Alternative page with proper canonical tag

Message: Alternative page with correct canonical tag

What does 'alternate page with proper canonical tag' mean?

An important but often overlooked element in SEO is the correct use of canonical tags.

These special HTML elements play a central role in preventing duplicate content issues by signaling to search engines like Google which version of a page is the “authoritative” or “canonical.”

“Alternative page with proper canonical tag” refers to an alternate version of a webpage that uses the proper canonical tag to tell search engines which page should be considered the main version.

Google Search Console – Usage

Google Search Console provides deep insights into the way Google sees and interprets a website. A message that attracts positive attention is “Alternative site with correct canonical tag”. This message signals that Google detected another URL with the same or very similar content, but was able to correctly identify the preferred version of the page thanks to the correctly set canonical tag.

This finding is a strong sign that a website's SEO strategy is on the right track.

Below, we'll explore the basic meaning of canonical tags, the importance of reporting them in Google Search Console, how to apply these tags correctly, how to avoid common mistakes, and ultimately the benefit of this practice to a website's SEO performance.

Example 1 – canonical tag

Alternative page with proper canonical tag

If a website has two different URLs, such as websitexyz.com/page/ and websitexyz.com/page/index.html, the canonical tag can be set on both pages to tell search engines that they represent the same page, thus avoiding duplicate content.

Example 2 – canonical tag

Suppose your website has two different versions of a page, such as “websitexyz.com/product” and “websitexyz.com/product/?color=blue”. Although Google displays the second version, it uses the correct canonical tag pointing to the first version “websitexyz.com/product” to ensure the correct page is indexed.

What is a canonical day?

A canonical tag (indicated by the rel=”canonical” element in a page’s HTML code) is an instruction to search engines that indicates which version of a web page should be considered the “authoritative” or “canonical” version. This is especially important when similar or identical content is accessible via multiple URLs.

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Why are canonical tags important?

  • Avoiding duplicate content: They signal search engines which URL to index to avoid duplicate content issues.
  • Concentration of link power: They help concentrate link equity on the canonical URL instead of spreading it across multiple duplicates.
  • Improving the user experience: By ensuring visitors are directed to the preferred URL, they help ensure a consistent user experience.
  • Increasing visibility: Correctly implemented canonical tags can improve a web page's visibility in search results by providing clarity about which content should be considered primary.

Tips for use

  • Define clear preferences: Decide on a preferred URL for each group of similar content.
  • Ensure accuracy: Make sure the canonical tag points to the correct URL, especially for websites that are accessible via multiple domains or protocols.
  • Maintain consistency: Use canonical tags consistently across your website to send clear signals to search engines.
  • Perform verification: Use Google Search Console and other tools to verify correct implementation and identify potential problems.

In the next section, we'll take a look at the meaning of the "Alternative page with correct canonical tag" message in Google Search Console and how this information can be used to further improve SEO performance.

So why is this news a good sign?

The message in the GSC confirms that Google has detected an alternate URL for a page that has the same or very similar content as another page. However, thanks to the correctly set canonical tag, Google can determine which of the pages should be treated as the canonical (or preferred) version. This helps Google:

  • Minimize duplicates in the index.
  • To strengthen the authority and ranking of the canonical site.
  • To ensure a better user experience by displaying the most relevant content.

Recommendations for action

So if you see this message in your Google Search Console:

  1. Check correct implementation: Make sure the canonical tag points to the desired URL and that there are no conflicts between tags.
  2. Analyze the content: Review the contents of both pages (the canonical and alternate pages) to ensure that they are sufficiently different or whether a merger might make sense.
  3. Watch the performance: Monitor the performance of the canonical page to make sure it is ranking and generating traffic as expected.

Frequently asked questions about Canoncials

What is a canonical day?

A canonical tag (rel=”canonical”) is an HTML element that tells search engines which version of a web page should be considered the authoritative or canonical version. This helps avoid duplicate content issues and improve SEO performance.

Why does Google Search Console show the message 'Alternate page with correct canonical tag'?

This message means that Google detected an alternative URL with the same or very similar content as another page, but thanks to the correctly set canonical tag, it was able to correctly identify the preferred version of the page. It is a positive sign of correct SEO practice.

Is the 'Alternative page with correct canonical tag' message a problem?

No, on the contrary, it is an indicator that the canonical tags are implemented correctly and help Google to treat duplicate content correctly. It is a good sign for your SEO strategy.

How do I use canonical tags correctly?

To use canonical tags correctly, you should ensure that a preferred URL is set for each group of similar content and that the canonical tag points to that URL. It is important to maintain consistency and regularly review implementation.

Can incorrectly placed canonical tags negatively impact my website?

Yes, incorrectly implemented canonical tags can lead to SEO problems, including incorrect indexing of pages and dilution of PageRank.


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