Why Your Courses / Content May Not Be Indexed by Google and Other Search Engines
This article is a follow-up to our earlier article “Why Overwriting Your Old Courses / Links May Not Be Such A Good Idea”. This article discusses why your courses / content may not be indexed by search engines. In the earlier article, we discussed the merits and demerits of overwriting old courses with new courses. In that article, we advised that old courses should be overridden with their new versions (with same titles) to ensure no traffic or customer is lost when they are searching for the old courses through links already indexed by search engines. We advised against multiple upload of courses with same titles and description whether for reason of dates or categories. We went further to say that where the courses are not the same, that old courses be left on the website as they still have the potential of bringing traffic. We concluded by saying ” What you need on our website is to promote one url per course (with all the dates) and get as many people as possible following through to your website where you have that same course with all the dates it is coming up.
In this article, we want to demonstrate the negative effect of having duplicate course titles on the same website.
In a recent review of our website coverage by Google, we noticed that while Google has actively been crawling and indexing our website content, some of the courses of our premium subscribers are being excluded and placed under “CRAWLED, BUT NOT INDEXED”. Non-indexing means that though your courses may appear multiple times on our website, it will not appear in Google search and on other search engines that uses the same algorithm as Google. And what reason did Google give for excluding these courses – “DUPLICATE WITHOUT USER-SELECTED CANONICAL”. And there are indeed many of these instances despite our regular admonitions to the contrary. Some course titles are duplicated as many as twelve times ranging from 2017 to date. It is these duplicates of the past that are coming to hunt and prevent the indexing of new courses.
What is Canonical?
A canonical URL is the URL of the page that Google thinks is most representative from a set of duplicate pages on your site. For example, if you have URLs for the same page (for example: example.com?dress=1234 and example.com/dresses/1234), Google chooses one as canonical. Note that the pages do not need to be absolutely identical; minor changes in sorting or filtering of list pages do not make the page unique (for example, sorting by price or filtering by item color).
According to the example given by Google, adapted for our use here, If you have a single page accessible by multiple URLs, or different pages with similar content, Google sees these as duplicate versions of the same page. Google will choose one URL as the canonical version and crawl that, and all other URLs will be considered duplicate URLs and crawled less often.
If you don't explicitly tell Google which URL is canonical, Google will make the choice for you, or might consider them both of equal weight, which might lead to unwanted behavior, as explained above (Google crawling but not indexing some content).
What is the Way Out?
Since we cannot select canonical urls for duplicated courses as we would have no means of determining which is of higher importance, the way to ensure the content on our website are indexable would be to avoid having duplicate content on the website by all means. While we will commence the merging of old courses with new ones to give the new courses a fighting chance at indexing, we will appreciate if you will join us in solving this problem by stopping the practice of trying to spread your courses (same tittles) across dates and categories. This way, we can be sure that we have done all that is possible to get the best outcome from our efforts at uploading our courses on the Nigerian Seminars and Trainings website.
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