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Strange situation in Google index. We're running Magento with two store-fronts on different domains. Somehow Google index is displaying some pages from one store as belonging to the correct store but also the other. So for example:

Correct: http://www.alocalprinter.co.uk/placemats

Incorrect: https://www.just-printing.co.uk/placemats

Visiting the incorrectly indexed URL gives a 404 as expected. Fetch as Google also correctly shows it not available (these appear in the crawl error report). However, looking at the cached copy shows the page from the other store. The cached copy has the correct URL and the cached canonical tag is correct. The incorrect page has never been in the just-printing sitemap or linked anywhere because it's an invalid URL that would (should!) always have given a 404.

Does anyone have a clue how this could have come about?

We can remove these invalid URLs but I'm trying to understand how this has happened. We switched the just-printing site to HTTPS in the last 10 days, but it would appear these incorrect URLs have been in the index since at least the start of 2017.

The only thing I can think of is that at some point Magento served the alocaprinter page to GoogleBot, but with a just-printing canonical link - which would be a worry given Magento auto-generates most of the canonicals!

P.S. I've read through similar questions/answers but none seem to address this issue.

  • This generally happens when your virtual host is not setup correctly or the web host does some changes that causes a temporary glitch that causes websites to be viewed on other domains. This issue is rather common than you would expect and affects a lot of domains, especially those on shared hosting platforms. Canonical links doesn't necessary block duplicate pages being indexed, it just helps Google know which to reward. – Simon Hayter Jul 11 '17 at 12:20
  • Thanks for the response Simon. Both "sites" are in fact the same single Magento site just with the domains dictating which storefront is shown. For this to have happened, something must have gone wrong with SetEndIf rules that tell Magento which store to run based on the domain. Are you aware of Apache glitching like this? – Adam Lavery Jul 11 '17 at 13:08
  • It would make sense to put "301 permanent" redirects in place for the incorrect URLs to get visitors over to the correct URLs. – Stephen Ostermiller Jul 11 '17 at 13:31

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