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Google Says Near Duplicate URLs With Canonical Still Can Lead To Wrong URL Ranking

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Google Says Near Duplicate URLs With Canonical Still Can Lead To Wrong URL Ranking

There is an interesting thread on Reddit on a topic we touched on here several times, the topic of Google ranking the wrong version of the URL in Google Search. It all stems back to the URLs you want Google to rank being near duplicate to the URL Google ends up ranking.

The person said on Reddit that Google is ranking the wrong domain name on Google Search, he wrote:

We have UK, CA, and AU domains for many years and Google starts to rank our UK domain for brand name search on Google CA & AU since late May. When inspecting urls in GSC, we found that Google chose canonicals cross domains for a lot of our pages, e.g.

https://www.zazzle.com.au/ (Google-selected canonical: https://www.zazzle.co.uk/)

https://www.zazzle.co.uk/c/business+cards (Google-selected canonical: https://www.zazzle.com.au/c/business+cards)

GSC country setting, hreflang tags, canonical urls, sitemaps, etc., all look correct on each domain. The content is also different.

We couldn’t understand why Google is mixing the three domains and we also don’t see the same issue for our NZ domain. Any help would be appreciated.

John Mueller’s answer is very very detailed here and it stems back to previous answers he has given on this topic specific to near duplicate content confusing Google. Heck this is similar advice from Pierre Far in 2012 when he worked at Google.

Here is what John wrote:

Whats happening here is that these pages are overall significantly similar, so that Google de-duplicates them by indexing a canonical version. However, with the hreflang annotations, the correct URL is still shown in the search results (at least where the hreflang is recognized, etc). You can see this if you search for your company name with ?gl=au as a URL parameter (gl= for country, hl= for language), eg:

https://www.google.com/search?q=companyname&gl=au

One confusing part here is that your page titles use compantyname.TLD. This means the URL shown is the .com.au version, but the title includes .co.uk. You can fix that by changing the page titles to just use Companyname.

Another confusing part here is that Search Console generally reports on the canonical URLs. So if you check the performance reports there, it will show you the clicks, impressions, rankings on the .co.uk version, and it will act like the .com.a version is not indexed, or not getting any visibility in Search (while as you can see with the query, it does get shown). Unfortunately the only way to separate that out in Search Console is to filter by country and assume that these saw the correct country URL version. The same thing happens with the Index coverage report in Search Console.

Despite what Search Console says, the position, impressions, and clicks of these URLs will be fine. They will appear the same way as if the actual URL were also selected as canonical. There’s no ranking disadvantage to things being indexed like this — and there’s an advantage of there being fewer URLs that need to be crawled & refreshed across your sites (faster inventory updates, etc).

If you wanted to change the indexing / canonicalization here, you’d have to make sure that the pages are significantly different, not just a bit different. Given that the search results would essentially be the same, I don’t know if that’s really worthwhile for you — at least it probably wouldn’t be an urgent prolem to solve.

How is that for a detailed and super useful response?

Forum discussion at Reddit.

Source: www.seroundtable.com

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SEARCHENGINES

Daily Search Forum Recap: July 23, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google will not deprecate third-party cookies in Chrome, after delaying this process numerous times. Google Ads Editor version 2.7 is now out. Google Ads has a new Sitelinks interface. Google is testing larger sitenames and favicons. Google Search is showing video descriptions generated using A Overviews.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Won’t Deprecate Third-Party Cookies In Chrome


    Google has decided not to deprecate, do away with, third-party cookies in Chrome. This is something Google has been planning and testing for a while, delaying the efforts numerous times, and now ultimately deciding to scrap those efforts.

  • Google Ads Editor Version 2.7 Is Now Out


    Google has released version 2.7 of the Google Ads Editor. This new update brings a number of new features and also deprecates a number of features. New features include AI-generated assets, account level content label exclusions, account-level negative keywords and more.

  • Google Search AI Overviews Video Descriptions


    Google Search is testing using AI Overviews to provide video descriptions in the Google Search results. When you click to expand some videos, Google may overlay the video and its description directly in the search results. And that description may read, “AI overviews are experimental,” which means the description was adapted by Google Gemini.

