Solved

How do I solve canonical tag errors in Google Search Console?

Loz86
Pathfinder
91 7 18

Hi guys I keep getting this error on gsc 

 

Alternative page with proper canonical tag
These pages aren't indexed or served on Google
I understand this is due to duplicate pages on my site but the ones it’s saying are product urls with stuff like this ?pr_prod_strat=e5_desc&pr_rec_id=69aeb4a30&pr_rec_pid=8457855828255&pr_ref_pid=8474096632095&pr_seq=uniform on the end of them 
 
So the urls GSC is saying are causing the errors look like this
 
 www.storename.com/product/blue-coat/?pr_prod_strat=e5_desc&pr_rec_id=69aeb4a30&pr_rec_pid=8457855828255&pr_ref_pid=8474096632095&pr_seq=uniform
I don't understand why almost all my product pages appear to have duplicates with this weird structure at the end of their URLs
 
Anyone know why or how to solve it? 🤷‍♂️
 
Accepted Solution (1)

ilanadavis
Shopify Expert
200 26 63

This is an accepted solution.

Hey @Loz 

 

You can ignore the "Alternate page with proper canonical tag" notice in Search Console and Google says as much in their documentation.

Page Indexing report - Search Console Help-2024-03-19 at 14.47.51.png

 

The ?pr_prod_strat... is from Shopify's recommended product links that is used for tracking purposes.

 

Essentially, Google sees that these URLs exist but they know it's not the canonical (or primary) URL. So they are saying the URL with ?pr_prod_strat has a proper canonical and will use the correct product URL and ignore the ?pr_prod_strat URL.

 

Google's goal here is to notify you of any potential issues that you may need to be aware of, but in most cases, they are a heads up and no action is needed.  Search Console is a developer tool that has been adopted by site owners but they haven't trained site owners on what's an actual concern or not. So you get notifications that cause panic when they aren't an issue at all.

 

This article goes into depth about all the indexing "issues" Search Console may raise and which ones can be ignored: https://www.ilanadavis.com/blogs/articles/when-to-ignore-search-console-indexing-issues-for-shopify-...

 

I hope that helps.

 

 - Ilana

Ilana Davis, Shopify Superhero
JSON-LD for SEO, adds structured data to your theme, getting you more organic traffic with Rich Results.
Linking Llama, link complementary, comparable, or related products to improve SEO & UX.

View solution in original post

Replies 10 (10)

Ayoub29
New Member
5 0 0

I have the same issue.. I have product pages indexed on Google with the same stuff added to the main product pages links. Still waiting for a response. In case you found how to do that, please advise.
Thank you

ilanadavis
Shopify Expert
200 26 63

This is an accepted solution.

Hey @Loz 

 

You can ignore the "Alternate page with proper canonical tag" notice in Search Console and Google says as much in their documentation.

Page Indexing report - Search Console Help-2024-03-19 at 14.47.51.png

 

The ?pr_prod_strat... is from Shopify's recommended product links that is used for tracking purposes.

 

Essentially, Google sees that these URLs exist but they know it's not the canonical (or primary) URL. So they are saying the URL with ?pr_prod_strat has a proper canonical and will use the correct product URL and ignore the ?pr_prod_strat URL.

 

Google's goal here is to notify you of any potential issues that you may need to be aware of, but in most cases, they are a heads up and no action is needed.  Search Console is a developer tool that has been adopted by site owners but they haven't trained site owners on what's an actual concern or not. So you get notifications that cause panic when they aren't an issue at all.

 

This article goes into depth about all the indexing "issues" Search Console may raise and which ones can be ignored: https://www.ilanadavis.com/blogs/articles/when-to-ignore-search-console-indexing-issues-for-shopify-...

 

I hope that helps.

