How to Fix Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles in WordPress

Updated on

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

If you had used Google Webmaster Tools or even an early version of Google Search Console, you might have seen Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles error/warning for pagination (subpages of archives) or multiple paginated pages under HTML Improvements in Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) of your WordPress site.

Unfortunately, HTML Improvements feature which was really helpful to identify such meta tag issues has been discontinued by Google Search Console.

But that does not mean, you can have duplicate meta tags on your website. Since Google still recommends “Create unique descriptions for each page on your site”.

There are other tools that can be used to identify duplicate meta tags on your website. Later in this article, we will see how to use these tools.

In this article, I will discuss how you can easily remove Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles from your website (that used to appear in Google Search Console).

I will also discuss, why you should consider fixing this problem of duplicate meta tags (meta descriptions and titles). And Do duplicate, short or long Meta tags really hurt the SEO of your site?

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, right?

How to Fix Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles in WordPress
How to Fix Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles in WordPress

Problem: What is Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles issue?

Though this feature called HTML Improvements is now not available in Google Search Console, I am keeping this old content to give you an idea – of how it used to look and to impress you that I am into these things since long back 😉

Note: If you’re not interested in historical stuff, you can jump to the next section where I have explained the tools that can be used to detect duplicate meta tags.

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

Dashboard > Search Appearance > HTML Improvements

HTML Improvements under Search Appearance in GSC
HTML Improvements under Search Appearance in GSC

Under HTML Improvements tab you’ll see the following:

1. Meta description HTMT improvements

  • Duplicate meta descriptions
  • Long meta descriptions
  • Short meta descriptions

2. Title tag

  • Duplicate title tags
  • Long title tags
  • Short title tags

3. Non-indexable content

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

No HTML improvements are required
No HTML improvements are required

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:

HTML Improvements in Google Search Console
HTML Improvements in Google Search Console

Generally, 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 descriptions, and Title tags 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.

Links to Pages having Duplicate Meta Descriptions
Links to Pages having Duplicate Meta Descriptions
Pages with Short Meta Description
Pages with Short Meta Description

Tools to Find Duplicate Meta Tags

There are a few tools that you can use to check duplicate meta tags on a website.

#1 Method: Meta Tags Analyzer

Backstory

I wrote this article back in the days when Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) used to show duplicate meta tags under HTML Improvements tab (as shown in screenshots above).

Many of our readers implemented the solution mentioned in this article, but GWT/GSC did not reflect the change with immediate effect. Maybe GWT/GSC had to fetch/crawl those pages again at a periodic interval and only then the status gets updated in GWT.

Many readers raised concern that the status remains unchanged in GWT/GSC even after implementing the solution (read old comments below).

I suggested that if they have implemented the fix correctly they can check the meta tags manually and wait for it gets updated in GWT/GSC.

I believe several readers did that. But what about those who couldn’t check the meta tags manually?

So I come up with this online tool called Meta Tags Analyser to easily analyze meta-tags of webpages.

Since GCS has discontinued the HTML Improvements feature to check meta-tag issues, you can use a meta tags analyser to check the same.

Step by steps process to check duplicate meta tags:

  1. Go to this Meta Tags Analyzer tool.
  2. Copy the paginated page(s) URLs of your website (or other suspected urls).
  3. Enter the URLs in the input box (or paste the copied urls).
  4. Click ‘Check’ button below the input box.
  5. It will take a few moments to show the result.
  6. The result consists of a summary, meta tags-wise, and a detailed report.
  7. Going through the result will give an idea about the pages (urls) with duplicate meta tags, long & short meta-tags, and even the missing meta tags.
  8. Once you know the affected URLs, you can implement the solution accordingly.

#2 Method: Screaming Frog SEO Spider

ScreamingFrog SEO Spider is one of the robust desktop tools that are used for website audits. You can use it to check duplicate meta tags on your website.

Since it is a desktop tool, you need to download and install it on your computer in order to use it.

ScreamingFrog SEO Spider comes in two versions – paid and free.

The free version offers limited features with a crawl limit of 500 URLs. If that limit fulfills your requirement, you’re good to go with the free version itself.

Steps to find duplicate meta tags using ScreamingFrog SEO Spider:

  1. Download and install ScreamingFrog SEO Spider.
  2. Open/launch SEO Spider by clicking the icon on your computer.
  3. Enter your website url in URL input box at top of the SEO Spider app.
  4. Hit Start button next to URL input box.
  5. Once crawling is started, you’ll start seeing the result of crawled pages.
  6. SEO Spider will take some time to complete the crawling of your website depending on the size of website (more pages means more time to be taken by the crawler).
  7. Once crawling is done, you’ll see ‘Completed 100%’ and ‘0 remaining’ at the right bottom of SEO Spider.
  8. Now, click Page Titles tab just below the URL input box to check meta title tags/ page title issues/status. You’ll see all the page title issues like missing, duplicate, long and short page titles (meta title tags) under Overview on the right pane as shown in screenshot below.
  9. Similarly, click Meta Description tab to check meta description issues/status. This time, you’ll see all meta description issues like Missing, Duplicate, long and short meta descriptions under Overview on the right pane as shown in the image below.