  • Google Tests Larger Sitename & Favicons


    Google is testing larger sitenames and favicons again. You can see a considerably larger font used for the sitename (the link in the Google search result snippets) and a larger favicon being tested in the search results.

  • New Google Ads Sitelinks Interface


    Google Ads has a new sitelinks interface, and functionality, for Performance Max campaigns. The new recommended sitelinks features are rolling out, plus there is a new numbered layout for the sitelinks.


  • Google Soda


    Here is a photo of two cans of drinks, maybe soda or some other energy drink, that is branded with the Google Innovator logo and name. I found this on Instagram and thought it was unusual enough to share here.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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SEARCHENGINES

Daily Search Forum Recap: July 22, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google is testing new link citations in the AI Overviews. Google is also testing saving AI Overviews for later. Google is showing some AI-generated images in some knowledge panels. Microsoft Advertising is rolling out new brand lists in Performance Max. Bing is testing related searches at the top.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Tests Link Icon Citations For AI Overviews


    Google is also testing link icons in the AI Overviews to show citations for statements generated in the AI Answer. These links, when clicked, will take you to an overlay window that shows those links in a search result format page. No, clicking the link icon will not take you directly to the source but you will see the search result snippet.


  • Google Testing Save Button For AI Overviews


    Google is testing the ability to save your AI Overviews to your Google Interests section. If you are opted-in to labs in Google, and you see AI Overviews, at the bottom of the AI Overview, you may see a new “Save” button.

  • New Microsoft Advertising Brand Lists For Performance Max Campaigns


    Microsoft Advertising is rolling out brand lists for Performance Max campaigns. “Brand lists allow greater control over brand image and ad visibility, including the brands you don’t want your ads to be associated with,” Microsoft wrote in its help documentation.

  • Google Knowledge Panels Using AI-Generated Images


    Google is showing AI-generated images in some of the knowledge panels they show in Google Search. Google is not creating these images; they come from images on third-party sites. And honestly, I kind of like it, at least in some cases.

  • Bing Tests Related Searches At Top – Below Search Bar


    Bing is testing placing the related searches at the top of the search results page, directly under the search bar. The searches are exactly what you would see in the bottom but in a different format at the top.

  • Google Wooden Hive Tree


    I don’t know what this is, but I spotted this photo at the Google office in Kirkland, Seattle. It looks like some sort of wooden art, maybe of a tree, maybe of some hive, I am not sure.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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SEARCHENGINES

Billions Of Google goo.gl URLs To 404 In The Future

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Google Lazer Bounce

Google announced that it will stop serving the Google URL Shortener, so any URL that was set up to redirect using goo.gl, which Google stopped supporting adding new ones back in 2019, will also stop serving.

Starting August 23, 2024, goo.gl links will start displaying an interstitial page for a percentage of existing links to notify users that the link will no longer be supported after August 25, 2025 prior to navigating to the original target page. Then after August 25, 2025, the link will then 404 and not redirect to the right destination URL.

So any redirects you have pointing to your site using goo.gl Google’s service, will die and not be counted.

As Glenn Gabe noted on X, that means billions of URLs on the web will simply vanish and begin to 404. Glenn shared how Majestic knows of 3.6 billion goo.gl links 36 billion historical links in its database.

This is the Interstitial page shown for some goo.gl links starting on August 23, 2024:

Goog Gl Links No Longer Work

Here is the Majestic report from Glenn Gabe:

Majestic Goog Gl

Google wrote:

Over time the percentage of links that will show the interstitial page will increase until the shutdown date. This interstitial page should help you track and adjust any affected links that you will need to transition as part of this change. We will continue to display this interstitial page until the shutdown date after which all links served will return a 404 response.

Note that the interstitial page may cause disruptions in the current flow of your goo.gl links. For example, if you are using other 302 redirects, the interstitial page may prevent the redirect flow from completing correctly. If you’ve embedded social metadata in your destination page, the interstitial page will likely cause these to no longer show up where the initial link is displayed. For this reason, we advise transitioning these links as soon as possible.

Note: In the event the interstitial page is disrupting your use cases, you can suppress it by adding the query param “si=1” to existing goo.gl links.

Is this a pain for any of you? I personally won’t be asking anyone with goo.gl links to update them for me.

Forum discussion at X and WebmasterWorld.



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