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This is related to:

Often when searching, I get duplicate results:

screenshot of duplicate search results

The problem used to be that canonical URLs were wrong (e.g. the canonical URL for an "answer URL" or "comment URL" pointed to itself), but now it seems that canonical URLs are entirely removed.

Please add them and ensure they are correct. From a user point of view, this is incredibly annoying.

  • 2
    I don't understand how people can ignore this. This is utterly annoying. And it happens not only for the answer links, also for all sorts of query params like ?rq=1 (e.g. google.com/search?q=asterism%20latex). – user1666456 Feb 3 at 10:40
  • @user1666456 This was changed for a while, but the change was reverted because it was causing problems. The ending portion of a link to an answer in the URL is in fact necessary to change the page if the answer is not on the first page, on questions with multiple pages of answers. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Feb 11 at 14:37
  • It's not about changing the URL, but indicating to search engines that these different URLs point to the same content, using a canonical tag (see e.g. support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066). Agreed, people who are really searching for a specific answer of a question on Google (does anyone even do this?) might be mislead to the first page, but much more people will search for questions and get duplicate results. This happens on a daily basis for me right now. And bear in mind the ?rq=1 and similar query parameters which cause the same problem. – user1666456 Feb 11 at 14:50
  • @SonictheIntrovertedHedgehog Actually, the Related section hinted me at this post meta.stackexchange.com/q/130749/384103 regarding multi-page questions which, from my point of view, comes to the same conclusion as I do, and there is even a possible solution shown (the show all page) that could resolve both issues. Yet, since then, someone has decided to remove the canonical tags altogether, but I haven't yet found a post where that is explained. Anyways, at least the query parameters rq, noredirect, lq etc. that apparently make no difference in content should be considered. – user1666456 Feb 11 at 17:16
  • What's also annoying is that sometimes one of the results has a different title because it's an earlier cached version. – Laurel Feb 12 at 3:00
  • It dawns on me that the root cause of this issue is the Hot Network Questions section, which is regenerated randomly on every page load. Normally, Google would probably detect duplicate pages by itself, but it can't just arbitrarily discard that "new content" it sees with every access (be it under a different URL or not). I think there is no way to exclude this section from indexing, so again, rel="canonical" is the only solution. But apparently nobody cares... – user1666456 Feb 17 at 18:29

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