Google Drops Info: Command But Has Added Canonical Info To URL Inspection Tool

Mar 27, 2019 - 7:49 am 0 by

Google Canonical

Google has announced they are dropping the info: command, primarily used to tell webmasters which URL Google considers the canonical URL in their index. At least that is what Google has been telling webmasters to use for this purpose for years. Now, you need to have verified access to the site to see such details in the URL Inspection tool.

John Mueller from Google wrote a blog post about what is a canonical URL. Then at the end, they drop this:

We’ve also changed URL Inspection tool so that it will display any Google-selected canonical for a URL, not just those for properties you manage in Search Console. With this change, we’re also retiring the info: command. This was an alternative way of discovering canonicals. It was relatively underused, and URL Inspection tool provides a more comprehensive solution to help publishers with URLs.

Yay and then - oh no!

URL Inspection Tool with Google Selected Canonical URL

So now the URL inspection tool added the ability to see what Google selected as the canonical URL. This is the URL selected by Google as the authoritative version of this page. Other versions can be served in search results, depending on factors such as the user's device type or language. This is not available in the live test, as Google selects a canonical URL only after a page is indexed.

Here is a screen shot:

Google Selected Canonical Url

Google Kills Info: Command

And the second part of the announcement is a by the way, we are dropping support for the info command. Google has been telling webmasters this is the best way to find the canonical URL of any URL in Google's index. Now, you can only know this information if you have verified Google Search Console access.

Google severely limited the info command a couple years ago and now it is just killing the whole thing off because it "was relatively underused."

How long will it take to go away? It is unclear but John Mueller made it sound like soon:

John also wants to hear why SEOs want to keep the info command:

Glenn summed up the main reasons well:

John says Google didn't kill it off because they hate SEOs:

SEOs will adapt, they always do.

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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