What Is Google User-Declared Canonical?

What Is Google User-Declared Canonical?

What is meant by canonical URL? 

If you think your content won’t get duplicated or canonicalization isn’t essential, you might be in trouble. We, as a human, consider a page as an idea just like your landing page. However, each unique URL is a different page for the search engine crawlers. For instance, search engine crawlers may have the option to appear on your landing page in the following ways: 

  • http://www.example.com 
  • https://www.example.com 
  • http://example.com 
  • http://example.com/index.php 
  • http://example.com/index.php?r 

To a human, these URLs address a single page. But to the search engine crawlers, each of these URLs is a unique page. Now you can see there are five duplicates of the landing page in play. In reality, this is only a little example of the issues you may experience.  

To mitigate these issues, the canonical URL plays a vital role in assuring your website is not penalized by Google or search engines. The canonical URLs ensure that web crawlers don’t get confused when multiple URLs highlight a similar content or page. It also helps inform which URLs have identical or same content. In simple words, what is a user-declared canonical?

A canonical URL is the URL of a specific page that Google considers most relevant from several duplicate pages on your website. If you have an URL for a similar page, for example (example.com? dress=1234 and example.com/dresses/1234), then Google considers one canonical. 

In a nutshell, if you have a webpage available by numerous URLs or multiple pages with similar contents, for example, separate mobile and desktop variants; you should indicate to a search engine which URL is legitimate (canonical) for that page. 

What is Google user-declared canonical?

Suppose you see something like “Google-selected canonical: same as user-declared canonical”. It implies that Google is considering the same canonical as the user is. In this circumstance, the user is you (not your website’s users but the search console user). It means that Google agrees with you.  

If the “user-declared canonical” and “Google-selected canonical” values are not similar, implies that this URL is one of a set of similar pages. It means Google is considering indexing the other version of the same page. 

If you see in the search console that you are checking the URL that does not end with “/”. But if you see that the canonical URL you have set ends with “/”. Thus, you are checking the non-canonical version of your webpage. If things are not improving, then there is no error. It means Google doesn’t prefer or like your webpage enough to rank it well. 

What is the use of canonical URLs? 

When search engines crawl several URLs with similar content, it can create many SEO issues. If the search engine crawlers need to swim through many duplicated contents, they may miss a portion of your unique content. Second, too much duplication may weaken your ranking capacity. Even if your content ranks, web crawlers may pick some wrong URL as the original. So using canonicalization helps you to control your content getting copied. 

If you syndicate your content for sharing on different domains, canonical URLs connect page ranking to your favored URL. Canonical URLs help search engines to connect the data they have for each URL, into a single and legit URL. Above all, the duplicate contents across websites won’t need to fight for traffic or ranking in the search engine.  

A canonical tag tells search engines that a particular URL addresses the master copy of a specific page. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or duplicate content showing up on different URLs. The canonical tag notifies search engines which version of a URL you want to show up in search results.

When there is a variety of URLs, it turns out to be harder to get consolidated metrics for particular content. Canonical URLs keep things straightforward and organized, particularly with regards to reporting performance to your client. 

What is a non-canonical URL?

You can figure out which pages are non-canonical based upon whether the canonical URL matches the URL of the page. If the URLs don’t match, then the page is non-canonical. These pages are not the focal point of an SEO assessment often. 

Non-canonical URLs are the pages that are either a canonical copy of another URL or a copied piece of content. It implies these URLs are being connected to pages on your website. It means they are available, which is conceivable if they are not taken care of with redirects. 

If the URL of each page crawled and the canonical URL does not match, it’s a non-canonical page. A page must match the following standards to be considered as a non-canonical page:

  • HTML/Text
  • Available
  • Deliver “200” status code
  • Connected to at least once
  • Include a canonical tag

You can use this information to recognize pages that are legitimate canonical copies of different pages. You can avoid these pages from any inquiry as they are non-canonical. Hence, the pages don’t need optimizing similarly to canonical pages. 

How do I find my canonical URL?

Finding the canonical URL is an issue for websites and strategies for setting up the canonical version of a website have created. The most popular path to find a canonical URL is through a server redirect: 

A 301 redirect allows the server a status code where the URL redirected forever. A 302 redirect notifies your server the redirect is just temporary. For the reasons behind choosing a canonical URL, the 302 redirects should not be utilized. Google explicitly doesn’t pass the right to your site from a 302-temporary redirect. 

You can find your canonical URL through Google Webmaster Tools Search Console. When you set up the Webmaster Tools, you will be permitted to “Set Your Preferred Domain”. It reveals to Google’s devices which URL version you would like to have as your primary domain. 

To define your preferred domain in Webmaster Tools: 

  1. In your Search Console landing page, ensure you find several versions of your site. 
  2. Choose the performance of your site you want. 
  3. Click the gear symbol, later click Site Settings. 
  4. In the Preferred domain segment, pick the site you want to be liked. 

How do I fix a duplicate submitted URL not selected as canonical? 

Set your copied URLs to no index or set a canonical to make Google realize what to rank rather than copied content. As a result, both acts will solve the problem. 

First, you need to identify the duplicated contents. Even if Google advises you in Search Console which URL it considers copied, they don’t reveal this data.

To locate the duplicated contents, you can use Google search. Take a phrase from the page that must be unique and look for it on Google with cites around it. It will show which page Google is indexing.

When you find duplicate content, you can choose how to manage it. You will have a few options: 

Let Google pick which page it considers is copied. Google lists one copy of a page when it discovers duplicates. Having copied pages and allowing Google to manage them consequently doesn’t hurt your website. 

If you have control over the pages, you can use canonical tags or redirects to notify Google which one you would prefer to be indexed.

If the copied content is from another website, and if the content belongs to you, you can get that website closed down or eliminated from Google using DMCA. You can also separate the pages more so they are no longer copied.

Aside from the solution above, you can follow the procedures below to go in-depth:  

  1. Copy the old URL and go through an SEO tool that you would prefer. 
  2. Pick the “interior backlinks” –> “All.” 
  3. Go to each referring page and discover the “Anchor” as recommended by SEO tools. 
  4. Assess the anchor text and change the anchor text URL into a new URL, which you have updated. 
  5. Go to Google Search Console and ask for an index of each page to change the anchor text URL. 
  6. If possible, do some new inner linking to the unique URL and request an index from Google Search Console. 
  7. Do some back-linking to the new URL, if possible.
  8. Go to Google Search Console and request for a temporary URL removal for the past URL. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital for each website. The canonical URLs can help to inform search engines which URLs have identical or duplicated content. Knowing how to use canonical URLs is one of the fundamental skills you will have to optimize. Start today by ensuring the themes you made, or use includes canonical URLs.


  • Tristan

    Tristan has a strong interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence and creative expression. He has a background in computer science, and he enjoys exploring the ways in which AI can enhance and augment human creativity. In his writing, he often delves into the ways in which AI is being used to generate original works of fiction and poetry, as well as to analyze and understand patterns in existing texts.