Google explains how to use the Referring Page metric in the URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console
In a recent English Google SEO office-hours session, Google’s John Mueller answered a question related to “Referring Page” in the URL inspection tool.
Here’s the question:
“When using URL Inspection in Search Console on established, highly visible pages, how concerning is it that the referring pages listed are long-retired microsite domains?”
According to Google, the page shown in the “Referring page” section in the URL inspection tool is where Google first discovered the page.
“So in particular, the referring page in the Inspection Tool is where we first saw the mention of your pages. And if we first saw them on some random website, then that’s just where we saw them. And that’s kind of what we list there. It doesn’t mean that there’s anything bad with those pages”, said Mueller.
When should the Referring page metric be used?
According to Google, site owners can use the referring page metric to determine where Google found this page first. In some cases, unwanted pages may be indexed, wasting your crawl budget. Using the “Referring Page” metric you can investigate and understand where Google is finding these URLs.
Here’s what John Mueller said:
“If there are weird URL parameters in there, or if there’s something really weird in the URL where you’re saying, well, Google should never have found this page in the first place, then looking at the referring URL is something that helps you to figure out, where does this actually come from? Is this something that I did? Or maybe some random person on the internet dropped a broken link to my website somehow, and that got picked up? That can help you a little bit to figure out, is it something you need to fix, or is it just the way the internet is?”
Site owners need not be alarmed if the referring pages in the URL inspection tool are from strange/random websites. This is because the referring page simply shows you where Google found the page first. We recommend that you look at the “Internal Links” section of Google Search Console if you want to understand the internal linking structure of pages.
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