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In my Webmaster Tools console I can see that Google tries to access very strange URLs, receiving a 404.

For example: http://www.example.com/vacanze-hotel.html/vacanze-parchi/vacanze-sicilia-villaggi/vacanze-offerte/vacanze-parchi/vacanze-toscana-villaggi/vacanze-piemonte-villaggi/vacanze-liguria-villaggi/vacanze-marche-villaggi/vacanze-emilia-romagna-villaggi/vacanze-basilicata-villaggi/vacanze-campania-villaggi/

It's a very long URL indeed! and it's not listed in any sitemap.xml, or linked from anywhere in my site (I suppose! it's a very big site)

What could make Google search that strange URL?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It is linked to somewhere otherwise Google wouldn't be visiting it. Looks like a configuration problem somewhere on your website. Just because you can't see the link doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I'd suggest crawling your site with Screaming Frog to identify what is linking to this URL or if it appears in Google Webmaster Tools, it will also display what pages link to the URL.

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It does not appear as an incoming link in WMT, and I did a scan with screaming frog: it does not appear. however maybe it could be useful to know to know that it's not the only url giving this problem. There are 31 with the same shape. Could it be referenced by another site and not appear in WMT ? –  Vecchia Spugna Feb 27 at 15:15
    
Yes. If the site isn't internal, then its coming from an external source and not yet showing in Google Webmaster Tools. Try ahrefs for a check on it. –  zigojacko Feb 27 at 15:22
    
no results. Will my reference appear also if its response is 404? could it be preferrable to transform it in a 200 response, so I can debug it? –  Vecchia Spugna Feb 27 at 15:25
    
Won't matter what response it returns. Google Webmaster Tools is your best bet in this instance as it is Google indexing the URL's. Maybe the problem was only temporary and is in fact now resolved. –  zigojacko Feb 28 at 13:23
    
none of the answers resolved my issue, that remains a mistery. I accept this one because it made me discover two very useful tools –  Vecchia Spugna Feb 28 at 15:01

"I can see that Google tries to access very strange URLs" << Where do you see this? In the Not Found crawl errors? If so, you should definitely be able to see which page links to them.

View the source code to see if you can find these broken links, or even a part of the links (such as "vacanze-hotel") because they might be being generated dynamically.

You'd better not convert it to a 200 if it's not being linked to from anywhere.

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no, i'm not able. I have only the error tab, not where it's linked from –  Vecchia Spugna Feb 28 at 7:56

I have noticed these kinds of things before for mys sites as well. Do not rely on Google WMT as the be all end all list of inbound links. Do check your own link structure and site to make sure you do not have a mistake. If all appears okay, then something else is going on.

Here is what I figured out.

Content spammers still exists in Russia, Poland, and China, amongst others. If Google sees a link, it will queue it to to follow. These content spammers use software that will do strange things like make links such as yours. I have seen similar requests for my site. It was a result of a spam site in Russia with strange links. I would just let it 404 error if there is not harm in it. Google will figure out the link is invalid in time. These spam sites change so often that more of these types of links may appear, but the sites disappear as quickly as they appeared. They tend to be hit and run sites. If there is no harm, just let it be and don't worry about it. Otherwise you may need to create some sort of intercepting regex in your .htaccess file (assuming Apache) and handle the bad requests as you find them.

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