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One of our pages was on page 1 of Google for a very important keyword. Some mistake from our developer team caused a disastrous issue in indexing that page. The parent page and the child page used the same content for a few days by mistake. Google then removed the child page from its index and kept the parent only, saying "Duplicate, submitted URL not selected as canonical".

I understand the issue. But I don't know how to solve it! I have already brought back the original content on both pages and asked Google to reindex both pages through Google's inspector tool in Search Console. But it doesn't work! Google doesn't index the child page anymore which is really crucial for us. Google has identified our child page as a duplicate of the parent page. I have re-written the whole content of the page and asked Google to re-index it again. No luck yet.

Do you have any solution for this issue?

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    How long has it been? Google needs at least a couple weeks to sort out issues like this, possibly a couple months. Oct 11 '20 at 17:34
  • It's been a few days. Waiting weeks or months is crazy, considering that the website's income is dependent on that page's ranking! Oct 12 '20 at 7:50
  • I don't think you have any other choice. Oct 12 '20 at 9:56
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Here's what I did:

Google wouldn't index the sub-page even after several times I asked for re-index (for over a week) because it was a duplicate content (to Google) although it wasn't really duplicate. I did then a content rewrite and requested re-index in Search Console. It got indexed in 1-2 days. However, the keyword's position was lost.

I wanted to make sure if using the old content would bring the lost position back or not. I loaded the old content on the page and requested re-index again. The "old" content got accepted by Google this time, but the position didn't change.

The conclusion is, once Google identifies a page as duplicate, it will take the ranking from that page away, no matter if you fix the problem quickly and it's not recoverable.

Now we have to wait weeks or months to achieve what we had before.

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Both of your webpages have 100% duplicate content. At the same time, both of these web pages have a canonical meta-link pointing to itself. This tells Google that the content of both webpages has your priority and that you want to show links to both contents in search results:

Why should I choose a canonical URL? There are a number of reasons why you would want to explicitly choose a canonical page in a set of duplicate/similar pages:

To specify which URL that you want people to see in search results.

However, given the fact of full duplicate content, Google is unable to determine the content of which web page exactly has relevant content corresponding to a specific search query.

Compare your duplicate content to the following Google statement:

However, in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.

Later in this same guide, Google provides the following tips that may help you:

There are some steps you can take to proactively address duplicate content issues, and ensure that visitors see the content you want them to.

Use 301s: If you've restructured your site, use 301 redirects ("RedirectPermanent") in your .htaccess file to smartly redirect users, Googlebot, and other spiders. (In Apache, you can do this with an .htaccess file; in IIS, you can do this through the administrative console.)

Be consistent: Try to keep your internal linking consistent. For example, don't link to http://www.example.com/page/ and http://www.example.com/page and http://www.example.com/page/index.htm.

Use top-level domains: To help us serve the most appropriate version of a document, use top-level domains whenever possible to handle country-specific content. We're more likely to know that http://www.example.de contains Germany-focused content, for instance, than http://www.example.com/de or http://de.example.com.

Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you'd prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to use the noindex meta tag to prevent search engines from indexing their version of the content.

Minimize boilerplate repetition: For instance, instead of including lengthy copyright text on the bottom of every page, include a very brief summary and then link to a page with more details. In addition, you can use the Parameter Handling tool to specify how you would like Google to treat URL parameters.

Avoid publishing stubs: Users don't like seeing "empty" pages, so avoid placeholders where possible. For example, don't publish pages for which you don't yet have real content. If you do create placeholder pages, use the noindex meta tag to block these pages from being indexed.

Understand your content management system: Make sure you're familiar with how content is displayed on your web site. Blogs, forums, and related systems often show the same content in multiple formats. For example, a blog entry may appear on the home page of a blog, in an archive page, and in a page of other entries with the same label.

Minimize similar content: If you have many pages that are similar, consider expanding each page or consolidating the pages into one. For instance, if you have a travel site with separate pages for two cities, but the same information on both pages, you could either merge the pages into one page about both cities or you could expand each page to contain unique content about each city.

Google does not recommend blocking crawler access to duplicate content on your website, whether with a robots.txt file or other methods. If search engines can't crawl pages with duplicate content, they can't automatically detect that these URLs point to the same content and will therefore effectively have to treat them as separate, unique pages. A better solution is to allow search engines to crawl these URLs, but mark them as duplicates by using the rel="canonical" link element, the URL parameter handling tool, or 301 redirects. In cases where duplicate content leads to us crawling too much of your website, you can also adjust the crawl rate setting in Search Console.

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  • Thanks, but these don't apply to our case. Our both pages have 100% unique content. For a few days they were duplicate and we fixed the problem. Their content is back now, but Google still refuses to index the child page. Oct 12 '20 at 7:49
  • @AminDarvand see Stephen Ostermiller's comment above about how long it might take. No search engine updates are instantaneous.
    – Steve
    Oct 12 '20 at 7:56

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