So the question is: How do I tell Google that one URL has been changed to another without 301 redirects? I'd rather not use 301 redirects since I've read they can hurt SEO.
I tried resubmitting all the URLs to Google for indexing. I also resubmitted our sitemap. Now, both the incorrect URL AND the correct URL now appear Google search results. Also, we're still getting crawl errors related to the URLs that no longer exist.
I'm not sure why Google is still indexing URLs that no longer exist. They do not appear on our sitemap and there are no links going to them.
Are 301 redirects the only solution to this?