Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag

Alternate Page With Proper Canonical Tag

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

This type of issue is commonly intimated in Excluded under Coverage section of the Google search console.

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

In this article, we detail how alternate page with proper canonical tag appears as excluded and how 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 Google Index Coverage issues. An alternate page with proper canonical tag is one of the coverage issues (Page indexing issues).

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 original or canonical version of a web page 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 the content of particular web pages is accessible by multiple URLs

Example,

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

These web pages have similar content, the same title tag, and meta description. Still, the paginated URL resembles a copy.

So, it would help if you tagged the original URL as canonical for all the pages. This allows the Google search engine to understand the original version to index and exclude all other URLs from crawling and indexing. This 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 be 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, a few years back, many website owners believed and optimized their mobile pages with the AMP version.

This is one of the reasons why any of your web pages might be featured on an Alternate page with a 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 the same content. So, Google considers either of the pages 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 URLs due to different protocols

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

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

Dynamic URLs in Case of Search Parameters

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

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 Google bots crawl multiple pages of blogs, author pages, and many more.

The examples are similar to 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 is how you need to check the URLs that are affected by the coverage issues – Alternate page with proper canonical tag.

Here are a few ways to fix this issue by following the 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 URLs to the destination page (that you need to index).

Suppose the 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=”canonical”, and redirect other related pages to them.

This makes the original page index.

Always Prefer HTTPS over HTTP

Google loves the web pages that contain protocols encrypted with SSL certificates (HTTP links).

In the same way, use rel=”canonical” tag of HTTP pages targeting 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 the noindex robots tag.
  • Don’t use the Removal of duplicate URLs using the 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 issues.
  • This can harm your potential page if canonical tags are not or incorrectly mapped.
  • You have to check the canonical status (rel link=”canonical”) of the affected page, if it doesn’t target the canonical page, it will be duplicate content.
  • Using a 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.

2 thoughts on “Alternate Page With Proper Canonical Tag”

  1. Hello in amp version of web pages, is potenial url is indexed and amp version page is included in Alternate page with proper canonical tag error. So now what to do ? Should we need to create canonical tag with amp version and put in amp affected page ?

    1. Hi Kushal Shah,

      If your potential page is a non-amp version, it’s ideal that the amp version of the web page gets excluded, You should do few steps,
      1. Check any backlinks &internal links with the amp version
      2. Redirect the amp version to the canonical version of the web pages.
      3. If you find the amp version in the sitemap.xml, remove them.

      Thank you

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