I have recently been noticing an intriguing trend when I publish blog posts. When my posts publish, they are automatically tweeted out by a plugin called WordTwit. My posts are always indexed within two to four minutes.
What I am noticing, though, is that my posts are increasingly being indexed with the “?utm_source=rss” parameter, like so:
Within a matter of a few hours, usually 6-8, Google picks up the canonical version of the post and the old drops out of the index. What is intriguing, though, is that I see something different on a mobile device. See this screenshot from my phone:
And yes, the canonical tag is present:
What’s Going On?
I dug into log files to see what is happening from the perspective of Googlebot/Googlbot-Mobile to see if it might provide me a bit of insight.
What I found is that Googlebot Mobile never hit my site. Instead, Googlebot hit my site twice within 10 seconds, though it hit different URLs.
Check it out:
This was at 9:15:15am and 9:15:25am (central time, which is an hour behind my NYC time).
Weirdly, an iPhone device hit the RSS version at 10:02, which I can only presume was someone reading the post on their mobile device:
The above was not Googlebot, however, because it did not come from the 66.249.67 IP range.
Then again at 10:06, Googlebot hit the correct URL:
What I cannot figure out is why the mobile version would show correctly, yet it takes about 6-8 hours for the canonical version to show up in the main index? The only thing I can think of is that the index that is displayed to mobile devices is in a different data center and thus the data takes a while to populate across all the servers. But 8 hours? That seems like a lot.
Now let’s see what happens with those post.
Anyone have other thoughts? Why would Google show the non-canonical version in the regular index for a few hours, yet it shows correctly on mobile?