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URL Parameters in
Webmaster Tools
Maile Ohye
Developer Programs Tech Lead
Google
URL Parameters in Webmaster Tools
Advanced feature
Some sites already have high crawl coverage
as determined by Google.
Improper actions can result in pages not
appearing in search.
URL Parameters hint (vs. directive)
● URL parameters can be helpful hint
● robots.txt or meta noindex is more a
directive than hint
Issue: Inefficient crawling
www.googlestore.com
●158 products
●380,000 URLs identified by Googlebot!
Issue: Crawling redundant or
duplicative content/items
http://www.googlestore.com/googlesear
ch.aspx?category=You%20Tube
http://www.googlestore.com/googlesear
ch.aspx?category=You%20Tube&size=M
Assists understanding parameters
to crawl site more efficiently
● Crawl your site more efficiently (decrease
number of duplicates)
o Saves bandwidth
o Helps more unique, fresh content to be
indexed
● For removals, go to URL Removals in
Webmaster Tools
On-page markup can still be applied
Page-level markup
●rel="canonical"
●rel="prev" and rel="next"
●rel="alternate" hreflang="x"
●noindex
is still taken into consideration if page is
crawled.
* Make sure we can crawl your page (i.e., not robots.txt
disallowed), if you want page-level markup applied!
http://www.googlestore.com/googlese
arch.aspx?category=office
http://www.googlestore.com/googlese
arch.aspx?category=Wearables
http://www.googlestore.com/googlese
arch.aspx?category=Wearables&size=M
URLs eligible for the feature
http://www.example.com/page.php?
key=value&key2=value2
which we interpret as
equivalent to
http://www.example.com/page.php?
key2=value2&key=value
Ineligible URLs
http://www.example.com/Wearables++Youtu
be++size+M.axd
http://example.com/cancun+hotel+zone-
hotels-1-23-a7a141343.html
http://example.com/hotels/cancun/a7a141
343.html
Step 1: Specify parameters that do not
change content
1.Do I have parameters that don't affect the
page content (e.g., SID, affiliateID,
or tracking-id)?
Likely mark as "does not
change content."
Results as "One
representative URL"
setting in Webmaster
Tools
Step 2a: Specify parameters that change
content
Step 2b: Specify Googlebot's preferred
behavior
Sort parameter
Changes the order content is presented
● sort=price_ascending
● rankBy=bestSelling
● order=highest-rated
● sort=newest
Example of sort parameter pulldown menu
1. Identify the sort parameter
2. Specify Googlebot's preferred behavior for
URLs with this parameter
Option 1: Sort parameter never
displayed by default?
1.Is the sort parameter optional throughout my
entire site (i.e. not displayed by default, but
only with manual selection)?
2.Can Googlebot discover everything useful
when the sort parameter isn't displayed?
If "yes," likely that with your parameter you can
specify "crawl No URLs."
Verify examples displayed aren't canonical, and
that the canonical can be reached with
JavaScript turned off during navigation.
Option 2: Same sort values site-wide?
1. Are the same sort values used consistently
across my entire site? (e.g., not sort=year-
issued as a sort option for selling coins but
not coin albums)
2. When a user changes the sort value is the
total number of items unchanged?
If "yes," likely that with your sort parameter you
can specify "only URLs with value x" where x is
one of the sorting values used site-wide.
Option 3: Let Googlebot decide
If neither rule applies "Let Googlebot
decide."
Narrows
Filters the content on the page by showing
subset of total items.
size=M
less_than=25
color=blue
Example of "narrows" on an e-commerce site
Narrows
● If the "narrows" parameter shows less useful
content that's a subset of the content from
the more useful URL without the "narrows"
parameter, you might be able to specify
"Crawl No URLs."
Useful: category=You%20Tube
Less useful: category=You%20Tube&size=M
o But verify a few things first...
Narrows and "Crawl No URLs"
1.Be sure the "narrows" parameter won't also
filter out useful pages you'd like crawled and
surfaced in search results (e.g., perhaps
brand or category pages)
1.Verify that the example URLs shown in the
Webmaster Tools provide non-searcher
useful content when compared to the parent
URL
Narrows (cont.)
