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Google Search Console Canonical URL Reporting Bug Resolved

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Robot Canonical Documents Google Logo

From the end of July through just a couple of days ago, Google has had this weird error for some sites in Google Search Console. In short, Google Search Console was reporting the wrong canonical URL for some pages. Yesterday, September 4th, it seemed like Google fixed the issue.

The issue was first reported by Rafael Martin back on August 4th, eventually he wrote it up in detail on LinkedIn. I highly recommend you read his detailed write up.

But in short, Google Search Console was reporting the wrong canonical URL for some pages. The canonical URL is the URL Google says is the main URL for a specific page. So if you have a page like this and you add parameters to it, or you have a mobile version or an AMP version, all with different URLs, you can specify which page you want Google to consider the main URL, not the alternate URL – that is called the canonical URL.

This may have impacted e-commerce-related sites but not all, just some – it is not clear which sites were impacted by this.

Rafael Martin said on August 4th on Mastodon, ” In the GSC, the pages with the most links have radically changed. In my case, I have analyzed the first one with the most links (which, in principle, according to the structure of the site, should not have so many links). I check the pages that link to it, and most of them don’t have a link to it (as example one that is a pdf without any links to there). I don’t get it, it seems that google has mixed up some data and is missing out on search results.”

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He shared these two screenshots documenting the issue:

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He was right, John Mueller of Google actually confirmed the issue yesterday on X after I prodded a bit and he said, “I think there were some weird things for a small number of sites around canonicalization, but not enough to merit making a post. It sounds like things are settling down now.”

Rafael was not just the only person to notice. There was a complaint, at least one, in the Google Webmaster Help Forums and Shaun Anderson also noticed this:

Yesterday, September 4th, Rafael wrote on Mastodon that it was fixed, he said, “Good news!!! I don’t have any G warnings, but by testing it seems that almost everything that affected this problem returns to normal. The videos appear in searches correctly again. The images too. We will wait for the recalculation of More Linked Pages.”

Google did not document the fix on the data anomalies Search Console page, so I asked John if this was on Google’s send. In which he replied, “I think there were some weird things for a small number of sites around canonicalization, but not enough to merit making a post. It sounds like things are settling down now.”

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Shawn added, “Had me REALLY concerned last week. SC Audit data totally incorrect. I’ve now got audits and advice to completely redo.” Rafael also noted, ” I also understand the concern of affected SEOs and the explanations they have to give to their clients who expect results and that, as an SEO professional, not even they know what is happening. More than anything I think they are referring to this. Those of us who have been affected had a huge headache.”

So if you report on these types of elements to your clients, you may want to redo or annotate the issue that started towards the end of July and was fixed around September 4th.

Forum discussion at Mastodon and Twitter.

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Google Writes In Court Document That Search Quality Continues To Improve

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Everything Is Fine Google

Google has posted its post-trial debrief document for the DOJ trial that talks about many different things, including stating that its search quality continues to improve. We covered its statement that Microsoft Bing Search had search quality issues earlier.

Greg Sterling posted about this on X, writing, “Google boldly claims in its “default search” antitrust post-trial brief that search quality has improved, not degraded.”

It is written throughout the document, but here are some clauses:

The undisputed evidence contradicts any assertion that Google has wielded monopoly power by degrading search quality or search ads quality below competitive levels. As Plaintiffs acknowledge, Google is the highest quality general search engine in the U.S. and has been since before Plaintiffs claim it began violating Section 2. FOF ¶ 1081. Google’s search quality has continuously improved over its twenty-five years as a search engine as Google has continuously innovated. FOF ¶¶ 79-106, 112-241, 695-760. And Google unceasingly strives to better its search quality, annually setting goals to improve its search quality as measured by IS score.

Google Court Doc Search Quality

In the introduction paragraphs, Google wrote:

These innovations have greatly improved search quality and powered extraordinary increases in search output—all at no cost to consumers.

The evidence conclusively established that Google is the highest quality, most popular search engine in the United States, with the highest general search engine advertising monetization.

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Google added:

Google’s decision to preserve features that have a positive impact on search quality while offering customizable settings to suit users’ privacy preferences is a reasoned business judgment consistent with a competitive marketplace, not a degradation of product quality that evidences monopoly power.

Google also wrote in this document that the “Barriers to Entry Are Not Significant and Are Falling Rapidly.”

This is worth a read if you have time over the weekend, you can download it over here.

People are asking me what this “IS score” is, well, Danny Goodwin mentioned it over here and it refers to Google’s own internal “information satisfaction” score.

Forum discussion at X.

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Daily Search Forum Recap: March 1, 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 has new structured data carousel beta details for rich results. Google now lets you opt out of place entities in page insights. Google Business Profiles customer interactions updates every few days. Google wrote in a court document that its search quality has improved. Google AdSense has offerwall messages. I posted the weekly SEO video recap as well.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

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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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Google Ranking Volatility, Tons Of Google Bugs, Most Read Articles, Bing Deep Search & Quality & SEOs Not Loving Google

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Google Ranking Volatility, Tons Of Google Bugs, Most Read Articles, Bing Deep Search & Quality & SEOs Not Loving Google

We had two periods of Google Search ranking volatility this week, one last weekend and one on Thursday or so. Google court documents say search quality has improved and not degraded. Google dropped the see more results in the local panel this week for a period of time until it fixed that bug. Google also removed the news tab but that seemed like a bug also and was fixed. Google has a bug with the European hotel/travel results being hijacked. Google also broke the filetype search operator for a while. Google Analytics is seeing a lot of referral spam from Poland. There is new structured data carousel beta details. Google is testing a most-read articles carousel in the search results. Google is also testing popular opinions carousels. Google local panels is testing expandable menus. Google has this reviews disclaimer for “people like.” Google Analytics added new default Google Ads reports. Google Ads Performance Max placement reports to show the search partner network. Google Ads is testing limited by budget status color coding. Google Ads support reps may use Google Translate to chat with advertisers. Microsoft said it will bring back testing of Bing Deep Search. Google said that Microsoft tried selling Bing to Apple but Apple didn’t want it due to quality issues. A survey shows SEOs dislike Google more now than ever. And if you want to help sponsor those vlogs, go to patreon.com/barryschwartz. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Sponsored by BruceClay, who has been doing search marketing optimization since 1996 and also has an amazing SEO training platform.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast player to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed. For the original iTunes version, click here

Search Topics of Discussion:

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Please do subscribe on YouTube or subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!

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