The canonical URL to our products is
example.com/product-alias in the sitemap, inside
link rel="canonical" etc., and Google picks it up.
Yet from the category pages, we link to our products as
example.com/category-alias/product-alias. It's been like that forever and the website ranks well.
As a result, here's what I see when I go to the Pages report in Google Search Console:
So we got thousands of duplicate pages that are not indexed since they all have a proper canonical. Inspect tool shows that indeed, they are all referred to by category pages only.
Sitemaps: No referring sitemaps detected
Referring page: example.com/category-alias
We're not sure if this is a problem and we should change it.
- On one hand, the website ranks well and if it ain't broken – don't fix it.
- On the other hand, I can see how these 5000 pages can be a waste of the crawl budget, as Google Bot does come back to them relatively often, only to find it's still a duplicate of another canonical
- Or maybe it's a good thing to have Google Bot think we have lots of content and keep coming back?
I'm pretty sure we're missing something.