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I have a Wordpress site that I have set up with Google Fetch and I have been getting a bunch of crawl errors and it has started significantly hurting my Google ranking and site traffic even though it clearly says it shouldn't. The thing that doesn't make sense to me is that the 404 pages are not actually pages that exist. They are Tags and categories on my blog mixed with a site address from one of my other websites that is not actually associated with this blog at all. They are different domains/databases and everything so they shouldn't be connected.

The site was actually giving me the same problem a few weeks ago and I actually switched to a new theme because I noticed the one I had was out of date and thought maybe it was throwing a random error. But now, I have no idea why this would even happen or where Google would come up with this URL.

Here are a few examples:

  • www.whenlovegrows.com/tag/lactose-free-food/www.deannemroz.com
  • www.whenlovegrows.com/tag/crescent-dogs/www.deannemroz.com
  • www.whenlovegrows.com/tag/turkey-dogs/www.deannemroz.com

Basically any time I add a new tag it seems that Google is crawling it and then adding my other site's web address to the end and claiming it is a 404 page. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this? Is there some way I can help it?

Any insight would be much appreciated. I am at a loss as to how to fix this and it is becoming extremely frustrating since it is affecting my ranking.

  • Those URLs look like the result of a malformed/relative link on the tag page, since you do link to that other site on every tag page. For instance, if you linked to www.example.com instead of http://www.example.com then you would get this result. However, I can't see anything erroneous on those pages? Except that you link to www.example.com, whereas the site redirects to example.com - so this should be corrected. Where is Google reporting that these URLs are linked "from" - that should give you a big clue? – MrWhite Dec 8 '15 at 23:37
  • "...that I have set up with Google Fetch" - what "Google Fetch" is this? (I'm only aware of the "Fetch as Google" tool within Google Search Console, but this isn't something you "set [a site] up with"?) – MrWhite Dec 8 '15 at 23:38
  • The problem might have been with your old theme and is now "fixed". (?) However, Google is likely to remember these erroneous URLs for "a while", so will continue to report their 404 state. Checking where these URLs are linked from (as mentioned above) should help clarify this. – MrWhite Dec 9 '15 at 0:02
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    Thank you for your help. After writing this, I noticed that you are right it is linking from the tag page and then the first link in the sidebar was actually showing the link google was finding so I fixed it, but I was still receiving these errors in Google Fetch. I didn't realize that Google Fetch kept reporting these pages for a while. I will have to see if it clears up in the next few weeks. Thank you again! – Deanne Mroz Dec 9 '15 at 12:37
  • The "Crawl Errors" report (which is where I assume you are seeing these 404's reported, rather than the "Fetch as Google" tool) might report these crawl errors for "a while" (read: unknown length of time!), so a "few weeks" might not be long enough to see these reported errors disappear. However, these are genuine 404s, so if you are confident you have resolved the problem that lead Google to find these erroneous URLs in the first place (which you seem to have done) then there is nothing to worry about. – MrWhite Dec 9 '15 at 19:24
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Those URLs are consistent with a malformed/relative link on the tag page (which appears to have been the case). Every tag page links to that particular external site.

If the URL in the anchor was of the form www.example.com (ie. missing a protocol and not starting with a slash), rather than absolute http://www.example.com, then it will be seen as relative to the current document and result in the URLs that Google found.

To help track down erroneous URLs, you can click on the URL in the "URL Errors" report and then on the "Linked from" tab to see from which pages the URL is being linked from.

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