Learn how to Fix Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles in WordPress.

Sometimes you might encounter Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles error/warning for pagination (subpages of archives) or multiple paginate pages under HTML Improvements in Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) of your WordPress site.

In this article, I will discuss how you can easily remove Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles from Google Search Console.

I will also discuss, why you should consider fixing this problem of duplicate meta tags (Meta descriptions and titles).

Do duplicate, short or long Meta tags really hurt SEO of your site?

What is Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles issue?

Before you learn how to fix Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles in WordPress.

You must know which pages are having duplicate Meta descriptions and titles.

To check duplicate Meta-description and Titles status of your site, you need to go to Google Search Console:

Dashboard > Search Appearance > HTML Improvements

Under HTML Improvements tab you’ll see following:

  1. Meta description HTMT improvements
  • Duplicate meta descriptions
  • Long meta descriptions
  • Short meta descriptions
  1. Title tag
  2. Non-indexable content

If there is no page that requires HTML improvement, you will see something like the screenshot below:

In case, there are some pages having duplicate, long or short Meta descriptions and/or titles.

Then, you will see a number of pages against Duplicate meta descriptions, Long meta descriptions, Short meta descriptions, Title tag, Non-indexable content as shown in the screenshot below:

Generally, the websites based on CMS like WordPress witness Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles for pagination or multiple pages.

You can access the pages with Duplicate, Long or Short Meta description and Title tag by clicking the text (for example – Duplicate meta descriptions, Short meta descriptions etc.).

On the next screen, you will see the duplicate, long or short Meta Description and/or Title itself and the links of affected pages.

Effect of this issue on SEO & Why You should fix this

The tab name: HTML Improvements itself explains that your website requires the HTML improvements suggested under this tab.

Further, they (Google Search Console team) also stated that ‘Addressing the following may help your site’s user experience and performance.’

In addition to that, you may like to listen to the advice of Matt Cutts, an ex-Googler.

While answering a question related to need of unique Meta description for webpages, Matt said ‘You can either have a unique meta-description or you may choose to have no meta description.

But I wouldn’t have duplicate meta-description.’

Hence, it can safely be concluded that all the important web pages of your site should have a unique Meta description and Title.

And duplicate meta-description is not good for SEO of the webpages.

Therefore, it should be a priority fix for your site’ SEO and user experience as well.

Why does This issue Occur?

Alright! the webpages of your site have duplicate meta-descriptions or titles.

But, what could be the possible reasons for that?

Well, either you have setup duplicate meta-descriptions (and/or titles) manually.

Or there are duplicate meta-tags due to CMS/platform or a plugin you’re using for your website.

The same applies to long and short meta-tags as well.

Let’s see the case of WordPress.

Reasons for Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles in WordPress.

If you’re using WordPress, you probably are managing Meta Descriptions and Meta titles of webpages via a WordPress SEO plugin.

And if I am not wrong, Yoast SEO plugin is the most popular WordPress SEO plugin out there.

In the Yoast SEO plugin, you can set homepage Meta description under Titles & Metas settings.

But the problem is, once you entered a Meta description for the homepage (for example – https://wikicat.net), that will set the same Meta description for all the paginated pages (like, https://wikicat.net/page/2/, /page/3/, /page/4/ etc.)

This will be lead to start showing Duplicate Meta Descriptions for pagination under HTML Improvements in Google Search Console.

Also, there may be duplicate Meta Title tags if you use a fixed text like ‘Wikicat – Tech Explained’ instead of using a title template in the homepage Title template.

Similarly, duplicate Meta-tags may occur while using All in One SEO Pack WordPress plugin.

So what’s the solution?

Let’s see, how can we fix duplicate Meta descriptions and Titles in WordPress.

How to fix Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles in WordPress using Yoast SEO

Method 1

Recommended solution for a static homepage and latest posts both.

In Titles & Metas settings of Yoast SEO, enter a fixed text the Homepage Meta Description with %%page%% at the end of it.

Adding %%page%% template tag at the end of Meta description will solve the problem of duplicate Meta Description for pagination or multiple paginated pages.

Method 2

Not recommended in most cases.

For the implementation of this method, excerpt support should be enabled on your WordPress site.

Use a Meta Description template instead of fixed text.

This method is suitable when you’re using a static page as homepage of your WordPress site.

In that case, you can use %%excerpt%% %%sep%% %%page%% template in Meta Description template.

Also, you need to set an excerpt for the static page which you’re using a homepage.

Method 3

Involves no-indexing of paginated pages.

There is an option under Tiles & Metas > Sitewide meta settings > Subpages of archives to noindex paginated pages.

So you can use this option to noindex subpages of archives to remove duplicate Meta descriptions of paginated pages.

How to avoid duplicate Meta Title Tag

Use %%sitename%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitedesc%% template instead of fixed text title for homepage title in Titles & Metas settings of Yoast SEO plugin.

In Closing

Meta tags are really important for good SEO of your site. But the correct use of Meta-tags is even more important.

That’s why you should try implementing all the HTML improvements (of Google Search Console) on your website. Whether it’s duplicate Meta descriptions or titles, long/short Meta description or title, all of them should be fixed for better user experience and performance of your website.

Hope this article helps you to fix Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles in WordPress.

What other method(s) do you use to remove Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles for pagination or paginate pages.

If you have a question regarding this? Post that via comments. I will be happy to answer.


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Categories: WordPressSEO

Jonathan Terreo

Jonathan is a Software/Web Developer that loves blogging in the free time. He loves to upload quality content to his websites. He is a WordPress/SEO expert due to his experience.

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