Google confirms indexing issues with both canonicalization and mobile-indexing

If you have been following our newsletter, you would have seen us reporting on unconfirmed cases of indexing issues around URLs that seem to be dropping out of the Google index. We suspected canonicalization issues with Google and we were right, partially. Google said no only are there canonicalization issues but also issues with mobile-indexing.

It is believed that this started sometime around September 22nd or 23rd when the SEO community began noticing big changes to the search results.

Google’s confirmation. Google said on Twitter via the Search Liaison account, “we are currently working to resolve two separate indexing issues that have impacted some URLs. One is with mobile-indexing. The other is with canonicalization, how we detect and handle duplicate content. In either of these two cases, pages might not be indexed.”

Mobile-indexing issue. Google explained that in some cases it was not indexing pages “if a previously indexed page has gone, it might be the mobile-indexing issue, where we’re failing to select any page at all to index.”

Canonicalization issue. Google also added that it may not index pages “if the canonical issue is involved, URL Inspector may show the URL as a duplicate & the Google-selected canonical will be different from it.” I posted numerous examples of this over here on the Search Engine Roundtable and Google even asked for examples earlier this week.

In short, it looked like in some cases, Google was showing a completely wrong URL for a page or not showing that page at all in its index.

What can you do? Nothing. Google said it will take care of the issue. Google wrote “there’s no action to take with these issues on the part of site owners. So wait it out and hopefully Google will resolve it soon. But this has been lingering on for the past 8-days or so. Google did add “we’ll update this thread as each is corrected.”

Google is sorry. We apologize for the issues here and are working rapidly to resolve them. We’ll update this thread as each is corrected.”

The thread: Here is the thread on Twitter:

Why we care. Many of you have been scratching your heads since September 23rd around these changes in Google search. Now you know, it may have just been a bug with Google and your rankings and traffic will hopefully return when Google resolves the issue.

It can be that your site was impacted by something else and your rankings will not return but at least you know there was some sort of bug on Google’s end around that date.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.

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