Search Engine War Blog : « Guava has a juicy line up of events this Autumn..... | Twitter or Bitter? which are you? »

Google URL Parameter Handling - a guide and requests

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Yesterday Google launched a new feature called Parameter Handling. Its a variation on a feature that has been available in Yahoo! for quite some time and is a welcome addition to Google Webmaster Tools. Vanessa Fox has a nice writeup on Search Engine Land comparing it to some other options.

You can access Parameter Handling via:
Google Webmaster Tools > Site Configuration > Settings


Paramters

Parameter Handling allows us to remove some name=value pairs from URLs to canonicalise them. This should theoretically have a similar effect to using the canonical tag, except that we as SEOs managing clients Google Webmaster Tools accounts can make the change immediately, benefiting our clients and Google.

At the Web 2.0 Summit 2008 I chatted to Matt Cutts just prior to the canonical tag rollout - he was really excited about it at the time as it was something hed been personally sponsoring. While I am a big fan of the canonical tag, its main failing is that the website developer is still required to implement it. I work on lots of the biggest websites in the UK, and getting a canonical tag change request scheduled, implemented and tested by some IT teams could in some scenarios take 6 months to a year. At the time I chatted to Matt I explained Id really like a more powerful and centrally managed way to control URL parameters (I was thinking bot recognised REGEX and URL rewrites in the Robots.txt) and while Google Parameter Handling doesnt appear to have the full REGEX capabilities Id hoped for it is a good start.


- "Adjust parameters with extreme Caution!!!"
The main usage for this I see is to remove superflous tracking, affiliate and sort strings from URLs, this should have the benefit of channeling the external and internal link weight to your main desired canonical page...nice.

But...be very cautious when removing other parameters, I have seen many scenarios whereby a parameter that is not required in one location or URL format may be required in another, so making a bad parameter adjustment selection to fix one problem could cause a whole lot more :-( . Removing tracking and affiliate strings used internally and externally should be a safe first step to assess the functionality of parameter handling.

Google: If you allowed REGEX then it would be much more powerful and flexible :-)

- Validating Parameter Adjustment Candidates
Before removing a parameter it is essential to review where and why it is being used. Use the following to show you a list of pages that will affected by a change.

Check each parameters usage using:
[allinurl: parameter site:example.com]

Google: perhaps some direct links to this query from the "Parameters found" list might be good.

- Case Sensitive
It appears that parameters are case sensitive. This makes sense and is the same as the robots.txt protocol, so make sure you add each indvidual variation of a parameter:
campaign
Campaign
CAMPIAGN

- Outstanding Questions:

1) Is Pagerank (internal and external) passed to the new streamlined URL?

2) Does this apply to both internal and external links?

3) Do parameters only show up in Google Webmaster Tools if they are used internally?

Comments

Michael Thomas

Very interesting, if you are trying to get link to one page in various ways though, using this code might effect its page rank would it not?

MarkeD

@Michael Thomas Its unknown at this time how using parameter handling affects links to treated pages - ideally it should treat them as 301 redirects to a preferred page, although it could just ignore them altogether!

LINKBUILDING

great job

amazing stuff

poker rakeback

Thanks I have been struggling with duplicate content for a while and this helps to clear things up.

Cap Cana

I have seen many scenarios whereby a parameter that is not required in one location or URL format may be required in another, so making a bad parameter adjustment selection to fix one problem could cause a whole lot more

batterie

I have been struggling with duplicate content for a while and this helps to clear things up.

labatterie

so making a bad parameter adjustment selection to fix one problem could cause a whole lot more

Rolex watches

I have seen many scenarios whereby a parameter that is not required in one location

r4 ds

I have been struggling with duplicate content for a while and this helps to clear things up.

Salon Equipment

I work on lots of the biggest websites in the UK, and getting a canonical tag change request scheduled, implemented and tested by some IT teams could in some scenarios take 6 months to a year. At the time I chatted to Matt I explained I'd really like a more powerful and centrally managed way to control URL parameters (I was thinking bot recognised REGEX and URL rewrites in the Robots.txt) and while Google Parameter Handling doesn't appear to have the full REGEX capabilities I'd hoped for it is a good start.Thanks

DJ Equipment

But...be very cautious when removing other parameters, I have seen many scenarios whereby a parameter that is not required in one location or URL format may be required in another, so making a bad parameter adjustment selection to fix one problem could cause a whole lot more

Wedding Planner

I have seen many scenarios whereby a parameter that is not required in one location or URL format may be required in another, so making a bad parameter adjustment selection to fix one problem could cause a whole lot more

Commercial LED Light Bulbs

Thanks I have been struggling with duplicate content for a while and this helps to clear things up.

Nike Shox Clearance

Mastering the best way to establish a loyal readership along with your blog is unbelievably essential if you need your site to thrive. It can be all concerning the consumers, and ensuring they are mindful of the blog site and enjoy your subject material.

Nike Shox

Compare to the majority of the other blogs, your site tend to be so fantastic. Therefore nice to examining the post. If I've a probability, I would like to research along with you because I think that my potential haven't yet achieved the excellent amount.

Supra Footwear

Yeah, you blog structure is so simple, I like the style. I also like writing something if my spare time. So I can learn something from your article. Thanks.

nike shox

this should have the benefit of channeling the external and internal link weight to your main desired canonical page...nice.

florida realty

Nice tips, thank you.

Rangka baja ringan

Obviously you've shared a very useful information about SEO, thank you very much for this,..

Generic Cialis

Hola,
Ha hecho un trabajo muy bueno. Hay muchas personas en busca de eso ahora van a encontrar suficientes fuentes por tus consejos.
espera para obtener más consejos acerca de que

mothers day messages

I need to state that I haven't read something so interesting in a while. There are alot of motivating views and opinions. I think that you certainly discovered an significant fact.

Generic Cordarone

Hola,Ha hecho un trabajo muy bueno. Hay muchas personas en busca de eso ahora van a encontrar suficientes fuentes por tus consejos.espera para obtener más consejos acerca de que


Networking solutions

There are may person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your post,

The comments to this entry are closed.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451c37d69e20120a578d779970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Google URL Parameter Handling - a guide and requests:

Subscribe to this blog's feed

Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe with Bloglines
Add to Google
Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Add to My AOL
Add to Technorati Favorites!
Add to netvibes