How to Fix “Duplicate, Google Chose Different Canonical than User”?

By Prasoon Gupta
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Have you encountered the frustrating “Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user” status in Google Search Console? Don’t fret! This issue affects duplicate pages that Google hasn’t indexed, signaling that Google disregarded your canonical tag and indexed a different duplicate page instead. But fear not – we’re here to demystify this issue and provide effective solutions.

Understanding the Significance of These Pages

The “Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user” status indicates that certain pages on your website aren’t indexed. Only indexed pages can appear on Google Search and contribute to your business’s online visibility and growth. While having some unindexed pages is common, this status typically pertains to pages you value – after all, you’ve designated them as canonical. Let’s delve into the causes and remedies.

Why is Google Selecting a Different Canonical?

There are several reasons why Google might select a different canonical URL than the one you’ve specified on your page. Here are the most common reasons:

1. Google thinks another URL is more relevant

  • Content: Google might choose a URL with more relevant or comprehensive content to represent your page in search results. This could be another page on your website that covers the same topic in more detail.
  • User intent: Google tries to understand the user’s intent behind a search query. If another URL on your website better matches the user’s intent, Google may choose that one as the canonical.
  • Quality: Google considers factors like the website’s overall quality, user experience, and mobile friendliness when choosing a canonical. If another URL has higher-quality signals, Google might prefer it.

2. Technical issues

  • Incorrect canonical tag: Ensure your canonical tag is correctly implemented and points to the desired URL. Mistakes in syntax or referencing the wrong URL can lead to Google ignoring it.
  • Duplicate content: If multiple URLs on your website have the same or very similar content, Google might choose one as the canonical and ignore the others.
  • Internal linking: The way you link between pages on your website can influence Google’s choice of canonical. Inconsistent or conflicting internal linking can confuse Google.

3. User signals

  • Clicks: If users consistently click on a different URL in search results than the one you’ve chosen as the canonical, Google might eventually prioritize that URL based on user behavior.
  • Social shares: If another URL receives more social shares and engagement, Google might consider it more relevant and choose it as canonical.

Understand the Cause

  • Duplicate content: Google might choose a different canonical if they find multiple pages with nearly identical content. Review your site for duplicate content and consolidate or differentiate it.
  • Incorrect canonical tag: Double-check your canonical tags. Are they present on all pages? Do they point to the correct URL? Ensure proper implementation and syntax.
  • User intent and relevance: Google might pick a different URL if it aligns better with user search intent or has higher quality/relevance. Evaluate your content and optimize accordingly.
  • Technical issues: Check for issues like broken internal links, missing robots.txt directives, or indexing problems that might confuse Google.

How to Fix “Duplicate, Google Chose Different Canonical than User”?

Encountering the “Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user” status in Google Search Console can be perplexing for website owners. This issue indicates that Google has selected a different canonical URL than the one specified by the user, potentially leading to indexing and ranking discrepancies. To address this issue effectively, it’s essential to implement a structured approach. Below are detailed steps to fix this issue and ensure optimal indexing and ranking performance for your website.

1. Address Duplicate Content

Having duplicate content may lead to confusion for search engines and diminish the authority of your website. To resolve this issue:

  • Merge Similar Pages: If you have multiple pages with similar content, consider consolidating them into one comprehensive page to avoid duplication.
  • Utilize rel=canonical Tags: Implement rel=canonical tags to specify the preferred canonical URL for duplicate pages. This signals to search engines which version of the page should be indexed and displayed in search results.
  • Utilize robots.txt: Use the robots.txt file to block low-quality or unimportant duplicate pages from being indexed by search engines, thereby preventing duplicate content issues.

2. Fix Incorrect Canonical Tags

Incorrect canonical tags can lead to confusion and indexing issues. To rectify this:

  • Ensure Consistency: Check that all pages have a canonical tag pointing to the intended URL consistently across your website.
  • Avoid Syntax Errors: Verify that your canonical tags are correctly formatted and free from syntax errors to ensure proper interpretation by search engines.
  • Validation: Validate your canonical tags using SEO tools or browser extensions to confirm their effectiveness in directing search engine crawlers to the desired canonical URL.

3. Improve Content Quality and Relevance

High-quality, relevant content is crucial for maintaining search visibility and user engagement. Consider the following:

  • Uniqueness and Value: Ensure your content is unique, informative, and valuable to users, offering insights or solutions that differentiate it from competing pages.
  • Keyword Targeting: Target specific keywords and user intents while maintaining natural language to enhance the relevance and visibility of your content in search results.
  • Content Updates: Regularly update outdated content and provide fresh insights or information to maintain relevance and authority in your niche.

4. Resolve Technical Issues

Technical issues may hamper search engine crawlers’ ability to accurately index your website. Take the following actions:

  • Fix Broken Internal Links: Identify and rectify broken internal links or redirect them to appropriate pages to ensure a seamless user experience and proper indexing of your website.
  • robots.txt Configuration: Ensure your robots.txt file allows indexing of desired URLs and blocks access to irrelevant or sensitive pages to prevent indexing issues.
  • Search Console Audit: Conduct regular audits in Google Search Console to identify and address any technical SEO issues that may affect indexing and ranking performance.

5. Monitor and Iterate

Monitoring and continuous improvement are essential for maintaining optimal search visibility. Consider the following:

  • Search Console Analysis: Utilize Google Search Console to track changes and monitor whether Google chooses your preferred canonical URL for indexed pages.
  • Patience and Persistence: SEO changes take time to reflect in search results, so be patient and persistent in your optimization efforts for long-term success.
  • Ongoing Optimization: Continue improving your content and technical SEO based on performance metrics and user feedback to adapt to evolving search engine algorithms and user behaviors.
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Few Additional Tips

1. Sitemap Submission: Use a sitemap to communicate your desired page structure to Google and facilitate efficient indexing of your website’s pages.

2. User Experience Optimization: Consider user experience and mobile friendliness when optimizing your website, as these factors influence search engine rankings and user engagement.

3. Seek Professional Help: Consult SEO experts or professionals for assistance with complex technical issues or optimization strategies tailored to your website’s specific needs.


Addressing the “Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user” issue requires a comprehensive and proactive strategy. It’s crucial to meticulously monitor your website for any instances of duplicate content and promptly take corrective action. Regularly updating canonical tags to accurately specify the preferred canonical URL is essential to guide Google’s indexing process effectively.

Furthermore, maintaining a well-structured sitemap is imperative to ensure that search engines can easily navigate and index your website’s pages. By consistently implementing these practices and staying vigilant about potential issues, you’ll create a solid foundation for Google to index the appropriate pages, ultimately enhancing your website’s organic visibility and online presence.

Remember, search engine optimization is an ongoing process, and staying proactive and attentive to the details is key to achieving long-term success in improving your website’s search engine rankings and driving organic traffic.

Tags:- canonical issuesduplicate contentGoogle search consoleSEO

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