Launch of Custom URL Paths Impact on Marketing Stream SEO Settings

September 22, 2016 Uberflip Customer Success

Between the period of September 8th and September 30th, some Uberflippers may have noticed a situation that could lead to duplicate Hub content appearing in search engine results. After a detailed investigation, it appears that both source Stream and Marketing Stream URLs were appearing in search engine results as a result of a bug with a major platform update made in September.

On September 8th, we released a major new feature in Customizable URL Paths (CUPs), which allows Uberflippers to deliver content via cleaner and more SEO friendly URLs. This was a huge undertaking and something that had been in the works for years. Customizable URL Paths is now available to all customers to enable via Hub Options > Advanced > Enable URL Paths

(If you're interested in learning more about Customizable URL Paths, check out these best practices for customizing Streams and Items)

What happened after this update was made? For a period of approximately 22 days, all Canonical URLs for Marketing Stream Items were referring (or pointing) to themselves.

Unfortunately, despite extensive quality assurance testing prior to launching CUPs, this problem was not discovered for roughly three weeks following the launch of the feature. Upon learning of the bug, our Engineering team immediately set to work to identify the problem. They were quickly able to determine that CUPs affected the canonical URLs for Marketing Stream Items. Because Marketing Stream Items are in fact the same piece of content (served contextually alongside other content about a topic, industry, or buyer persona) under a different URL, we typically automatically turn on the Canonical URL Meta Tag Stream Option for all Marketing Streams to avoid duplicate content situations. Unfortunately, CUPs caused all Canonical URLs for Marketing Stream Items to point back to themselves, and not the ultimate preferred URL, from September 8th until the issue was resolved on September 30th.

This window is when certain Marketing Stream Items would have been open for indexing by search engines doing periodic crawls. It appears that some were indexed and could have caused duplicate content in search engine results.

Google (and other search engines) should resolve any duplicate content issue on their own as they perform their next next deep crawl updates. However,  that typically happens once every month or so. If you're concerned about the impact this could have on your Hub, you can request that Google remove any Marketing Stream URLs that could have been indexed though Google Search Console with a URL removal request. This should remove any duplicates with in a week at most. 

Because we've already fixed the source of the problem, you also have the choice of requesting that Google crawl your Hub's URLs again via the Fetch as Google Tool.  This may take longer than the URL removal request approach, but should still be faster than waiting for Google to update its search results automatically.

As a best practice, Uberflip's Customer Success Team recommends that you identify the most important pieces of content that you have searchable and to see if any Marketing Stream versions of those pieces are in fact indexed. If you use an SEO tool like MOZ, it can provide you with a detailed report. If you don't have a duplicate content checker, then a manual entry of the Marketing Stream versions of those content pieces will be required to first see if they show up in results. Requests can then be manually submitted through Google Search Console to remove any URLs from results. 

If you have any questions or would like help ensuring that your Hub is set up for search engine success, please contact your Customer Success Coach or Uberflip Support at 1 (888) 694-2936 x 2 or success@uberflip.com

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