Guide to fix “Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user” in Google Search Console

Are you facing duplicate Google chose different canonical than user error? We know how frustrating and time-consuming it is to fix new errors every time! But this blog is the solution for you to fix this particular error!

Duplicate, Google chose a different canonical than user, which refers to pages that Google didn’t index, even if they were identical. This means Google overrides your canonical directive and selects a distinct duplicate page as a target to be indexed. To deal with this, you need to be sure that canonical tags, internal linking, and sitemap are optimized.

Steps to Find Duplicate, Google Chose Different Canonical Than User?

To identify pages affected by this issue, follow these steps:

  • Login to your Google Search Console dashboard.
  • Specify the address (website) to which you wish to verify authenticity.
  • In the “Coverage” part of the “Index,” click “Coverage.”
  • Clicking on the “Excluded” tab will show you the list of excluded pages.
  • For this, you should look for the “Duplicate; Google chose different canonical than user” in the list.

Why is Google Selecting a Different Canonical?

There are several reasons why Google might choose a different canonical URL than the one you’ve specified on your page:

#1. Google thinks Different URL are More Relevant

  1. Content: Google, for instance, can select a URL with keyword-rich or information-rich content that best depicts your website. The additional page could be a full website page on the same topic with more elaboration.
  2. User intent: Google attempts to determine what exactly the user is trying to find out and what they want to accomplish while making a search query. If another URL on your website renders the user’s query better as the canonical candidate, Google will consider it.
  3. Quality: Google considers the website’s quality, user experience design, and responsiveness on mobile when choosing a canonical title. If another URL has a better choice of the signaller type, Google might penalize it.

#2. Technical issues

  1. Incorrect canonical tag: Be mindful of your canonical tag’s location and ensure that it points to the page you intend to. Google will not notice grammar errors or deliberately referencing the wrong URL.
  2. Duplicate content: If multiple pages are similar or alike, a single URL of your website may be designated to be canonical, while the others may be left ignored.
  3. Internal linking: Whether or not you use the rel=”canonical” link between pages can influence Google’s decision to consider that specific one canonical. A disorganized internal linking structure may lead to a situation where search engines are unaware of the site’s structure and content.

#3. User signals

  1. Clicks: If the users repeatedly click on different URLs in search results other than the one you have picked as the targeted canonical, Google may start to prioritize other ones because of users’ click behavior.
  2. Social shares: If, by chance, some other domain gets more social shares and engagement, Google might determine that domain to be more relevant and choose it to be canonical.

Steps to Fix Duplicate, Google Chose Different Canonical Than User?

The Duplicate, Google Chose Different Canonical Than User problem should be highly considered so that Google might index and rank the preferred pages that you wish to get ranked. Let’s now get into the two key ways of resolving this issue and improving the website’s ranking in search engines.

#1. Fix the Canonical URL of the Web Page

The first stage in correcting this situation is to check if the canonical URL provided in the HTML of your web page is the one being used. The canonical tag shows Google which one out of the pages provided is the genuine and original one. Here’s an example of what a canonical tag looks like:

  • Open the page affected via the web browser and view the source code (right-click select “View Page Source” or use the developer tools).
  • Find the section of the HTML source code.
  • Make sure the href attribute refers to the correct URL, which should be indexed in Google as the one and only source.

There are two scenarios to consider as follow:

  1. Original Web Page: If the web page is the original version that you want to be indexed, make sure that the canonical URL matches the true URL of the page.

    For example, if the page URL is https: Canonical tag should be on the original page:

  2. Duplicate Web Page: If the web page is a duplicate version, the canonical URL should lead to the original web page and the one you want to be indexed.

    For example, if the duplicate page URL is https://www.example.com/duplicate-page, https://www.example.com/original-page is the version you want to be indexed, so the canonical tag on the duplicate page should be:

If you find any inconsistencies between the canonical URL and the desired URL, correct them. The canonical tag should immediately point to the correct URL.

#2. Redirect to the Original Web Page

Suppose the canonical URL on your web page is correct, but Google identifies a different copy page as canonical. In that case, you can resolve this by redirecting the duplicate page to the original one. This allows for merging link equity and demonstrating the original page is the one to be indexed.

To implement the redirect:

Identify the site’s original web page URL that Google has decided to mark as the canonical version.

Create a 301 (permanent) redirect from the duplicating page URL to the original URL.

Here’s an example using a .htaccess file

Redirect 301 /duplicate-page https://www.example.com/original-page

  • Remove the internal links to the duplicate webpage and replace them with direct links to the original content.
  • Eliminate the same page you have on the XML sitemap if it is contained there.
  • Submit the original page URL to Google Search Console for recrawling using the “Inspect URL” tool.

Additional Tips

  • Use consistent, absolute URLs in your canonical tags (e.g., https://www.example.com/page & not just /page or https://example.com/page.
  • Avoid canonical chain redirects, where Page A points to Page B and then Page C. This will confuse search engines.
  • Make it a habit to periodically check your site for any new duplicate content and solve the issues quickly.
  • Watch your search console for the “Duplicate, Google chose the canonical URL other than user” issue and verify the implemented resolutions.

Conclusion

“Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user” is a problem that requires a systematic approach and attention to all the details. By removing or avoiding duplicate content, you can ensure that Google will pick the canonical version of the page.

Remember, SEO is an ongoing process, and digital marketing agency AlgoSaga is here to assist you with complicated SEO alterations. These best practices, if used accordingly and proactively, will help your website stand on its own, enjoy high search engine rankings, attract relevant traffic, and meet your targets online.

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