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Google’s John Mueller On 404ing or Using Rel Canonical On URL Parameters

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Google Search Testing Double Site Name & URL In Snippets

There is an interesting response from John Mueller of Google on what to do with URLs that may appear duplicated because of URL parameters, like UTMs, at the end of the URLs. John said definitely don’t 404 those URLs, which I think no one would argue with. But he also said you can use the rel=canonical because that was what it was made for. The kicker is he said it probably doesn’t matter either way for SEO.

Now, I had to read John’s response a couple of times on Reddit and maybe I am interpreting the last part incorrectly, so help me out here.

Here is the question:

Hello! New to the community but have been in SEO for ~5 years. Started a new job as the sole SEO manager and am thinking about crawl budget. There are ~20k crawled not indexed URLs compared to the 2k that are crawled and indexed – this is not due to error, but due to the high number of UTM/campaign specific URLs and (intentionally) 404’d pages.

I was hoping to balance out this crawl budget a bit and removing the UTM/campaign URLs from being crawled via robots.txt and by turning some of the 404s into 410s (would also help with overall site health).

Can someone help me figure out if this could be a good idea/could potentially cause harm?

John’s 404 response:

Pages that don’t exist should return 404. You don’t gain anything SEO-wise for making them 410. The only reason I’ve heard that I can follow is that it makes it easier to recognize accidental 404s vs known removed pages as 410s. (IMO if your important pages accidentally become 404s, you’d probably notice that quickly regardless of the result code)

John’s canonical response:

For UTM parameters I’d just set the rel-canonical and leave them alone. The rel canonical won’t make them all disappear (nor would robots.txt), but it’s the cleaner approach than blocking (it’s what the rel canonical was made for, essentially).

Okay, so far, do not use 404s in this situation but do use rel=canonical – got it.

John then explained SEO wise, it probably doesn’t matter?

For both of these, I suspect you wouldn’t see any visible change on your site in search (sorry, tech-SEO aficionados). The rel-canonical on UTM URLs is certainly a cleaner solution than letting them accumulate & bubble out on their own. Fixing that early means you won’t get 10 generations of SEOs who inform you of the “duplicate content problem” (which isn’t an issue there anyway if they’re not getting indexed; and when they do get indexed, they get dropped as duplicates anyway), so I guess it’s a good investment in your future use of time 🙂

So Google will likely handle the duplicate URLs, the UTM parameters anyway, even if they do index them. But to make SEO consultants happy, use the rel=canonical? Is that what he is saying here? I do like that response, if that is his message – but maybe I got it wrong?

Forum discussion at Reddit.

Source: www.seroundtable.com

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Most SEOs Won’t Recommend Using AI To Write Content

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Ai Guy

A new Twitter poll shows that most SEOs do not yet feel comfortable recommending using AI to write client content. The poll asked, “Would you recommend using an AI writer to your clients?” Most SEOs said no.

Mordy Oberstein posted this poll on Twitter and there were over 600 votes. About 66% said no, they would not recommend an AI writer to their clients, the rest said yes, they would recommend an AI writer.

Here is the poll:

Do you think this poll is representative of the SEO industry?

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Google Layoffs, DOJ Sues Google, Search Console Content Ideas & Google Optimize Going Away, Yahoo Search Comeback

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Google Layoffs, DOJ Sues Google, Search Console Content Ideas & Google Optimize Going Away, Yahoo Search Comeback

As I mentioned briefly last week, Google announced mass layoffs last week, and I discuss what I know so far about it. There are also reports that Google is pushing advertisers to use third-party resellers and not their internal staff. The DOJ sued Google again to break up its ad business. Microsoft announced its earnings, showing how Bing’s search ad growth continues to slow. Bing also may have had a search ranking algorithm update. Google Search Console content ideas beta feature may go away in March. Google Search Console Insights has an achievements section. Google confirmed a bug with some preferred languages in Google Search, and they blame mobile-first indexing. Google Ads had an outage on Monday morning that caused huge headaches. Google has no preferences between connected structured data and not connected structured data. Google will parse the image elements even when those elements are enclosed within other elements. Google published a new case study after 18 months, this one from Vimeo on video SEO. Google said generating tons of fake URLs on a site won’t cause SEO issues. Google Business Profiles now supports cars for sale inventory for US dealerships. Bing is testing infinite scroll. Google is testing two justifications in the local results. Google is also testing a new trusted store badge. Bing has a new menu for image search that uses a drop-down and adds explore and collect. Account-level negative keywords are now available on Google Ads. Google will sunset Google Optimize on September 30th. And it seems like Yahoo Search may be making a comeback to Search – that would be exciting. 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.

SPONSOR: This week’s video recap is sponsored by Duda, the Professional Website Builder You Can Call Your Own.

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New Google Trusted Store Badge Test

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Google Store Smile

Google is testing a new design for the trusted store badge in the paid shopping results. The Google Trusted Stores program to all U.S. merchants back in 2012, along with that came a badge in the search results to make those listings stand out.

FYI – here is how to qualify for this trusted store badge.

Brian Freiesleben spotted this new badge the other day and posted a screenshot on Twitter – here is that screenshot:

Google Trusted Store Badge New

Curently, the badge looks more like this version from last year:

click for full size

And the original one looked like this:

Google Trusted Stores AdWords Badge

Brian said on Twitter, “Would love to see Google add this to organic products from trusted merchants as well, but not sure if that’s likely.”

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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