Keyword Cannibalization is a process where the web pages of a website compete for each other, for the same keywords or the key phrases. This creates a problem of confusion for the search engine spiders to provide which page in the search results, to the user.
In simple terms it's like repeating the same keywords in the website, to gain advantage in the search results. But it's reverse happens as the spiders cannot decide to show which page as the search result to the user, as everything in front of them seems to be the same. Maximum times this happens by mistake or in order to repeat the keyword throughout the site.
The story behind Keyword Cannibalization
Search Engines consider both the "On Page factors" and the "Off Page Factors" to determine the rank of the web page. On Page factors like the Title Tags and the Content, and Off Page Factors like the number of Links to the web page, the Anchor Text to those links and the Authority of the linking sites, play a vital role in the rank of the web page.
But if you are using the same keywords for multiple pages, then it becomes difficult for the search engines to decide which page to show for the respective keywords typed in the search browser. Moreover, search engines generally don't show multiple pages from the same website, as its not useful for the user. So they end up showing the web page which they feel is the best, and hence Keyword Cannibalization.
The Solution to Keyword Cannibalization
- If you already have the keyword cannibalization in your website, then it's better to use 301 redirects, from the different pages to the main page.
- Use unique Title tags for each page.
- Think every page as a different page and write unique content which appeals to the users.