Duplicate Without User Selected Canonical

How to Fix ‘Duplicate Without User Selected Canonical’ Issue in 4 Steps

You might notice Duplicate without user-selected canonical under excluded in the Google search console coverage section.

Currently, the same has been simplified in UX; Coverage is replaced with a “Page” Indexing report in the Google search console. Page indexing has only two options Indexed and Not Indexed.

The web pages excluded by coverage issue duplicate without user selected canonical can be viewed under the not indexed category.

In this article, we will share the reason behind this issue and how to fix it.

What is Duplicate Without User Selected Canonical?

Duplicate without user-selected canonical is a common index coverage issue/error that excludes a web page from indexing; it is when two or more web pages have duplicate content without a user-selected canonical tag.

In this situation, Google might assign canonical URLs to all similar web pages, and index the one that Google believes to be original. So, this sometimes excludes the potential web pages from indexing.

It really hurts the SEO expert’s effort. But the best practice includes selecting a canonical tag for every web page.

How to Discover Web Pages with this "Duplicate Without User Selected Canonical" Issue?

To discover the web pages excluded by duplicate without user selected canonical is to log on to the Google search console.

Once logged in, click on Page under the Index section. This will take you to the visibility of the Page Indexing dashboard.

Page Indexing Dashboard

Following this, click on Not indexed, and the Google search console will provide a list of all the index coverage issues on your website.

If your domain has a duplicate without user-selected canonical, then it will appear with the number of web pages affected.

Pages Not Indexed - Google search console
Duplicate without user selected canonical

Export all the web pages affected, and start fixing by categorizing on the type of reason.

Reason that causes this Page Indexing Issue?

There could be many reasons behind a web page that are excluded by this index coverage (page index) issue. This could be,

  • RSS Feed URLs can cause this issue
  • Pagination.
  • The conflict between HTTPS and HTTP protocol of same web page.
  • Sitemap with both canonical and non-canonical versions.
  • Targeting various countries with similar content
  • Inconsistent signals
  • Rendering issues
  •  A self-referencing canonical tag without unique content.

How to Fix Duplicate without user-selected Canonical Issue?

The moment you export the URL, you have to validate whether the web page is a potential page or a canonical one. If a canonical page is found excluded under this coverage issue, then it’s high time to fix them.

If you find any other web pages with pagination, RSS feed, or HTTP protocol, then be cool. they are the least priority to fix. Still, you have to fix them by the following steps.

Step 1 - Update Canonical Tag for the Original Page:

Canonical tags are an HTML component that should update in the Header of the HTML file. These tags provide information on the originality of a web page to search engine crawlers.

If an original page that has to be indexed is excluded under duplicate without the user selecting canonical, then you have to update the canonical tag of the web page.

The canonical format is as below,

<link rel="canonical" href="https://yourdomain.com/original-page">

Once you update the canonical tag, you have to remove the web page selected by Google as a canonical web page from the Google index by the upcoming steps.

Step 2 - Remove the Duplicate Page From XML Sitemap, and use 410:

When you update the original page’s canonical tag, you should remove the duplicate pages using the 410 HTTP response code (Content is gone).

You can also use the Removal option from the Google Search console.

Removal Tool from Google Search Console

Once you remove them using GSC or 410 HTTP status code, remove the URL from the XML sitemap.

Crawlers will read and index on a quick note if a web page is found in an XML sitemap. So, it mandates removing all the duplicate web pages apart from the canonical version in the sitemap.xml.

Step 3 - Redirect to Original Page

In some cases, when HTTP is selected as canonical by Google instead of HTTPS, you can redirect the HTTP version of the web page to the HTTPS version.

This makes Google and other search engines understand that HTTPS web pages are the canonical version.

Besides this, try to remove the HTTP version from XML sitemap. So, it will be excluded from indexing.

Step 4 - Validate Fix

Duplicate without user-selected canonical - Validate Fix

Once, you finish all the procedure to clear the reason behind this issue, you can use Validate Fix option from the Google search console.

This makes a call for Googlebot to check the fixation of this issue and clear the web page from duplicate without user-selected canonical dashboard. It usually takes up to 28 days from the appeal date.


If you still find it tedious in fixing this issue, you can avail of our technical SEO Services to solve it.

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