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Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user: what does it mean and how to fix it?

“Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user” indicates that Google considers these URLs to be duplicate and has chosen to ignore the canonical URL you defined. Instead, they apply a different canonical.

We often see this issue for URLs containing duplicate content or thin content. Some examples:

  1. A website that targets the US, Canada and UK with the exact same content, putting all of its faith in the hreflang link attribute.
  2. An eCommerce store that features product variants with little to no unique content, yet the product variants have a self-referencing canonical.
  3. When a website's content is available through both HTTP and HTTPS, canonicals are set up to the HTTP variant but Google simply prefers HTTPS.

One thing is for sure: when Google doesn't follow your indexing preferences, you need to learn why and resolve it.

Submit your website below and find out immediately!

How to fix “Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user”

  1. Go to Coverage > Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user and use the URL Inspection tool to find out which URL was chosen by Google as the canonical instead.
  2. If Google ignored a self-referencing canonical, then you need to make the page's content more unique and add more incoming internal links.
  3. If Google ignored a canonical pointing to another URL, you have several options:
    1. Make the content more similar so Google is more likely to adhere to your canonical.
    2. Update the canonical to point to a more relevant URL. Perhaps Google was right, and you should just take the URL they chose and use that as the canonical URL.
    3. Implement a redirect in case your site is available through both HTTP and HTTPS and/or with and without the www subdomain.

When it comes to Google's canonicalization process, determining which version of a URL is the "master copy", you don't want there to be any uncertainty — it needs to be crystal clear which URL they need to index and rank.

Submit your site and find out if any canonicalization issues remain!
Read the full Academy article to learn everything about Find and Fix Index Coverage Errors in Google Search Console
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