What is Cannibalization?

06/06/2023
Cannibalization

Cannibalization is the competition of pages on a website with each other on the same queries. This negatively affects the SEO performance of the web page and prevents users from reaching the right results. It is also referred to as keyword cannibalism.

This problem causes the website to lose authority and rankings in search results pages. As organic traffic decreases, the website will lose visitors, which can result in decreased sales for an e-commerce site.

Causes of Cannibalization

Cannibalization happens if multiple pages contain the same content or if more than one page is targeted with the same words. Search engine algorithms become confused about which page on a website to display to the user for their search queries.

How to Solve Cannibalization Problem?

To solve the problem, we have listed a few key points to consider. One important aspect is ensuring that each page has unique content.

  • Uniqe Content: The information and descriptions on the pages should be as different from each other as possible. Descriptions for each page should be unique.
  • Meta Title and Meta Description Texts: Meta title and meta description tags that will appear on search results pages should also be specific to each page.
  • Keyword Targeting: Keywords should also be page specific, the same keywords should not be targeted on multiple pages. The right words should be used on the right pages, when keyword research and keyword mapping are not done correctly, search engines may direct users to different content when they want to reach them. It should not be focused on only a single keyword query, alternative words related to the subject should also be used in the content.
  • Canonical URL Usage: It is important to specify the URL of the page to be indexed to search engines by using the canonical tag of web pages. The Canonical tag helps search engines in terms of the page to index.
  • Merge Pages with Similar Content: You can combine 2 or more pages that create cannibalization to create a single page and target queries on this page.Avoid Cannibalization

Cannibalization Examples

  • If a blog post about tire repair on a car-focused e-commerce website and a tire repair kit product focus on the same words and create page content, this can lead to cannibalization. Because the search engine algorithms may be surprised about which page will appear in front of the user in the query.
  • Since a product page on the e-commerce site and a blog post describing the user experience about that product and detailing the product will be created on similar queries, there may be cannibalization between these pages.
  • Creating 2 or more pages on the same topic on a blog site may cause cannibalization because they will have highly similar content.

Detection of Cannibalization Pages

You can use Google’s own tool Search Console or third-party tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush to detect competing pages.

Cannibalization Detection with Search Console

On Search Console, you can review the pages that received clicks and impressions in search terms. If a query is getting impressions and clicks from too many pages, Google may be confused about which page to display to the user in this query. You may need to reconsider the word targeting on the pages.

Search Console Cannibalization

Cannibalization Detection with Ahrefs

When you activate the “Multiple URLs only” button above in the “Organic keywords” field in the Ahrefs panel, you can view the pages that create cannibalization in the URL column.

Cannibalization on Ahrefs
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