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What's does Duplicate without user selected canonical mean please?

Participant ,
Jan 05, 2023 Jan 05, 2023

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I have a lot of pages that are showing up as being not indexed because of 'Duplicate without user-selected canonical'. I have looked into it and to be honest find it  a complete brain killer.

From what I have understood it means that I have duplicates of the same page but I don't. So why is Google Analytics saying otherwise? 

There are links from one page to another but there are no duplicate pages.

I found a site that apparently explains things and says that I need this 

<link rel=“canonical” href=“https://example.com/sample-page/” />

in my header. The mind boggles!

So can someone please explain to me what it means and then how I go about rectifying the issue.

Thanks in advance and Happy New Year to you all!

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2023 Jan 05, 2023

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Without seeing the pages we can only provide speculation. But the short of it is that Google believes your page to be a duplicate. This could be another page with identical content, or even a PDF version of your page (ie: product page with PDF download), or even a configuration builder where slightly different urls are returned, but all have relatively the same content on them. In these cases Google will choose a preferred page unless you do so yourself with the canonical tag.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2023 Jan 05, 2023

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It means you have more than one identical pages, (i.e. the same content that can be accessed via more than one URL).

 

Let's say you have the same page accessible by page1.html and page2.html you need to let Google know which is the canonical, or in plain English the preferred URL to use, the canonical tag would go in the head section of the duplicate page(s) and look like this:

 

 

 

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.website.com/page1.html" />

 

 

You might also want to do some research in making sure your website is only accessible either by www. or non www. Domains, you can also let Google know your preference about this in Google Search Console

Paul-M - Community Expert

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Participant ,
Jan 05, 2023 Jan 05, 2023

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Ben, here is the one of the page in question.

<!DOCTYPE HTML><html lang="en">
<head><meta name="robots" content="INDEX,FOLLOW">
  <meta name="robots" content="noimageindex">
          <meta charset="UTF-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
        <meta name="description" content="High Speed">
        <meta name="keywords" content="Top Trumps, High Speed, Ravensburger">
 
            <title>High Speed</title>
 
        <link href="../../../css/table.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="screen">
 
<!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->
<script>
 (function () { 
   var e,i=["https://fastbase.com/fscript.js","9nlgqJLAEy","script"],a=document,s=a.createElement(i[2]);
   s.async=!0,s.id=i[1],s.src=i[0],(e=a.getElementsByTagName(i[2])[0]).parentNode.insertBefore(s,e)
 })();
</script>
 
    </head>
<body>
        <div id="wrapper">
       
<div id="breadcrumbs">
<a title="Go back to Home" href="../../../index.html">Home</a> &bull; <a title="Go back to German Index" href="../../../germany.html">German Index</a> &bull; <a title="Go back to Ravensburger Index" href="../../ravensburger.html">Ravensburger Index</a> &bull; <a title="Go back to Ravensburger 2021" href="../2021.html">2021</a> &bull; High Speed
</div>
 
<a title="High Speed"><img src="/../../pack_images/germany/ravensburger/2021/high_speed.png" alt="High Speed"></a>
 
<div id="info-text">
<ul>
            <li>Year: 2021</li>
            <li>Artikel-Nr.: 20 687 2</li>
            <li>Width: 58.5mm</li>
            <li>Height: 90.5mm</li>
            <li>No. Game Cards: 32</li>
            <li>Total no. of cards: 33</li>
    </ul>
<p></p>
</div>
<script>
  (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
  (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
  m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
  })(window,document,'script','https://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');
 
  ga('create', 'UA-77568335-1', 'auto');
  ga('send', 'pageview');
 
</script> <div id="foot">
    &copy; 2005 - 2023 Ultimate Top Trumps. All rights reserved</div>
</div>
</body>
 
</html>
Paul,
Would it be better practice to use https://www.website.com/page1.html for every link? Obviosly not the same but use the https and the site for every link?
 
Thank you both!

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2023 Jan 05, 2023

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The code isn't going to tell us much here. You need to inspect the URL that is being flagged for this and look at the Google-selected canonical to determine what Google thinks is the true page. If that's not correct, you need to correct the bad page so that Google doesn't think it is the original.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 05, 2023 Jan 05, 2023

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Duplicate content can often come from not redirecting your server to it's preferred URL -- either with or without www. prefix.

 

In other words,  yourdomain.com  is duplicated by www. yourdomain.com

or

http :// yourdomain.com is duplicated by https :// yourdomain.com

 

The best way to avoid this is at the server level.  If your hosting plan has c-Panel, you can add a permanent rewrite resolving all incoming traffic to a single, preferred URL, whatever that may be.

 

Open your browser address bar and type site: yourdomain.com

repeat with site: www.yourdomain.com

The one that ranks highest with most results is probably the one you should use.

 

Permanent Rewite with .htaccess file (for Linux/Apache servers):  Change example.com to your preferred domain.

 

## Remove www from URLs ##
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://example.com/$1 [R=301,L]

## Change http to https ##
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

 

 

Hope that helps.

 

Nancy O'Shea— Product User, Community Expert & Moderator
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Participant ,
Jan 06, 2023 Jan 06, 2023

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Hi Nancy,

Im sorry but I am not fully understanding. I have contacted my host (Ionos 1and1) and asked if there is a c-Panel.

I have noticed that some pages that Google list are with or without the www. I have attached a screenshot. I have also noticed that some links don't have the html at the end but still open OK. I am reliant on Dreamweaver helping out a lot so a little confused why the html is missing even though it is named correctly in Dreamweaver.

Once again t hank you for your help!

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 06, 2023 Jan 06, 2023

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Instead of continuing to guess at this, go back to the Google Search Console where you found the error and inspect the URL. Google tells you exactly what page is the Google-selected canonical.  That is your answer what you need to change. Everything else is just an educated guess.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 06, 2023 Jan 06, 2023

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If your server is Linux/Apache, use .htaccess to resolve all inbound traffic to non-www domain. 

 

I don't know why some URLS have no file extension.  Perhaps you're organizing pages inside folders that contain an index.html file.

example.com/folder/ = example.com/folder/index.html

 

Nancy O'Shea— Product User, Community Expert & Moderator
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Participant ,
Jan 07, 2023 Jan 07, 2023

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I am waiting to hear back from the host as the permisions are locked and wont let me change them. Once they get back then I will be able to add the code.

Thank you Nancy!

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Community Expert ,
Jan 07, 2023 Jan 07, 2023

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One more thing to consider.  Duplicate entries can appear on shopping carts, blogs and social media sites if your content is posted on them without a proper credit to the source URL.

 

Nancy O'Shea— Product User, Community Expert & Moderator
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Participant ,
Jan 08, 2023 Jan 08, 2023

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Thank you Nancy for that advice!

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