Google Choosing the wrong canonical urls for products and some categories

Shopify Partner
4 0 0

We switched over to Shopify in June and after a great start with SEO we quickly started getting issues once Google started working its way through the pages on the new site.


The main issue is that google is overriding the user declared canonical with its own google selected one. But its choosing a totally different product, brand, type. This has happened to around 30% of our products and growing everyday. Resulting in less pages being indexed. 




Apart from the page HTML frame the rest of the product details are totally different.

I have noticed that the products in the sitemap are listed as the canonical url ie, 

but there are no pages linking to this url as the site uses urls based on category that it is in.


So software like screaming from an ahrefs reports that are no pages with internal links to the actual canonicalised pages in the whole store.

Anyone else come across this issue?


Replies 9 (9)

Shopify Expert
1011 42 267

The example in your screenshot I think differs from the example URLs in your post.


The URLs in your post happen to a lot of stores. One way product pages that have collections in the URLs, can be reduced is with different internal linking.

What this involves varies per store, but it generally begins with replacing instances of theme code from {{ product.url | within: collection }} to {{ product.url }}. The strategy is about minimizing internal links to /collects/.../products/... URLs. The trickest part to manage this is in the filtering system, which is sometimes unavoidable.

For the example in your screenshot, since they are genuinely different products, it comes down to content on the page. I bet the content is so similar based on the product URLs, which is why Google thinks it knows better. If you want to change this, change the content on each page.

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4 0 2

Hi Josh, I'm the store owner of that used in the original post. Firstly thank you for your reply, it's interesting about removing the collections part in the URL. We do want to use the filtering system so will have to look at ways to do this without causing issues there.


Regarding the product URLs being so similar that Google is thinking they are duplicates, that is not correct. The example in the picture is fairly similar in product name, but very different on page with descriptions. However let me give you another live example that better highlights the issue:




The actual page is a Steam Bath by Dr Hauschka. The Google selected canonical is a body oil by Weleda. There is nothing similar in either of these products!


The other issue I have noticed with Shopify is it doesn't seem to be handling category parameters correctly (unless I'm missing something). Here is an example:




You can see that Shopify is keeping the parameter ?limit=12 in the canonical. In this instance, Google is correctly saying a better canonical is the root collection page without the parameter. Why is Shopify keeping these in? and is there a way to remove these parameters from the Shopify declared canonicals?


1 0 0

Hi - we've been having the same issue and its only happened in the past couple of weeks - same as you.


I don't suppose you are any closer to finding the cause and a solution by any chance? 

4 0 2

Unfortunately not, the number of pages affected is still increasing. I keep requesting them to be reindexed, some of them actually then go through OK, but most don't. Then some new ones get affected.


It's really frustrating because the pages are so different to each other so there has to be a bug with Google somewhere. But of course there's no way to get Google to investigate it!


If I find anything I will let you know. If you find anything, please also update this thread and let me know 🙂

1 0 1

I'm also having the exact same issue and timeline (mid June) Google started selecting wrong canonical, most are entirely different brand or category. its obviously not because of duplicate content. my shopify website is over 4 years old. no new apps or recent theme changes. about 90% of my products are no longer indexed on Google.

4 0 2

Out of interest, what theme are you using? Also @ArchiesForge, what about you? I'm using the Empire theme and wonder if it's something to do with that?

8 0 2

Hey guys


I'm having the same problem except that Google is overriding two of our top 5 products and replacing them with the 'Contact Us' page.


I found this thread on Google's support, it looks like it is a known issue with no timeline to fix. I guess the more people who reply to Google's own thread, the more seriously they will take it, so it may be worth mentioning it there if you haven't already


Please let us know if anyone gets any updates or finds a way to fix it, it's really hurting our sales!




4 0 2

Thanks Heather, that is very helpful. It does seem to be a growing issue so hopefully Google will fix it soon. We're still no closer to finding a solution. I just keep resubmitting the pages in search console in the hope Google will realise it's mistake soon!


I have posted on that Google thread too so hopefully that will help.

17 0 18

Instead of being dependent on Canonical tags to fix everything, it would be far easier if Shopify had a friendlier URL format that could also be adjusted just like something like WordPress can. Sadly you can't blame Google for Shopify shortcomings. I have just started using the included Google feed for shopping ads etc and oh my, can't wait to finish our migration to Woocommerce! FREEDOM!