Parameters are additional query strings which follow the main URL for a page, typically contained after a question mark. Multiple parameters can be used within a single URL, which can impact a website in several ways, including causing duplicate content and crawling issues. Our Hangout Notes feature common problems seen with parameter handling, with recommendations from Google.

Google Will Read the URL String Contained After the Query Parameter

July 12, 2019 Source

If you are using a ? query parameter, Google will read the remaining URL string and it is not something which blocks crawling or indexing. However, they will drop anything following a # parameter.

The URL Parameter Tool in GSC is Still Effective

May 17, 2019 Source

Despite not currently being moved over to the new Search Console, the URL parameter tool is still effective to manage parameter crawling.

Replace Unnecessary URL Parameters with Fragment Identifiers

March 19, 2019 Source

John recommends replacing unnecessary URL parameters with fragment identifiers because anything after the # is usually dropped for indexing, whereas parameter URLs can be indexed separately.

Use gl or hl Parameters in Google Search URLs to See Rankings for Different Countries

February 22, 2019 Source

You can use gl= or hl= parameters or use the advanced settings in Google to see rankings for different countries and languages. This doesn’t work for local results as there isn’t a parameter for this.

Internally Linked Parameter URLs Might be Indexed Even if Canonical Points to Clean Version

February 19, 2019 Source

When using parameter URLs for internal linking, it isn’t always guaranteed that the clean version of the URL be indexed if there is a canonical tag to this version. This is because Google has to weigh up which URL should be shown in search.

Don’t Use URLs That Change on the Fly

November 27, 2018 Source

If URLs change on the fly to include session IDs, for example, this will cause Google to spend more resources on crawling duplicate content. This will also cause confusion around choosing the right canonical page.

Geotargeting Can’t be Applied to Language Versions Which Are Split Out Using Parameters

October 30, 2018 Source

Google is unable to automatically detect and apply geotargeting if different language or country versions of a site are separated out using parameters.

Google Only Crawls Hashed URLs When Unique Content Detected

October 19, 2018 Source

Google doesn’t usually crawl hash URLs unless it has detected over time that there is something unique it needs to pick up from the hashed version.

Use Log Files to Identify Crawl Budget Wastage & Issues With URL Structure

July 13, 2018 Source

When auditing eCommerce sites, John recommends first looking at what URLs are crawled by Googlebot. Then identify crawl budget wastage and perhaps change the site’s URL structure to stop Googlebot crawling unwanted URLs with parameters, filters etc.

Related Topics

HTTPS Site Architecture URL Architecture Subdomains Canonical Domain Facets TLDs Site/Page Quality