Effect of Duplicate Meta-tags on SEO & Why You should fix this

Earlier, meta tags issues used to appear under the tab named – HTML Improvements (in GSC/GWT) that itself explained that your website requires the HTML improvements suggested under that tab.

Further, they (Google Search Console team) also stated under HTML Improvements that

Addressing the following may help your site’s user experience and performance.

Sadly, HTML Improvements feature has been deprecated.

But that does not mean you can afford to have meta tags issues like duplicate, long or short meta tags on your important pages.

Because Google still recommendsCreate unique descriptions for each page on your site

Create unique descriptions for each page on your site
Create unique descriptions for each page on your site

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

While answering a question related to the need for unique Meta descriptions for web pages, 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 important web pages of your site should have a unique Meta description and Title. And duplicate meta-descriptions are not good for SEO of the webpages.

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

Reason: Why does This issue Occur?

Alright! the webpages of your site have duplicate meta tags – either duplicate meta-descriptions or titles or both.

But, what could be the possible reasons for that?

I mean why is it there in the first place, right?

Well, either you have set up duplicate meta-descriptions (and/or titles) manually – statically in the code.

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.

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

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.

Duplicate Meta Tags in Paginated Pages

Duplicate Meta Descriptions

In Yoast SEO plugin, you can set homepage Meta description under Search Appearance > General > Homepage settings.

But the problem is, once you entered a Meta description for homepage (let’s say for https://technumero.com/), this will set the same Meta description for all the paginated pages:

https://technumero.com/page/2/
https://technumero.com/page/3/
https://technumero.com/page/4/

etc.

This will lead to start showing duplicate meta descriptions for paginated pages in the site audit tools.

Duplicate Title Tags (Meta Titles)

Also, there may be duplicate Meta Title tags if you use a fixed text like ‘TechNumero – Unfolding Technologies’ instead of using a title template on homepage Title template.

Similarly, duplicate meta-tags may occur while using Rank Math or All in One SEO Pack WordPress plugin.

Duplicate Meta Tags in Posts/Pages:

The duplicate meta tags in posts/pages can be caused by

  • Manually entering the same meta tags in more than one post/page.
  • Entering ‘fixed text’ instead of meta template in SEO plugin.

So what’s the solution? Let’s see, how can we fix duplicate Meta descriptions and Titles in WordPress.

Solution:  How to fix Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles in WordPress

The duplicate meta tags on posts/pages can be avoided by entering unique meta tags in SEO plugin meta-tag fields of individual posts/pages.

Now I’ll explain how you can fix duplicate tags for pagination or multiple posts/pages using the two most popular WordPress plugins.

#1 Solution using Yoast SEO plugin

1.1 Fixing Duplicate Meta Descriptions

Method 1: (recommended solution for a static homepage and latest posts both)

  • Go to WP Dashboard > Yoast SEO > Search Appearance > General > Homepage settings.
  • Enter Meta Description text, like – This is an example of test meta description for your homepage.
  • Then append the meta description text with a variable called page. You can do that by entering %%page%% at the end of the meta description text as shown below.
  • Adding %%page%% template tag at the end of Meta description will solve the problem of duplicate Meta Descriptions for pagination or multiple paginated pages.
Homepage Meta Description and Title Template - Yoast SEO
Homepage Meta Description and Title Template – Yoast SEO

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 that you’re using as a homepage.

1.2 Fixing Duplicate Meta Title (Title Tags)
  • Go to WP Dashboard > Yoast SEO > Search Appearance > General > Homepage settings.
  • Enter SEO Title text, like – This is an example of a test SEO Title for your homepage.
  • Then append the SEO title text with the page variable. You can do that by entering %%page%%  at the end of the meta description text as shown below.
  • This will fix duplicate meta title (title tags) for paginated pages of your website.

#2 Fix using RankMath plugin

2.1 Fixing Duplicate Meta Descriptions
  • Navigate to WordPress Dashboard > Rank Math> Titles & Meta > Homepage settings.
  • Enter Meta Description text, like – This is test meta description for homepage.
  • Now append the meta description text with a variable called page. You can do that by entering %%page%% at the end of the meta description text as shown below.
  • Doing this will fix the problem of duplicate meta Descriptions for paginated pages.
2.2 Fixing Duplicate Meta Title Tags
  • As explained above for homepage meta description in Rank Math, this time you need to append the Homepage Title with %%page%% variable as shown in screenshot below. And you’re good to go.
Homepage Title and Meta Description in RankMath Plugin
Homepage Title and Meta Description in RankMath Plugin

Conclusion

Meta tags are important for good On-Page 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 descriptions or titles, 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.

