Buck Up, Even Google Screws Up Technical SEO

Google Screws Up Technical SEO

GMB Arab Spring

I am located in the U.S. yet yesterday afternoon when I searched for “Google My Business” in Google, the first result I got was the UK URL for GMB: https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/business/.

It wasn’t like that yesterday morning. So what changed?

A canonical tag.

According to Archive.org, yesterday morning the canonical tag for the URL that usually ranks #1,  https://www.google.com/business/, was https://www.google.com/intl/en_us/business/. But looking at the source of that URL now shows the canonical tag has changed to https://www.google.com/intl/en_ae/business/:

GMB Canonical

I’ll leave it you all to figure out how this set-up confused Google enough so that it had to show me the UK URL instead of https://www.google.com/business/, or why previously Google was ignoring the canonical to the /intl/ URL, or why this morning Google is again showing https://www.google.com/business/ at the top of that SERP even though the AE canonical tag is still there.

My only aim in pointing this out is that while SEO is not always rocket science, it is often tricky.


Famed tech SEO nerd extraordinaire Patrick Stox couldn’t resist digging into the canonicalization issue on Slack.

ohhh, I can answer your last part. The canonical that was https://www.google.com/intl/en_us/business/ is sort of correct, in that the page is a duplicate and the duplicate cluster lead for this is https://www.google.com/business/ so it “technically” pointed to the right page. /business is what is specified in the sitemap for hreflang for en-us and x-default. They likely have a bit of a mess by breaking both duplicate and hreflang clusters that will take some crawling by googlebot to sort out which is why you’re seeing 2 results in your search instead of just 1 that swaps with the right version now.


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