Google URL Inspection Tool Referring Page Returns Non-Linked URLs?

Jan 15, 2024 - 7:31 am 2 by

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A year ago, I reported that the Google Search Console's URL inspection tool can show a nofollowed link as the referring page. But it also seems that the URL inspection tool can also show non-linked URLs as the referring page.

At first I thought that maybe the URL was linked to and then the link was removed but Dave Smart also noticed this and said on Mastodon, that the URL inspection tool referring page has done this "for a while." "I guess it makes sense if that is indeed one of the places they found a reference to your URL and used that for discovery," he added.

I posted some examples on Mastodon:

Here is the example of the non-linked reference I found - it is not hyperlinked and the URL has spaces in it as well, so Google picked it up as a 404 since the URL was pasted and broken in the forum thread:

Google Forum Not Link

Here is the Google Search Console URL inspection tool showing this URL as a referring page:

Google Url Inspection Referring Page

Dave Smart also shared an example, here is the non-linked URL in a web page:

Non Link Example

Here is the Google Search Console URL inspection tool showing this URL as a referring page:

Google Url Inspection Referring Page2

Glenn Gabe responded to my post saying, "If I'm remembering correctly, Google can pick up links like that for discovery, but obviously not for passing of signals. @johnmu Am I right with that?"

John Mueller from Google said, "We also show nofollow links. (Aside, I thought we auto-link stuff in the forums, but perhaps that has changed over the years)."

So John implied that maybe the link was a real hyperlink as some point?

Have you seen this?

Forum discussion at Mastodon.


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