You might like reading:

Here’s Why You Must Use Higher Conversion Keywords!
How to Create and Edit WordPress htaccess File
A Unique way to Auto Add Dynamic Year in WordPress Post Titles
Tips to Optimize YouTube Videos for Huge Targeted Traffic

Photo of author
Shashank Singh
Shashank Singh is a web addict and amateur blogger. His current interests include blogging, SEO, and WordPress. See his social profiles to know him even better.
Disclaimer: Affiliate links of some product(s) are being used on this page, if you follow the link and make a purchase, we may receive compensation from respective companies. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you.

39 thoughts on “How to Fix Duplicate Meta Descriptions and Titles in WordPress”

  1. Avatar of Rohit Aggarwal

    Hello Shashank,
    Thanks for this information.
    Finally I could solve the problem of duplicate title tags and meta description on my blog.

    Reply
    • Hi Rohit,
      Really glad that I could help.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  2. Avatar of Sasa Kovačićek

    Hi! Thanks for nice article!
    I cant do solution number one, because I don’t have meta description field in Yoast… possibly premium feature only?

    I did second solution, no results. Also, its strange – Google says that i have more than 6000 pages with duplicate meta description, but when I check, its only homepage with 30 paginated archive pages…?
    Can you help please…?

    Reply
    • Hey Sasa,
      Thank you for appreciation.
      Firstly, setting Meta Descriptions is not a premium feature in Yoast SEO. And it seems like you’re using some plugin (like quiz plugins) which creates sub-archives of slug of post/page. Look for solutions around that plugin.
      Looking forward to listen more from you! Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  3. Avatar of Rickard Svärd

    Hi Shashank Singh, I cannot change anything in the tab Homepage of Titles & Metas – Yoast SEO, when I have static front page. Do you know why?
    It seems that you can do it. Is there any settings for this?
    Best regards
    /Rickard

    Reply
    • Hey Richard,
      That’s strange. Never faced any issue of Meta Des. Setting even with static front page setup.
      Try re-installing the plugin. Or check-out with Yoast team if some other plugin (you have installed) is the reason of conflict.
      Thanks for dropping by.

      Reply
  4. Avatar of Saviour

    I’m very grateful Singh. That fixed my issue.

    Reply
    • Hey Saviour,
      Glad that I could help.
      Thanks for dropping by.

      Reply
  5. Avatar of Farha Pengedar Shaklee

    How long to see the effect? Is it immediate? or we need to submit to sitemap again and wait?

    Reply
    • Hey Farha,
      It took some time depending upon when Google bots crawl the meta tags of affected pages. If you have applied the fix, duplicated pages warning will eventually go away. However, you can try speed that up by re-submitting sitemap. Looking forward to listen more from you. Thanks for dropping by.

      Reply
  6. Avatar of Sue

    Thanks you sir. Your method fixed the issue of duplicate meta descriptions.
    You save my time.

    Reply
    • Hey Sue,
      Glad that you found it useful.
      Thanks for dropping by.

      Reply
  7. Avatar of Anis

    I’m very grateful Singh. That fixed my issue.

    Reply
    • Hey Anis,
      I’m glad that you found it useful.
      Thanks for dropping by.

      Reply
  8. Avatar of Rajkumar

    Hi Shashank,
    I tried first method. Do we need to add %%page%% in Homepage meta description or Page meta description.
    Best regards,
    Rajkumar

    Reply
    • Hey Rajkumar,
      %%page%% attribute is to be added in Homepage meta description template. You can see the screenshot indicating the same as well.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Rajkumar

        Thanks Shashank Singh.

        Reply
  9. Avatar of Harjeet Sharma

    Thank you for this information, I have searched a lot but didn’t find the satisfactory answer.

    Reply
  10. Avatar of Akash

    Hi Shashank
    I implemented Method 1 and 3 both on my blog, resubmitted the sitemap. But still see duplicate Meta Description in “HTML Improvements”, can also see Last updated date after I made the suggested changes. Should I wait more or try something else, please suggest.

    Reply
    • Hey Akash,
      It takes some time. However, you can always manually check whether Meta descriptions have changed. If the manual check indicates that changes to meta tags are applied, you do not need to worry much about HTML Improvements. That will eventually start reflecting there as well.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  11. Avatar of Syed Ali Shozab

    Hello Sir,

    Google Webmaster Tools show Pages with Duplicate Meta Descriptions:
    exmple.com/page/12/
    exmple.com/page/2/
    exmple.com/page/7/
    exmple.com/page/6/ etc

    I’m use SEO by Yoast 7.2 2018. How can solve this error?
    Can you help me please?

