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Question Google selected canonical is wrong

S

ScorpioTiger

New Member
It seems that Google has taken it upon itself to second guess the metadata it's given and has gotten it very wrong. We have half of our site not indexed, including the most critical product category pages because Google thinks women's jewellery is close enough to men's jewellery that it'll make the men's category pages the canonical for the women's category pages. We have the canonical set to self for each of the pages concerned as each is unique content. The URLs are obviously unique as are the titles, meta descriptions, breadcrumbs, and other page content. We want people to find the correct page if they search for "women's necklaces" versus "men's necklaces". How can we fix this?

Screenshot: hxxps://ibb.co/KzpC5tS
 
T

theteamplayer

New Member
Established Memeber
that's an easy fix. cross your fingers and wait or force google to re-index those pages by adding content to them. have you heard of skyscraper pages? 2,000 words should bump it up. and content creation if cheap right now, so maybe add more content throughout your sites?
 
S

ScorpioTiger

New Member
There has to be a better answer than cross your fingers and wait..!

The pages concerned are product category pages. They are intended to present the user with products for each category; in the example given women's necklaces, and men's necklaces. It's simply not appropriate, nor desirable to pack these pages with thousands of words of content. That isn't what these page are. I can't believe that we're the only ones facing this issue. Every e-commerce site out there has product category pages where in many cases there are pages that are similar, but certainly not duplicates; "Used Toyotas" and "Used Mazdas", "Houses for sale" and "Houses for rent"; there are numerous examples where there is a significant semantic difference between pages that needs to be maintained.

What are others doing?
 
Community

Community

Administrator
Staff member
Established Memeber
Are these pages totally unique and have their own well sculptured content for example good, engaging, unique category descriptions above and below the product listings ?

Or are they categories which have a list of products, with a unique title and meta description but nothing else unique other than different products ?

Also what else are you alllowing to be indexed ? Tags, filters, paginated pages ? Or are you simply allowing categories and products ?

I assume what your allowing to be indexed is also represented in your sitemap ?
 
S

ScorpioTiger

New Member
Are these pages totally unique and have their own well sculptured content for example good, engaging, unique category descriptions above and below the product listings ?

Or are they categories which have a list of products, with a unique title and meta description but nothing else unique other than different products ?

Also what else are you alllowing to be indexed ? Tags, filters, paginated pages ? Or are you simply allowing categories and products ?

I assume what your allowing to be indexed is also represented in your sitemap ?
We don't have textual content on the product category pages. We have breadcrumbs (including structured data),then for each product we have the product images (with unique filenames and alt text),product name, and price (all complete with structured data). Apart from a couple of unisex products that appear on both men's and women's pages, the products are unique, though of course many words are common across men's and women's (for example "necklace" or "silver" when it's a category page for women's necklaces or men's necklaces),and I can't see any way around that. We have unique page titles and meta descriptions for each category page.

We don't make use of tags as it's not overly relevant for us given our relatively small number of products; categorisation is sufficient from a user experience perspective. For the same reason we don't have layered navigation. We do have some product categories that run to multiple pages and it's paginated such that Google can follow (ie; no infinite scroll or anything tricky).

Our sitemap includes each of the product category pages and each page has it's canonical set to itself.

I'm at a loss as to what to do here. We could stop selling men's jewellery so that the women's pages get indexed, but why should we have our business dictated to in that way by Google? And what's to stop Google then deciding that women's earrings and women's rings are the same thing? Clearly something about how Google Search works is broken.

Is there any way that I can get Google to thoroughly re-index our site and possibly correct what might have been a bug in existence at the time it was indexed and these canonicals defined?
 
Community

Community

Administrator
Staff member
Established Memeber
It's tricky to advise properly without being able to see it, but from what you are saying i would say that there is a possibility the pages are not unique enough to offer enough value or difference between the two.

If you are also allowing paginated pages to be self canonicals, personally I prefer to canonical the first page or the "view all page" of a paginated series but still allow indexing and following on the inner pages.

To me it sounds like you have alot of URL's which offer the same thing, even if they product listings are unique to each page, google will likely see a "thin" content page which is a bunch of images and links to a product page.

but like I say its difficult to say for sure without being able to see the site, ever ecommerce site in my opinion needs a different strategy, there is no blanket coverage or best practice.
 
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