Guide to Fix Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag in GSC

Guide to Fix Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag in GSC

When utilizing Google Search Console to identify and resolve issues with your website’s crawling, indexing, and ranking. One of the most typical “errors” you may encounter is the Alternate Page with a Proper Canonical Tag message.

We will go over what this status code indicates as well as get into what a canonical tag is. We will explain whether you need to correct this error code and, if so, how to fix alternate pages with proper canonical tags in GSC.

What is a Canonical Tag?

When numerous pages have remarkably similar or duplicate content, a canonical tag, specified in markup as a rel=”canonical” tag, is used to signify the preferable version of a web page.

Webmasters actively use the canonical tag to direct search engine bots to consider a specific URL as the “main” page, indicating their preference for ranking during the crawling and indexing process.

The canonical element prevents search engines from indexing and ranking numerous copies of the same material. It can cause difficulties like duplicate content, term cannibalization, and crawl budget concerns. Any of these factors can harm a website’s search engine rankings.

How it is done?

This section will walk you through how to assess and resolve this issue in Google Search Console.

We’ll walk you through the steps so that you can follow along with us.

  • Check that the warning is correct and accurate

We must first confirm that the warning in our page indexing report is correct and that there is something we must correct. You will go to your page indexing report and locate the block comprising your pages. Google claims to have an alternate page with a correct canonical tag. It will seem as follows:

Looking at the URL displayed in Google Search Console, we can observe that it is as follows:

indexed report

However, looking at the source code of the page, we can see that the canonical tag is listed as:

Granted, there isn’t much of a change, but there is a trailing slash at the end of the canonical URL that isn’t present in the real page URL.

We know that Google regards each version of these sites as a separate URL, so we now have two identical pieces of material in Google’s view, with one page appropriately canonicalized.

The next step is to determine whether we have two similar pieces of content on our website, which we can accomplish by Googling each of the URLs separately and seeing what occurs.

Without a following slash, this is the search:

canonical tag

Here’s the search, complete with a trailing slash:

canonical tag

As you can see, whether we use a trailing slash or not, the website loads without issue. There is no redirect in place, which would fix the problem for our website.

Google presently believes we have two instances of duplicate content on our website, with one of these URLs appropriately canonicalized.

This is not an issue ‌because the URL with the trailing slash will be crawled, indexed, and ranked, but Google also believes we have a duplicate of this on our site. It’s an excellent idea to get rid of this.

  • Remove All Unnecessary Canonical Tags

During your study, you may discover that both URLs contain distinct and distinct material. If this is the case, you should delete this superfluous canonical tag (or establish a canonical tag for each page, allowing it to self-canonicalize). This would ensure that Google treats each URL as a different URL, as they should be.

  • If necessary, update the Canonical Tag

Acknowledging the mention of the canonical, our task is to ensure a 301 (permanent) redirect from the URL without a trailing slash to the URL with a trailing slash.

This will guarantee that the page is appropriately self-canonicalizing and will address the problem in the Google Search Console.

  • The Sitemap for your website should be updated

When you add/remove/change canonical tags on your website, be sure to update your sitemap to reflect this.

Maintaining an up-to-date sitemap is the best approach to ensuring prompt resolution of issues like these. Additionally, updating your sitemap whenever you change/add/remove URLs from your website is simply excellent practice.

  • Ongoing monitoring of GSC

Keep a watch on GSC regularly, particularly your report on the Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag, as this will help you to determine whether the adjustments you made were successful on your site.

As you continue to solve and approve solutions in GSC. The number of impacted sites in this report should decrease. This is something we anticipate seeing while we work to resolve the URL problems we discovered today.

Concluding Thoughts

Google informs you that a page is properly canonicalized with the message “Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag,” and you are not required to take any action.

Google will still be able to properly crawl, index, and rank these sites. This warning displays thousands of websites on the internet, and they all rank quite well.

As you delve into this section of your GSC report, note that you may encounter pages you want to be indexed. If Google finds another page, regardless of whether it contains a correct canonical tag, it will not index that page.

We’ve explained the problem, its significance, the function of a canonical tag, and whether you need to correct the message, and provided step-by-step instructions on how to fix it for your site.

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