Google SearchLiaison tweeted an update about Google’s long running mobile indexing issues. He stated that the main indexing issue is 99% fixed. However the canonical indexing issue remains partially broken, with only 55% of it fixed.

Mobile Indexing Issue

The initial problem that publishers noticed was web pages dropping from the index, with many noticing it happening to website home pages:

This was happening to more than just the home page though. Another symptom of the indexing problem was that  new web pages were taking a long time to get indexed and appear in Google’s index.

Some web publishers reported here and there that a partial fix was to resubmit dropped URLs to Google Search Console, whereupon the dropped URLs would be restored.

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Canonicalization Issue

The second problem affected how Google gave attribution to web pages that had duplicate content. For example, a web publisher might publish an article and a scraper would copy it and create a duplicate.

When a publisher searched for their newly created article Google would show the web page that had infringing content and not the original source of the content.

Others noticed that this was also happening for syndicated content where in the past the original publisher would show. After the canonicalization issue appeared it was the syndicated content that would show and not the original content.

This is how SearchLiaison described the problem on October 1, 2020:

“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. If the canonical issue is involved, URL Inspector may show the URL as a duplicate & the Google-selected canonical will be different from it….”

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Then later he tweeted:

“The issue with canonicals impacted roughly about 0.02% of our index, beginning around Sept. 20 until late yesterday around 4:30pm PT. We’ve since restored about 10% of those URLs and keep reprocessing more.”

Indexing and Canonical Issues Mostly Fixed

Today, October 9th, Google Search Liaison stated that the issues were partially fixed. But the canonicalization problem is still ongoing.

“Update: the mobile indexing was effectively resolved yesterday, with about 99% of the URLs restored. Work on the canonical issue continues, with about 55% of impacted URLs restored.”

These problems have caused a significant disruption for affected publishers.