Google bug may select unrelated canonical URLs, could impact indexing

Google tweeted Thursday that it may have selected unrelated canonical URLs for some pages and that breadcrumb trails on mobile might show the unrelated URLs.

It also said that, in rare instances, this could prevent proper indexing.

Here’s the tweet:

Breadcrumbs show a page’s position in the hierarchy of the site and appear under titles in the search results.

Google did not say whether this latest issue is related to the indexing, Search Console report and News bugs that we’ve witnessed over the last few weeks.

What we can do. Google did not offer any actions for webmasters or SEOs to take. But, if you suspect that your pages are affected, you can view the Google-selected canonical URL by heading to your Search Console and entering your page’s address into the URL Inspection tool.

If there’s a better canonical URL than the one that appears, follow the steps on Google’s duplicate URL help page to suggest a new one.

Why we should care. This is the fourth bug that Google has disclosed in April, and it is still resolving issues with Search Console reports, which has some SEOs frustrated over its general lack of reliability as of late.

Although Google was transparent about the existence of an issue, it has yet to provide more useful, detailed information on how the problem is affecting users. Is the bug resulting in incorrect pages on SERPs? Is it showing the correct pages but linking elsewhere? All of this information could be useful for SEOs and webmasters trying to do some damage control.  

About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.

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