How To Fix “Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag” Warning


    How To Fix “Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag” Warning – The enigmatic message from Google Search Console labeled “Alternate page with proper canonical tag” can send a shiver down the spine of any seasoned SEO expert. It’s akin to deciphering a cryptic riddle—a subtle indication that something within your website’s hierarchy might be amiss, yet it refrains from unveiling the exact puzzle pieces. But fear not, valiant SEO warriors! We stand prepared to decode this elusive message and arm you with the precise tools and knowledge to dispel this mystery permanently.

    Understanding the Warning:

    Let’s dissect the intricacies of this message:

    “Alternate page”: This denotes a page residing on your website that holds content akin to another page.

    “Proper canonical tag”: This tag functions as a critical piece of code dictating to search engines the primary or “original” page—the one you wish to spotlight in search results.

    Essentially, the warning signals Google’s discovery of your alternate page, and it’s commendable that it sports a canonical tag pointing to the favored version—a positive sign! Yet, a sense of suspicion looms. There’s an anomaly in the canonicalization process, or perhaps, the presence of the alternate page itself is questionable. This conundrum warrants a closer investigation.

    Why is this Warning Bad?

    Duplicate content is the bane of SEO. When search engines find multiple pages with similar content, they get confused and might choose the “wrong” one to index, or even penalize your website for duplicate content. The alternate page warning signals a potential duplicate content issue, which could hurt your rankings and organic traffic.

    Diagnosing the Problem:

    Before jumping into fixing, let’s identify the culprit:

    1. Review the “Alternate page with proper canonical tag” report: This report within Search Console lists the affected pages and the canonical URLs they point to. Analyze if the canonicalization makes sense, and if the alternate pages should even exist.
    2. Investigate the alternate page: Check the content of both pages to see how similar they are. Are they identical except for minor differences like pagination or sorting? If so, they might be unnecessary duplicates.
    3. Check your canonical tags: Use a tool like Screaming Frog or Ahrefs to audit your website’s canonical tags. Ensure they’re implemented correctly, pointing to the intended preferred URLs.

    Fixing the Problem:

    Having identified the potential issues, let’s delve into corrective measures based on your diagnosis:

    Redundant Duplicate Pages:

    Content Merger: Consolidate the content from the alternate page into the canonical page, ensuring the information is not only accurate but also comprehensive. Once the merger is complete, proceed to eliminate the redundant alternate page.

    Redirect Strategy: Implement a 301 permanent redirect, steering traffic seamlessly from the alternate page to the canonical version. This strategic move informs search engines that the alternate page is now obsolete, strengthening the signal for the preferred version. This not only streamlines your site’s structure but also enhances user experience by directing them to the most relevant content.

    Canonicalization issues:

    Adjusting the Canonical Tag:

    For rectifying the issue related to the canonical tag, consider these steps:

    Canonical Tag Correction: In case the canonical tag on the alternate page misdirects to an incorrect URL, revise it to point precisely to the desired preferred version. Verifying the accuracy of the canonical URL is pivotal to ensure search engines prioritize the correct page in their indexing.

    Strategic Deployment of rel=”canonical” Links: Should the alternate page serve a specific purpose, such as pagination, and must coexist with the canonical version, utilize the rel=”canonical” link attribute on the alternate page. By employing this attribute, you communicate to search engines the relation between the alternate and canonical pages, emphasizing that they are connected but not identical duplicates. This strategic implementation aids in guiding search engine crawlers while delineating the distinct roles of each page.

    Preventing the Warning in the Future:

    Implement these proactive measures:

    • Plan your content strategy: Before creating new pages, ensure they offer unique value and won’t duplicate existing content.
    • Standardize canonicalization practices: Define clear guidelines for your team on when and how to use canonical tags.
    • Monitor your website: Regularly check the “Alternate page with proper canonical tag” report in Search Console and address any new issues promptly.

    Remember: Fixing the “Alternate page with proper canonical tag” warning requires careful analysis and strategic action. By understanding the message, diagnosing the problem, and implementing the right fix, you can banish this warning and ensure your website shines in the eyes of search engines and users alike.

    Bonus Tips:

    • Consider using canonicalization plugins for your content management system (CMS) to simplify tag implementation.
    • Stay updated on Google’s latest guidelines regarding canonicalization to keep your practices in line with their algorithms.
    • Don’t hesitate to seek help from SEO professionals if the issue becomes complex or requires advanced technical expertise.


    With the right approach offered by IndeedSEO, you can conquer the “Alternate page with proper canonical tag” warning and keep your website’s SEO health thriving! And remember, a healthy website is a happy website, and a happy website means more traffic, conversions, and ultimately, success. So, go forth and slay that warning!

    About author
    Gurpreet Kaur
    Gurpreet Kaur is a highly-skilled and exponentially experienced content writer at IndeedSEO. She has a passion for content writing and has written several quality blogs, articles, press reports, and more in several niches. Her expertise has helped several of our clients achieve their objectives and sustainable results in the long term.

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