A few weeks ago, we reported on cases where Google was misattributing content for select news publishers.
We showed examples of Google showing URLs of large news publishers but those URLs listed were not the source URLs and thus, redirecting from Google’s search results to a completely different URL.
Yesterday, a few weeks after we reported the issue, Google’s Matt Cutts responded to us saying:
In response to URL or site: queries, we occasionally show URLs that would otherwise be canonicalized to a different URL.
What Matt is explaining is that at one point, the URLs in the example set we provided were canonicalized or redirecting to a different URL. Thus Google decided in those cases to show the canonical URL, as opposed to the destination URL. When and why would Google show the source URL versus the canonical URL is unclear but in this case, Google is saying the URLs were indeed a canonical URL and thus listed as such for the queries we provided.
The example in our our original report is still showing the canonical URL. I am not sure when Google will update the result to show the source URL or if for the query, i.e. the site command, it makes sense for the results to show the canonical URL.
For more details, see our original report.