What are the causes for the canonical tag issue in the search console

Two identical pages next to each other. One of them marked with a gold medal and the "Alternate page with proper canonical tag' status.

First of all, remember that it’s important to keep an eye on the issue so the “Alternate page with proper canonical tag” status doesn’t cause any problems for your website. Learn how and why you should monitor the “Alternate page with proper canonical tag” status.

Let’s see why the problem occurs

If you see “Alternate page with proper canonical tag” in the Page indexing (Index Coverage) report in Google Search Console, it probably means that you met the following conditions:

  • You have duplicate or thin content that you want to optimize,
  • You chose the best version of your content that you wanted to be displayed in search results, so
  • You marked your duplicate version with the canonical tag that points to the primary URL.

As you choose another page as the canonical URL, you need to know that search engines will index it in favor of your alternative page. When done on purpose, it’s a positive sign of an indexing strategy that’s working. 

It doesn’t mean that you prevent bots from indexing your duplicate page, but it underlines to search engines which page is your preferred one.

Which pages may you consider duplicates and want to canonicalize? These are, e.g., URLs with filtering parameters or user-generated content.


Read our article to easily understand how to fix the“Alternate page with proper canonical tag” in GSC

NEXT STEPS: Contact us to receive a personalized plan to deal with your duplicate content and indexing issues.

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Struggling with duplicate pages?

Let’s manage your duplicates to avoid self-induced indexing issues. Read my article on how to optimize duplicate content for SEO.