What is CRO Keyword Cannibalization?

There is enough competition from other businesses that you have to worry about when it comes to getting your site ranked higher on popular search engines. Don’t let conversion rate optimization, CRO, keyword cannibalization force you to compete with yourself. When you avoid keyword cannibalization, you can drive more traffic to your sites and optimize them to increase website conversion. In this article, you will learn what CRO keyword cannibalization is, how you can avoid it, and how you can use conversion rate optimization to reach your business goals.

conversion rate optimization

What Is CRO Keyword Cannibalization?

CRO keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple posts on your site rank for the same search query on a search engine. When your web pages all rank at the top, it is not that big of a deal. It is even a good thing. But if your web pages are ranking lower, keyword cannibalization is hurting your business.

CRO keyword cannibalization can happen when the search engine does not know which content to rank because it has a hard time understanding which page will be most relevant to the user. This uncertainty can cause search engines to rank content with more certainty over any of yours even if yours is more relevant. Google and other search engines will only show so many links to the same site, one or two, for one search query. So, the more you have, the less likely it is for the right one to be ranked.

When multiple pages on your site are optimized for the same topic or keyword, they will compete with each other just as they compete with other businesses. You will find both web pages ranking lower than they should be. This is due to backlinks. Backlinks add authority to your site which leads it to rank higher. When more than one page suffers from keyboard cannibalization, the backlinks get split between the pages. Fewer backlinks mean less authority in the eyes of Google. Less authority means lower search result rankings. Neither page can now outrank the competition that does not suffer from keyword cannibalization. 

Conversion Rate Optimization

Besides ranking all your web pages lower, another risk of CRO keyboard cannibalism is that the search engine could rank the wrong page higher. CRO keyword cannibalism hurts your conversion rate because you could be sending potential customers to weak web pages.  

Conversion rate optimization refers to the process of perfecting your article, webpage, post, etc. to increase the number of visitors who take the desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for an e-mail list. The action of a customer completing the desired action is referred to as a website conversion. You want a strong and informative site to optimize to get the highest conversion rate possible. Too many sites with similar and weaker content will lead to lower conversion rates. 

Website Conversion

An increase in website conversions is a goal that many businesses have. Insufficient conversion rate optimization due to keyword cannibalization will lead to lower website conversions. That is why identifying and solving keyword cannibalization is important for any business that wants to succeed.

You can use Google Analytics to get an idea of why your cannibalizing web pages are ranking better. This can help you decide which pages to keep. If you are getting a lot of traffic to one web page but no conversions, that is a good indication that you should keep the page and improve it to drive more website conversions. This can help you decide how you want to fix your cannibalization issues.

CRO keyword cannibalization

Identifying and Solving CRO Keyword Cannibalization

So, does your site suffer from CRO keyword cannibalization? If you suspect you have used the same focus keyword or that you have used focus keywords that were too similar, you can check by searching your site followed by the keyword you suspect is causing the cannibalization. The search results should come back with the pages causing the issues ranked. This is an easy way to check for CRO keyword cannibalization when you only have a small list of keywords.

If you have many keywords that are potentially being cannibalized, you can use the Google Search Console. If you have access to this, you can go to its performance report and go to the search results section to find the queries your website ranks for.

For those who do not have access to the Google Search Console, there are other options available. SEO Design Chicago can help you identify and combat your keyword cannibalization issues and improve your overall search engine optimization.

Meta Data CRO Keyword Cannibalization

The two places to look for CRO keyword cannibalization would be in the meta data and the page content. Meta data refers to information in the titles and meta tags of your web pages. When you use similar keywords in your titles and headings for multiple posts, they are very likely to cannibalize each other. Make sure your titles and headings are targeting the specific purpose of the webpage. Though multiple pages might cover similar content, they should have different purposes. Change the keywords to better reflect the unique intent of each page.

Content CRO Keyword Cannibalization

Solving CRO keyword cannibalism at the content level is more labor-intensive. This could be an issue stemming from two articles serving the same purpose. You could rewrite one article using completely different keywords, but if the content delivers bits of the same information or a similar message they are still likely to cannibalize each other. You will likely have to completely rewrite, delete, or merge the similar content to solve this form of CRO keyword cannibalization. 

Merge Content

When two or more articles have the same intent, merge these articles using the best information from both. Then, redirect visitors to your old articles to the new one. From this process, you will create one, strong web page that will rank higher than the web pages it was built from.

Canonicalize Content

Sometimes you can not delete a webpage with duplicate or similar content. Canonicalization could also solve your CRO keyword cannibalization problem. Canonicalization allows you to choose one page as the main page. Google will only rank this page in its search results. This will allow you to keep duplicate or similar pages without then cannibalizing each other. Implement canonicalization through your site’s HTML source code or by setting a rel=canonicalization HTTP header response.

website conversion

Remove Content From the Index

Another option to solve CRO keyword cannibalization when trying to avoid deleting any content is to implement the rel= “noindex” tag on the pages you do not want to rank. This tag will remove the content you do not want to rank from the index. Only the page that you did not add the tag to will be ranked.

While NoIndex is an option, canonicalization should be used before the rel= “noindex” tag because canonicalization specifically sends ranking signals from all the links in the cannon to the main webpage while the tag does not. These techniques should also not be used together because NoIndex will counteract the canonicalization information.

Avoiding Cannibalization

The easiest way to deal with CRO keyword cannibalization is to avoid causing it in the first place. The best way to do this is to put in the time to do some research. It might seem time-consuming in the moment, but it will likely take much more time to fix CRO keyword cannibalization once it is done.

It is a great idea to look through your old content before creating new content. Research what you have already created. You do not want to accidentally create content serving the same purpose as something you have already written. Not only will you waste your time, but this new page will likely cannibalize the old page and vice versa. Instead, edit the old content. Make your old work stronger instead of creating similar, less effective content.

Research keywords before creating content. Your keyword cannibalization problem could simply come down to a poor keyword strategy. Finding specific keywords can help you avoid using the same ones over and over again. There are many keyword tools to choose from to aid in your research. Google keyword planner is a common tool that many businesses use to research keywords. 

keyword cannibalization

Improve Your Website Conversion Rate

Now that you know what CRO keyboard cannibalization is and how to fix it and avoid it, you can optimize your website. Not only will you find yourself ranked higher in search engine search results, but you will also find that your improved web pages will lead to an increase in your website conversion rate. It takes effort to avoid and remove existing keyword cannibalization but will be well worth it when you see your improved website conversion rates.


  • How do I fix keyword cannibalization?
  • How do I find the keywords for cannibalization?
  • Why is keyword cannibalization bad?
  • How do I avoid keyword cannibalization?
  • How does keyword cannibalization affect conversion rates?

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