Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag

Alternate Page With Proper Canonical Tag

There are multiple reasons why your web pages are not indexed, and we call them as Google Index Coverage issues. Alternate page with proper canonical tag is one among the coverage issue.

This type of issues are commonly intimated in Excluded under Coverage section of Google search console.

If you see such an issue in Google search console, then it’s time to take immediate action, as it could cause problem in indexing the targeted web page, and wastage of crawl budget.

In this article, we detail down how alternate page with proper canonical tag appears as excluded, and the ways to fix them.

What is Alternate Page With Proper Canonical Tag?

Alternate Page with proper canonical tag

The are multiple reasons why your web pages are not indexed, and we call them as Google Index Coverage issues. Alternate page with proper canonical tag is one among the coverage issue.

This type of issues are commonly intimated in Excluded under Coverage section of Google search console.

If you see such an issue in Google search console, then it’s time to take immediate action, as it could cause problem in indexing the targeted web page, and wastage of crawl budget.

In this article, we detail down how alternate page with proper canonical tag appears as excluded, and the ways to fix them.

What is Canonical Tag?

Canonical tag is an HTML tag that defines the originial or canonical version of a web page, that to be indexed.

The HTML tag of Canonical Tag appears as follows,

<link rel="canonical" href="https://the7eagles.com/alternate-page-with-proper-canonical-tag/" />

This tag is useful, as content of a particular web pages are accessible by multiple URLs

Example,

the7eagles.com/blog/
the7eagles.com/blog/page1
the7eagles.com/blog/page2
the7eagles.com/blog/page3

These web pages has similar content, same title tag, and meta description. Still, paginated URL resembles as copy.

So, you should tag the orginial URL as canonical for all the pages. This helps Google search engine to understand the original version to index, and exclude all other URL from crawling and indexing. This obviously saves the crawl budget.

Reasons that causes Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag Issue?

There are multiple reasons, that cause this coverage issue. But, you should ne very clear that is the potential page affected. If not, then this issue is just a notification, and it doesn’t require fixation.

The reasons are listed as follows.

AMP version of web pages:

AMP is not currently a ranking factor. Yet, few years back, many website owner believed and optimized their mobile pages with AMP version.

This is one of the reason as any of your web pages might featured in Alternate page with proper canonical tag.

Example,

General Version: the7eagles.com/seo-services/
AMP version: the7eagles,com/seo-services/amp/

In this case, these are two URL, but holds same content. So, Google consider either of the page as canonical, and index them. The other would be excluded from indexing.

Your role here is to check, whether the potential URL is indexed or excluded. 

Protocol like www/non-www http/https:

This is the most common case where we find URL due to different protocols

http://example.com/
https://example.com/
http://www.example.com/
http://example.com/

Protocols can create multiple URLs with same content, and only one gets indexed, and others are excluded.

Dynamic URLs in Case of Search Parameters

Generally, E-commerce website, or Blog website uses search option to find any product or topics.

It often appears as below,

https://example.com/dresses/cocktail
https://example.com/dresses/cocktail?gclid=ABCD
https://example.com/dresses/cocktail?gclid=ABCD&color=red

From the above case, the master or canonical URL will be indexed, and others will be excluded.

Pagination:

Pagination is another case, that can be excluded under alternate page with proper canonical tag.

This usually occurs when Googlebots crawl multiple pages of blog, or author page, and many more.

The examples are similar as below

https://example.com/author/page-1
https://example.com/author/page-2
https://example.com/author/page-3

From the above case, the master or canonical URL will be indexed, and others will be excluded.

How to fix Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag Issue?

Coverage Issue - Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag
URL excluded by Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag

This how you need to check the URLs that are affected by coverage issue – Alternate page with proper canonical tag.

Here are few ways to fix this issue by following steps.

Use a rel=”canonical” Link Tag:

  • use Canonical link <link rel=”canonical” href =”https://example.com” /> in the HTML header of the master page.
  • Also, insert the duplicate page with the canonical URL of the original page.
  • If your canonical page has a mobile version URL, add rel=”alternate” linking to the page
<link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)"  href="http://m.example.com/" />
  • Add hreflang or redirects (301 & 302) to the  appropriate page, if needed.

Use a Sitemap:

Create a sitemap for your website and submit only the canonical URLs. In a sitemap, all pages are suggested as canonicals; Google will determine whether duplicates exist based on content similarity.

Sitemaps are useful for telling Google which pages you consider most important on your site, but Google does not guarantee that we will count them as canonical.

Strictly sitemaps should not include non-canonical pages.

Use 301 redirects to the Old URLs

The next solution towards fixing alternate page with proper canonical tag is by redirecting the old URLs or protocol issue URL to the destination page (that you need to index).

Suppose destination web page is reached by multiple URL as follow:

https://example.com/home
https://home.example.com
https://www.example.com

You should use the canonical or the master page with rel=”canoncial”, and redirect other related pages to them.

This makes the original page to index.

Always Prefer HTTPS over HTTP

Google loves the web pages that contains protocol encrypted with SSL certificate (HTTP links).

In same way, use rel=”canonical” tag of HTTP pages targeting to HTTPS pages.

Avoid submitting HTTP pages in Sitemap, and avoid using crack or unauthorized versions of SSL/TLS certificates

Finally, implement HSTS.

Thinks to avoid while fixing alternative page with proper canonical tag:

  • Never use Robots.txt to block the duplicate page.
  • Never use noindex robots tag.
  • Don’t use Removal of duplicate URL using Google search console. This might remove the original page too from indexing.
  • It is not recommended to specify different canonical URLs for the same page using the same or different canonicalization techniques.

Looking to Fix Alternate Page with Proper Canonical tag?

Conslusion:

  • Alternate page with proper canonical tag is one of the Google Index coverage issue.
  • This can harm your potential page, if canonical tag are not or incorrectly mapped.
  • You have to check the canonical status (rel link=”canonical”) of the affected page, if it don’t target the canonical page, it will be a duplicate content.
  • Using sitemap, redirect, and proper canonical tag can fix this issue.
  • If you find this process a tedious, you can hire us for technical SEO services.

About Ashkar Gomez

fc2cc392a22dea5167b6d8f5ffffe5ff?s=90&d=mm&r=gAshkar Gomez is the Founder of 7 Eagles (a Digital Marketing & SEO Company). Ashkar started his career as Sales Rep in 2013, and later shifted his career to SEO from later 2014. Currently, he is one of the leading SEO experts in the industry with 8+ years of experience and worked on 200+ projects across 20+ industries in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, UAE, Australia, South Africa, and India. Besides SEO and Digital Marketing, he has a passion for Data Analytics, Personal Financial Planning, and Content Writing.

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