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How to Fix Alternate Page With Proper Canonical Tag

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An “Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag” status message in your Google Search Console report might cause alarm, but don’t take it too personally – this simply indicates that Google has identified and is indexing your canonical page without indexing any alternate versions.

Handling this issue requires thoughtful analysis and strategic action. By following these steps, you can eliminate this warning message and maintain SEO on your website.

Check for Duplicate Pages

Google Search Console’s warning and error notifications, particularly its “Alternate page with proper canonical tag” status can be highly perplexing. Although not considered a critical error in terms of performance and ranking considerations, this warning can still highlight SEO-related issues that could impede site operations or lower performance and ranking.

A cryptic message suggests something may be amiss with your website’s structure or content, yet does not provide sufficient details to solve the mystery. With proper tools and knowledge at your disposal, however, this mystery can be unraveled.

One common cause of duplicate pages on your site can be duplicate content being presented through multiple URLs; when this occurs, different pages point to identical pieces of information with slight variations in structure or organization. It is crucial that canonical versions of each page are established in order to avoid indexing and ranking issues with Google; doing this will show which one should be prioritized as the original source.

If you find that many of your pages have duplicate content, use the GSC ‘URL Inspection Tool’ to examine their contents and verify if they contain canonical tags that point back to their preferred canonical page. Once verified, consolidate them all onto this single canonical page while eliminating duplicates as they become duplicates of each other.

Check the Canonical Tags

Canonical tags are an integral component of search engine optimization that instruct search engines on which version of a page should be preferred when multiple versions exist, helping avoid duplicate content issues that might damage rankings and organic traffic. When not configured properly, canonical tags can cause indexing issues as multiple versions of one page can be listed with separate URLs or parameters and cause confusion for users searching results pages.

Google generally interprets canonical tags correctly and selects their preferred pages for indexing, which can help avoid duplicate content issues and SEO problems. Unfortunately, however, sometimes canonical tags may be misused; when this occurs, important pages could become deindexed from individual indexing – this could hinder SEO performance and even compromise SEO rankings.

Therefore, to resolve this issue effectively and efficiently, make sure all canonical tags are implemented accurately. GSC offers an online URL Inspection Tool that allows you to monitor how Google views your pages; should any issues arise consult your development or SEO teams immediately for resolution.

Check the Sitemap

Monitoring the ‘Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag’ status in GSC regularly is vital, as this could indicate that Google is indexing pages that you don’t want them to index, potentially harming SEO rankings and leading to unnecessary site crawls that consume your crawl budget. Therefore, making a habit out of checking ‘Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag’ regularly should become part of your routine.

At GSC, this problem is easy to solve. Start by reviewing the list of affected URLs and assessing whether any should be canonicalized; if so, simply update their canonical tags accordingly. Otherwise, use GSC’s ‘URL Inspection Tool’ for insight into how Google sees each page – this resource offers invaluable insight into their evaluation.

If some of your pages display as ‘Alternate page with an incorrect canonical tag,’ it may be due to duplicate content, or improper usage of next and prev tags – especially when combined with canonical links – leading to duplication issues. In such an instance, it will be necessary to 301 redirect these non-canonical pages back to their correct canonical pages via 301 redirects.

Check the Content

As its name implies, an Alternate page with proper canonical tag status in Google Search Console’s page indexing report indicates multiple pages on your website with similar content – potentially leading to duplicate content creation, keyword cannibalization and crawl budget issues in large websites.

As soon as you encounter this status in the Search Console, the first thing that you must do is review all pages listed here. In particular, make sure they should be canonicalized and that their canonical URL points directly to their main version; alternatively it may be necessary to change or redirect incoming links accordingly.

Once this step has been taken, it’s important to review the contents of all affected pages. Ideally, canonical versions will contain identical information to their counterpart pages; however, sometimes this might not be possible.

Not receiving canonical tags is no fun, but it doesn’t need to be an issue either. By adhering to best practices, examining your website pages closely, and immediately rectifying errors or warnings as they arise, you can avoid further problems in the future with your site’s Google Search Console status.

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