The Problem With Keyword Cannibalization and Why It is An Opportunity to Fix Other Issues Regarding SEO

What is keyword cannibalization? It is when the same keyword is used on multiple pages to compete against one another. There is a common misconception that Google will not rank your pages when you use the same keyword on each one.

We asked one of Google’s webmasters about the term “keyword cannibalization.” His response pretty much says it all.

“Keyword cannibalization? No clue what it is, sorry.

Gary IIIyes

That does not mean it does not exist. The problem is that so many people misinterpret the meaning.

What Do People Get Wrong About Keyword Cannibalization?

The first argument says that the same word on multiple pages will confuse the search engine. That argument has been debunked so many times because search engines know what words are on every page.

The second argument is that Google will show the wrong page for an item. This argument has also been debunked many times because that is not correct, either.

Is it about intentionality?

Yes. Your page needs to show relevant data or it is not going to show up. What happens when your page is surrounded by “how to Wiki” pages? Then, it is not going to show up, either.

Example #1

Page one ranks with more than 500 different keywords. Page two ranks with more than 7500 different keywords. One scenario is that there will be some overlapping. The second scenario is that there may be some shared words on each page. The keywords may be the same, but the intentions are very different.

Example #2

Someone did an opinion piece on technical SEO, including potential problems that may arise and what is next. The person did a Google search to see how the page ranked. The results came back with both an audit and a checklist.

Google ranked the page under “informational intent” for SEO. They also ranked the page under “job specialties and training.” The conclusion is that Google search engine will show many variations of the keywords you use.


Current filters in the system flag keywords sometimes, too. Hosting crowding and domain clustering are two examples of these filters. Google will only show one or two results when your filter settings are on unless you have multiple pages showing relevancy.

The Options

You can let the pages fight it out to see who is top dog. You can also take a look at some other options. One option is turning off the filter. Turning off the filters might give you more results, as long as your content is the same.

You can also consolidate some of your pages into one. Are there pages where you are saying the same thing more than twice? Combine the pages into one page and get rid of the excess verbiage. You can also add in some external links from other sources. Adding external links adds credibility to your content. Credibility will give you a higher ranking in the Google search engines.


Keyword stuffing is not necessarily a problem. You should look at this as an opportunity to clean your pages up and keep only the relevant data. Pages that appear more streamlined with their content and keywords give the reader a better experience.


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