What is Cannibalization in SEO? How to Fix It?

Cannibalization in SEO is terrific when you are trying to gain organic traffic. It not only divides the searches and traffic but also degrades your authority in Google. There are SEO specialists who ignore it as a challenge but the reality is it affects your overall content and your ranking in the searches. In this blog we are going to discuss why it is bad and how you can remove it from your websites. 

What is Cannibalization in SEO?

Cannibalization in SEO occurs when two or more of your website pages target the same set of keywords and offer the almost same content too. Either one of them eats the natural source of traffic for the other. The organic traffic automatically gets divided and none of the pages perform as they should.

Effects of Cannibalization on Website:

Cannibalization can affect your website in a hard way and will face trouble getting the best results of your hard work.

Changing Ranking URLs:

Cannibalization means there are duplicate keywords and intent in two or more of your web pages. Due to this Google gets confused about which one to keep on top of results. Hence in a time, you will see your two different pages replacing each other for two keywords. Since the position shuffles, it impacts negatively on your website.

Fluctuation in Ranking:

It is very common to see ranking fluctuations of your web pages when two or more of your web pages are already replacing each other constantly. 

Struggle in increasing the ranking:

If you have already done a quality optimization and filled up quality content in your web pages and still see no increment in your rankings in Google searches, then cannibalization can be the reason behind this.

Ranking of Wrong URL:

When your web pages face cannibalization issues, it confuses the Google search engine. Sometimes Google both of your pages that you want to rank and start displaying the wrong URL from your website. It may be a subcategory of a web page that is showing a special product.

How to Fix Cannibalization in Your Website?

Cannibalization issue, not a single-shot play. It takes proper care and auditing to remove it from your web pages. Unless you have a very big-sized website, removal of cannibalization is not too tough for you.

Remove and Redirect Cannibalized Pages:

This is the simplest way of treating cannibalization on your website. This method removes all the duplicate pages and keeps one page only that has the most authority, best optimization, and best content among all. You need to put 301 redirecting links on the pages that will help Google to decide which page is to be chosen.

The historic traffic will also help Google in this regard. Be sure that you update the internal links that lead to the removed pages. Also, check whether your old pages are out of the index or not.

Conclusion: Canonicalization:

If you can’t remove the cannibalized pages, you should approach using canonization for those web pages. This is done by using canonical links in the pages. The canonical pages will have the authority to the page targeted in the link.

You can set a dedicated PPC page as your landing page.
A page that possesses great content that users love.
You can use canonical links to avoid CMS restrictions.
This action will guide Google to decide on one page as primary and to show in the SERPs.

Keep the Pages in No Index:

Noindex is another solution for removing cannibalization on your web pages. If you cannot remove or redirect your web pages, try to noindex them. You can do it by implementing rel=”noindex” tags or an HTTP header response.

Your pages will be a part of your website but Google will not index them except the one you choose. This process indeed solves the cannibalization issue.

Here is a catch- Do not use noindex with canonicalization as these two send the exact opposite signals resulting in a negative impact on your website.

Re-Optimizing the Pages:

It’s very common for an e-commerce website to get cannibalized because they have different pages for a similar product. This is due to the almost similar content and keyword because only some features like colour or size are different in both the products.

You can easily solve it by re-optimizing the pages with unique URLs and slightly different product titles.

Merging and Consolidating Pages:

If you have more than one page for similar content and some of them are weaker, you can merge them into one. The competing pages will be consolidated into one page with the best optimization.

This is one of the best approaches when you have a clear idea of the primary page and want Google to focus on that only. This not only removes cannibalization but also enhances the quality of the primary page.

Also, you may have to freshen up for content on the page. Don’t forget to use 301 redirect links in the duplicate pages.


Cannibalization is a very common issue in SEO. But this affects your ranking and performance on a deeper level. However, cannibalization in SEO has a very easy process to be removed if done correctly. Above we have discussed it all in detail.