You choose to target the “affordable ski equipment in Michigan” search query in your blog, which starts to rank alongside your downhill skill product page that also targets the same keyphrase. Even though your blog is less relevant to the query than the product page is, Google doesn’t understand which web page to prioritize in search results and your content loses clicks. This is just one common way keyword cannibalization prevents itself, and why the content you create shouldn’t reinvent the wheel.

How Keyword Cannibalization Impacts Your Content

Not only does keyword cannibalization cause your business to compete with itself, it can deter visitors from your website completely. When users see the same information in two different search results or on multiple pages, they become unsure of which link to click and view your site as disorganized. 

Rather than try to figure out which area of your website will provide them with the information they’re looking for, users will often opt for abandoning your business entirely. A user’s decision to get answers elsewhere lowers your page’s click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate, which is why paying attention to cannibalized content on your site is so important.

Checking Your Content for Keyword Cannibalization

One of the easiest ways to check your website’s content for cannibalization is by doing a Google search. When typing in a few keywords or a specific query your business is ranking for, you should be able to view which of your web pages are coming up for those terms on Google’s results page. 

If multiple pages are found to be ranking for the same or similar keywords, your next step would be to determine which page has more value. There are a few ways to handle this. One of the more cost-effective ways of doing so is through Google Search Console. Running a report and filtering by different queries or pages will help identify the overlap. Utilizing third-party tools such as Moz, SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc. also can be of value to see which page might be more valuable from a popularity or authority perspective.

Once you learn which of your pages are more valuable, you can move forward with condensing content so only one page on a given topic appears in search results. This can be done by eliminating unnecessary cannibalized content or revising pages to focus on a new search intent and keywords.

Preventing Keyword Cannibalization on Your Website

As you continue optimizing your website’s content for search, it’s helpful to understand how to avoid keyword cannibalization in the future. The first step toward avoiding cannibalization is recognizing that new content isn’t always the answer.

Rather than develop a new blog on downhill skiing equipment — and fall victim to keyword cannibalization — because your existing downhill skiing content is outdated, opt for updating the existing page to reflect product changes and industry updates. You can also avoid cannibalization through internal linking, which entails briefly mentioning a topic you have already written about on another page and linking to that content so users can easily access it.

When you do draft a new piece of content, get in the habit of asking yourself: What is the specific purpose of this piece of content, and has its topic been covered on my website before? As you’re writing, ensure that you’re sticking to the content focus you have already determined. Continuing with our ski equipment example, if your piece is about ski lodges in Michigan, don’t start talking about Michigan’s ski hills. That is an entirely different topic to cover in another blog!


Ultimately, your goal in creating content should be to direct users to the most relevant information related to their search. When multiple pages cover the same topic, you’re not meeting the customer’s needs — and you’re definitely not helping yourself either.

Looking for more insight into keyword cannibalization and how to avoid it? Our team at BlackTruck Media + Marketing is well-versed in content strategy and happy to help. Send us a message and we’ll get back to you with how we can make your website better for search.