 

 - Ilana

Ilana Davis, Shopify Superhero
JSON-LD for SEO, adds structured data to your theme, getting you more organic traffic with Rich Results.
Linking Llama, link complementary, comparable, or related products to improve SEO & UX.
Ayoub29
New Member
5 0 0

And what about the issue where Google indexes each variant of a product page on its own?

ilanadavis
Shopify Expert
200 26 63

Are your variants actually indexed or are you reading the report in Search Console that leads you to believe they are indexed? Usually, if you see variants in the "Alternate page with proper canonical tag" that means Google sees that the variants have the canonical URL and they index the product URL, not the variant.

 

But what's the concern with indexing each variant? Crawling budgets isn't a concern unless your store is massive. Sure you'll likely have the same content for each variant URL, but duplicate content is not a violation of Google's policies. Google will not penalize you for duplicate content. You should avoid duplicate content, but it's not the end of the world if Google indexes variant URLs.

Without seeing your URL or screenshots from Search Console, it's hard to understand what the actual concern is here because in most cases, it's a non-issue.

Ilana Davis, Shopify Superhero
JSON-LD for SEO, adds structured data to your theme, getting you more organic traffic with Rich Results.
Linking Llama, link complementary, comparable, or related products to improve SEO & UX.
Ayoub29
New Member
5 0 0

I used "site:...." on search, the main product page is indexed, and also the variants of the same products are indexed. I thought It's an issue, because when I check other sites, they have multiple variants but all are grouped in the main product page.

 

 

organgrinder
New Member
6 0 0

Hi, GSC is reporting 5.05K pages on my site are labeled "Alternate Page with Proper Canonical tag". It goes on to say that these pages are not indexed or served by Google. So I should ignore the report? I was under the impression that if a product page isn't indexed it isn't going to show up in a search. Am I missing or misunderstanding something here? I'm confused...

ilanadavis
Shopify Expert
200 26 63

@organgrinder  You can look at the details of the URL to make sure there isn't a concern. It's not saying your product page isn't being indexed. It's saying another page that uses the same product canonical URL (examples below) won't be indexed. That's what you want otherwise you'll have two pages that say exactly the same thing (duplicate content) indexed.

 

Some examples you may see that can be ignored:

1. A collection-aware URL (e.g. /collection/collection-name/products/product-name) and the canonical is the product-only URL (e.g. /products/product-name).

2. A product URL with ?pr_prod_strat... and the canonical is the product URL

3. A URL with wpm or web-pixel-manager and the product URL is the canonical

 

I've yet to see a case where there is a legitimate concern with these URLs so in most cases, they can be ignored. But that would be irresponsible of me to say just ignore it without also recommending you glance at the URLs to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary.

 

When you inspect the URL, it tells you the user declared canonical and Google-selected canonical. As long as these are the same, there's no concern.

Inspection-page-indexing-report.png

Ilana Davis, Shopify Superhero
JSON-LD for SEO, adds structured data to your theme, getting you more organic traffic with Rich Results.
Linking Llama, link complementary, comparable, or related products to improve SEO & UX.
organgrinder
New Member
6 0 0

Thank you for explaining what to look for when comparing user and Google canonicals. I found the data on the indexing page convoluted and hard to understand. I'm sure your reply will help others understand what Alternate page with proper canonicals really means as well. Thanks again.

favabean
Tourist
6 0 0

Hello @ilanadavis what about when the 'referring page' and the 'user-declared conical' are 2 different products? how to I fix that? 

Cheers, Haley

ilanadavis
Shopify Expert
200 26 63

@favabeanCan you share an example?

 

If I understand your question, the referring page (product A) is a different URL from the User-declared canonical (product B) and the Google-selected canonical (same as user-declared - which means product B).

The referring page just means the link to the page in question. So if product A has a link to product B, but uses a URL that's not the canonical, this would be expected. Likely nothing to "fix" as Google is fixing it for you.

Ilana Davis, Shopify Superhero
JSON-LD for SEO, adds structured data to your theme, getting you more organic traffic with Rich Results.
Linking Llama, link complementary, comparable, or related products to improve SEO & UX.