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We have a group of websites that are very similar to each other. All the websites are for the same type of business and they all have mostly the same products etc.

The websites are supposed to be 90% the same as every other website in this group. The only thing differing is things like, contact information, logo, header etc. Also the selection of the webshop are is mainly similar.

The problem now is that Google is indexing the wrong page for the wrong domain because it gets (correctly) marked as duplicate content.

For example, the contact page of website A gets the name of website B in the Google index. This is of course confusing and an issue because the address information linked is wrong, and the website owner doesn't like to be found with a wrong name in google.

Is there a way to indicate to Google that they should keep the correct metadata in the search results?

  • I think it would be good to include a screenshot of your "contact page" example, as this isn't something you'd expect a canonical link element to resolve - as mentioned in a couple of answers. – MrWhite Apr 7 at 10:34
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That is what rel="canonical" is for, but Google will return the result it feels is more authoritative regardless of what you set as canonical URL.

If you use -site:siteA.com does Google return siteB.com as a result for your keyword?

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Quick answer: you'll find contact procedures and some common things to check for on Google's webmaster site.

Incorrect site indexing can be caused by a number of issues, so you may need to take multiple steps to resolve this problem. One common occurrence: webmasters sometimes copy html/php files from "old" (existing) page folders and paste them into new folders to create new pages without having to manually regurgitate code. If you suspect that this could be the case, you'll likely find the problem after a careful perusal of html tags in the incorrectly indexed page to see if some tags were overlooked that should have been updated with new page info.

Press F12 to view any page's source code and inspect the tags; graphical content management systems (CMS) often don't show all page code through the page editor, which can lead to some tags being overlooked during construction.

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Below are some steps that have successfully worked for me when I encountered this issue:

  • Add "rel=canonical" tags and represent the right URL for the preferred domain
  • Modify content to be appropriate and relevant to the domain (This really helps a lot in differentiating your content as Google treats every website in an unique way, changes are for your search term, it feels the other website might be relevant.)
  • Add <meta name="robots" content="NOODP,NOYDIR" /> so that the cached results are not shown.
  • Inspect URL in Google Search Console and request for indexing if the URL list is small. Otherwise resubmit the sitemap.

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