    Reply
    • Hey Shozab,
      Meta description template of your site seems fine.
      Duplicate meta desc error will go away over the period.
      Thanks for dropping by!

      Reply
  12. Avatar of Enrique Pauly

    Dear, I am facing this problem from last 3 months. But I can not find any solution yet. My Search Console shows that Duplicate title tags are 18 and Duplicate meta descriptions are 12. All my pages are Single page and post. Now, what can I do?
    Which method is working well in your site?

    NOTE: In last month I deleted Yoast plugin but now I installed it again.

    Reply
    • Hey Enrique,
      Well, as you have already installed SEO by Yoast plugin, you can simply edit Site Title and Meta Description Template as explained in the above paragraphs of article.
      Hope it helps. Looking forward to hear more from you. Thanks for dropping by!

      Reply
  13. Avatar of Alex Morris

    Hi there,
    Thank you for this post. It has been really helpful in resolving the issue with Duplicate titles and meta tag. I am still getting an issue with duplicate H1 titles though and I am looking to de-index all the subsequent pages like you suggest in Method 3. The only problem is that I don’t seem to have the Tiles & Metas section that you describe in Method 3 – any ideas why? Could it be I need the premium version? I am pretty sure that solution will sort my last problem but I can’t find where to implement it.
    Thank you in advance

    Reply
    • Hello Alex,

      Glad that I could help. No, it’s a feature of the premium version.
      I wanna let you know since Yoast SEO 6.3, the plugin publisher removed this feature of ‘Noindex Subpage of Archive’.
      Thanks for pointing this out, I’ll update the article soon.
      Thanks again for dropping by!

      Reply
  14. Avatar of Sharon Wilhelm

    Thanks for this. Your instructions were easy to follow and a big help!

    Reply
  15. Avatar of John Konstantinou

    Hello,
    I have tried solution number 1. I still seem to be getting duplicate titles, duplicate meta and duplicate h1 for page 2. Am I doing something wrong?
    I would appreciate some guidance.

    Reply
    • Hey John,

      Make sure you have applied the changes correctly. If you already have done that, don’t worry meta tags changes will staring showing in HTML Improvement. Moreover, you can check manually. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  16. Avatar of Swapnil

    Hi Shashank,
    Showing 2 pages with duplicate title tags issue.
    How to solve this issue? Either change name of the page or something you have an idea to solve this.

    Reply
    • Hey Swapnil,

      Follow the step by step instructions in the article. If you face any problem doing that do let us know.
      Looking forward to hearing more from you. Thanks for dropping by!

      Reply
  17. Avatar of Ravindra Ambegaonkar

    Hi Shashank,
    My site is built in HubSpot, where I am facing the same issues.
    1) Duplicate meta for pages 3/4/5/ etc.
    2) Duplicate meta for 301 redirected pages

    Can you suggest a method to implement as there is no plugin such as in WordPress and different pages will keep on creating new content?

    Reply
    • Hey Ravindra,
      I am not sure doing it for HubSpot site. But you can Google it, right!
      Thanks for dropping!

      Reply
  18. Avatar of Navid

    Thanks a lot for valuable info.
    I am having the same issue with “short meta description” but they are 156 words. why I am getting this error?
    Regards,
    Navid

    Reply
    • Hey Navid,
      Google keeps changing meta description length for SERP snippets. So it’s better to stick to safer meta description length (as SEO call it) i.e. 150-160 characters (not words). Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  19. Avatar of Arjun

    I’m using the latest version of Yoast plugin and above option is now not available in this version. Now what we can do with it.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Shashank Singh

      Hey Arjun,
      I have already mentioned in the discussion above that Yoast have discontinued ‘NOINDEX Subpages of archives’ feature. Other than that Method 1 & 2 and set up to avoid duplicate title tags, can be still implemented under Search Appearance > Homepage – Meta description & SEO Title.
      Hope that helps. I will update the article soon.
      Thanks for dropping by!

      Reply
  20. Avatar of Sangam Ramamoorthy

    I have Yoast installed on my site and still do not understand how to fix duplicate meta description and meta title issue. I read this article twice and did not fully understand how to solve the issue. I have 25 pages with duplicate meta description errors.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Shashank Singh

      Hey Sangam,
      Thanks for stopping by!
      In Yoast SEO plugin v12.8. Go to Search Appearance > Homepage > homepage > Meta description and %%page%% at the end of your meta description to fix duplicate meta descriptions. Looking forward to hearing more from you. All the best.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address and website details will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.