Problems with canonical

My homepage ( is not getting indexed by Google.

I have looked at the Google Search Console and it says that the User Delared Canonical is :

I have absolutely no idea what this site is - but it’s clearly causing issues.

I can’t find where it’s defined (It’s not in .htaccess)

Where can Google be getting this info from

Any ideas anyone ?

Thank you

Hey @jbob,

Could you post a screenshot of what Google SC says exactly about that site? On first glance, there is no relation between the two sites.

On an unrelated note, the email button on your website is broken - it does open a new composer window, but there’s no TO: address included in that button’s URL.


Thank you Erwin - this one really has me stumped : )


Yep - it says it’s “user declared” … but I can assure you it’s not

It’s either Google trying to do something clever in making that my Canonical home page … or it’s a bug / virus of sorts ??

Well spotted - thank you !!

If I search for this name “fradown” on the internal site search (under the ‘in the press’ menu) … google finds it, relating to the problematic home page. But I have no idea where this reference has come from - nor how to get rid of it : ?

Hi @jbob,

Your sitemap_zz.xml lists as an article, while that article doesn’t exist.

Google tries to index that article because you tell it to in your sitemap, and for some reason it finds that it’s spammy content that looks similar (to it) to

Clean up the sitemap_zz.xml file and the problem should go away.


Excellent answer Erwin - very interesting !!

I might however be getting out if my depth a little : )

Yes, the sitemap_zz.xml appears to include not just blog entries, but also ‘tags’ for blog entries. This is just a tag. I will look at how I’m generating the sitemap - perhaps there’s a method to create a simpler sitemap list

Thank you very much for your kind help Erwin !!


I’m thinking perhaps this is malware - can anybody help, I need to scan for this injected code - if that’s what it is

I don’t think it’s malware.

What you could do, is to create a page in your project manually with the sam address as the phantom page, and then include either a 301 redirect to the actual Jelik article or a canonical link to the actual Jelik article in the new page’s HEAD section:

<link rel="canonical" href="" />

The next time Google crawls your site, it will notice the change and reflect it in the search results. The message in GSC will go away then.


The plot thickens …

On an iPhone … the homepage redirects to after some seconds


Could you disable the news item notifications that show on the home screen and see if the redirect still happens?


Good idea - will try !!

Now it’s redirecting to

if I google that - it is coming up with virus stuff

OK, so to recap:

  • There is something inserting 301’s into your page
  • This only works when looking at your website on a smartphone
  • It only triggers after a few seconds

The main suspect is one of the plugins that you’re using. Perhaps the Mailchimp pop-up or the news item notifications.

I’d remove these until the redirect stops, then add one after the other until it reappears. You’ll have your culprit then, and can decide on what to do with it.


Thanks Erwin !!

Quite an education

Thank you Erwin

I duplicated the homepage (for reference) and then deleted questionable elements

No redirects so far and Search Console shows no user specified canonical

I may add some bits back in once the page has been successfully indexed

Thank you so much for your help !!


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Hi Erwin - just wanted to say thanks again. Managed to get the malware gone and fixed the redirect and also (gradually) my google visibility. Thank you !! Jol

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No problem!

Did you manage to find out what the malware was?


It was weather code - reporting conditions for sailing in the locality.

Hey Erwin - I have another dumb question for you - if I may …

Is indexed according to search console and Google seems to like it. Problem is, it doesn’t exist. Search console also seems to remember things that have long ago been removed. It’s not very straight forward to use - and I guess the fast that you must wait to see the results of your tinkering makes it all the harder to get your head around : )

Any ideas regarding the above address, Jol