Effective keywords and Search Engine Optimization are vital components of advertising. While such efforts are pivotal to ensure views, clicks, and new clients and customers, there is a danger of oversaturation. Paid digital advertising professionals can overload their work with too much SEO or too many keywords. This mistake can mess with search results rather than help but is entirely avoidable.

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

Overloading keywords and search terms to the point that multiple results from the site show up or sites end up not showing up due to confused algorithms is called keyword cannibalization. This is because the keywords are eating each other for prominence in searches, hence the term.

For example, if a company selling fountain pens includes a search term like “fine tip stylus” in both their bargain options and high-end options, both search results may show up when people are searching for “fine tip stylus pens.” The presence of both high and low-end selections for such searches can confuse and maybe even make people upset at the lack of perceived diversity in products or services.

Solving the Problem

The first step to solving such issues is recognizing the cannibalized search terms by reviewing the keywords in use and searching for them on the internet. Then, once the overused words are identified, adjust them.

Returning to the previous example, “fine tip stylus” could be replaced in the bargain section with something else related to the product, such as “easy grip” or “firm tip.” This change keeps the bargain options in the search algorithm but under different keywords and SEO than the high-end pens. This separation means it’s less likely the two products will show up in the same search.

Creative SEO & Keywords

Multiple pages from the same site showing up in searches can happen, regardless of the keywords used. When it happens often, though, that’s a sign of keyword cannibalization. Ensuring such issues don’t occur takes both vigilance and creativity. As easy as it can be to use identical keywords in multiple pages, overloading and cannibalizing them creates more problems for searchers, which means fewer clicks, reads, and customers. Both paid digital advertising professionals and free SEO users need to remain aware of the issues cannibalization can cause. Creatively using SEO and keywords, the problem can be avoided and ensure different pages don’t appear in the same search unless intended.


Does your company need help with keyword selection and SEO? StickyLeads can help. We can assist paid digital advertising professionals in optimizing their search results by correcting problems. Contact us at 757-390-0748 and see what we can do for you.