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Google Webmaster Tools shows problems with duplicate title tags under Optimization -> HTML Improvements, for example:

ราคาแอร์ Mitsubishi Electric Mr. Slim PC Series PC-3KAKLT (220V) 30000 BTU
>  /แอร์-ราคา/mitsubishi-mr-slim-pc3kaklt-30000-btu.html
>  /แอร์-ราคา/mitsubishi-mr-slim-pc3kaklt-30000-btu.html?category_id=96

These two pages have exactly the same content, a rel-canonical tag is set, and they are (no longer) linked to internally. Additionally, we used the Configuration -> URL Parameters setting, to set this parameter to No: Doesn't affect page content about one month ago.

However, Google is still showing these HTML improvements (and rankings dropped dramatically).

What else can we do here?

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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Google Webmaster Tools is still reporting the issue, but are both URLs actually still in the index? GWT is a great tool, but it's far from infallible. It could be that the canonical link element or the parameters tool worked, but the change wasn't immediately reflected in GWT.

"… a rel-canonical tag is set…"

It's worth bearing in mind that Google regard the canonical link element as a hint, not a directive.

"… they are (no longer) linked to internally…"

They might be still be linked externally. And are they referenced from your XML Sitemap?

"…rankings dropped dramatically"

This could be explained by the fact that you're not linking to the page(s) anymore.

"What else can we do here?"

If you just want it/them out of the index, apply <meta name="robots" content="noindex">. But, I recommend (a) checking the index to see whether both versions are, in fact, indexed and, (b), if not, reinstating the internal links to see if that addresses the ranking issue.

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The URLs are not in the index anymore. But the number of related mistakes in the Webmaster Tools keeps increasing and rankings do not come back. They are also not linked externally and not in the Sitemap. Re rankings drop: Yes, might be.. URL is aircheck24.com if that helps –  David Dec 9 '12 at 5:25
    
OK. As I say, GWT isn't infallible and people often find that corrective actions take a while to be reflected there. The parameters don't appear to be indexed, so the only real problem is page performance. "Re rankings drop: Yes, might be" - I'd say it almost certainly is because you're not linking to it (and, as you've confirmed, nor is anyone else). So I refer you to (b) in my conclusion above. –  GDav Dec 9 '12 at 11:40
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You could try 301 redirecting the URL with the parameter to the main URL.

Also, did you apply the parameter setting before or after adding the rel=canonical tag? I'm not certain about this, but I believe if you added the canonical tag after setting the parameter, Google will simply stop crawling the page (or at least do so much less frequently) and will not see the canonical tag.

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The rel=canonical Tag was added from the beginning. This - in combination with the URL Parameters-setting makes me wonder, why Google detects double duplicates. –  David Dec 8 '12 at 2:55
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