An SEO professional asked John Mueller during a hangout about different canonicals.
Their situation was: let’s say if there’s a particular page, which is an error in Google Search Console.
And sometimes, Google might pick something, perhaps a different page than what a user has defined.
In this regard, how can they provide the correct signals to Google when it comes to selecting the right page at the canonical?
They believe there is an error, if Google chooses a different canonical than what the user had already defined on the page.
In order to make sure, because the pages have the correct canonical tags, and the coverage report is different from what the URL inspection tool is currently showing.
For example, for a few URLs, it does show what the user has correctly defined. But, for a few pages, it may show that Google has picked something different than the self canonical tags.
The SEO pro mentioned that this is definitely related to the job industry where many HR representatives try to put in the same job description for a particular job-specific query.
So, this isn’t something that is controlled by the SEO pro, or controlled by the team.
But, from the employer’s side, the job title remains the same.
The job description, however, is copied and pasted for several of the pages.
It’s likely that there is a duplicate content issue as well. But, the SEO pro does not know how to deal with these types of problems for job indices..
John explained that yes, making sure that these pages are significantly unique is something that is almost a requirement here. In the sense that, if Google thinks these pages are the same, then they’re trying to do the SEO professional a favor by just picking one URL to index it.
And he imagines that the SEO pro probably doesn’t like that Google is trying to help them in this regard.
But, this is something where, if Google thinks that these are essentially the same pages, then they are saying “Well, you accidentally submitted multiple pages with the same content, and we tried to fix that for you.”
John then elaborated that the best way to avoid that part is really to make sure that these pages are significantly unique.
And if this is something that is based on what people are submitting to your website, then perhaps there is a way for you to add some kind of a pre-submit check where you say, “Well, this description that you gave me is the same one you gave me yesterday for a different job, so you would want to push back on this level.”
And if the pages are, for the most part, exactly the same, then it can happen that Google will fold them together.
You also see this when you have an e-commerce site, where you’re active in multiple countries, and the product descriptions and products themselves are exactly the same, you just have a different phone number on the bottom of the page for the individual country address, then this is also one of those situations where Google’s systems will say “Well, this page is essentially the same. We don’t need to index all of these variations.”
This happens at approximately the 41:25 mark in the video.