If "Crawl No URLs" isn't optimal for your site,
then perhaps select "Let Googlebot decide."
Specifies
Determines the content displayed on a page.
●itemid=android-t-shirt
●SKU=495
Crawl every URL.
Translates
Unless you want to exclude certain languages
from being crawled/available in search results,
(e.g., auto-generated translations), select
"Crawl every URL."
Translates (cont.)
Best practice to place languages in
subdirectory or subfolder rather than
parameter to help search engines more
easily understand site structure.
Paginates
Displays one component page of a multi-
page sequence.
● page=3
● viewItems=10-30
● start-index=20
Nearly always "Crawl every URL."
Multiple parameters in one URL
example.com/item.php?sku=234&page=
3&sortBy=price&sortOrder=lowToHigh
Imagine all URLs begin as eligible for
crawling, then apply each setting as a
process of elimination,
not inclusion.
Recap
Utilize URL Parameters for more efficient
crawling
o Specify parameters that do not change
content
o Specify parameters that change content
 If you can't determine, don't guess, "let
Googlebot decide"
Recap (cont.)
●Sorts
oIf parameter never exists in URL by default:
"Crawl no URLs"
o If parameter values are used consistently
site-wide: "Crawl URLs with value x"
●Narrows: for non-useful filters "Crawl no
URLs" (but be sure to double-check :)
●Specifies: usually "Crawl every URL"
●Translates: usually "Crawl every URL"
●Paginates: usually "Crawl every URL"
Thanks for your time!
URL Parameters blog post
http://goo.gl/MDgoE
URL Parameters help center article
http://goo.gl/pC1Eu
Google Webmaster Central
http://www.google.com/webmasters/

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How to use url parameters in webmaster tools

  • 1. URL Parameters in Webmaster Tools Maile Ohye Developer Programs Tech Lead Google
  • 2. URL Parameters in Webmaster Tools
  • 3. Advanced feature Some sites already have high crawl coverage as determined by Google. Improper actions can result in pages not appearing in search.
  • 4. URL Parameters hint (vs. directive) ● URL parameters can be helpful hint ● robots.txt or meta noindex is more a directive than hint
  • 5. Issue: Inefficient crawling www.googlestore.com ●158 products ●380,000 URLs identified by Googlebot!
  • 6. Issue: Crawling redundant or duplicative content/items http://www.googlestore.com/googlesear ch.aspx?category=You%20Tube http://www.googlestore.com/googlesear ch.aspx?category=You%20Tube&size=M
  • 7. Assists understanding parameters to crawl site more efficiently ● Crawl your site more efficiently (decrease number of duplicates) o Saves bandwidth o Helps more unique, fresh content to be indexed ● For removals, go to URL Removals in Webmaster Tools
  • 8. On-page markup can still be applied Page-level markup ●rel="canonical" ●rel="prev" and rel="next" ●rel="alternate" hreflang="x" ●noindex is still taken into consideration if page is crawled. * Make sure we can crawl your page (i.e., not robots.txt disallowed), if you want page-level markup applied!
  • 9.
  • 11. http://www.example.com/page.php? key=value&key2=value2 which we interpret as equivalent to http://www.example.com/page.php? key2=value2&key=value
  • 13. Step 1: Specify parameters that do not change content 1.Do I have parameters that don't affect the page content (e.g., SID, affiliateID, or tracking-id)? Likely mark as "does not change content." Results as "One representative URL" setting in Webmaster Tools
  • 14. Step 2a: Specify parameters that change content
  • 15. Step 2b: Specify Googlebot's preferred behavior
  • 16. Sort parameter Changes the order content is presented ● sort=price_ascending ● rankBy=bestSelling ● order=highest-rated ● sort=newest Example of sort parameter pulldown menu
  • 17. 1. Identify the sort parameter 2. Specify Googlebot's preferred behavior for URLs with this parameter
  • 18. Option 1: Sort parameter never displayed by default? 1.Is the sort parameter optional throughout my entire site (i.e. not displayed by default, but only with manual selection)? 2.Can Googlebot discover everything useful when the sort parameter isn't displayed? If "yes," likely that with your parameter you can specify "crawl No URLs." Verify examples displayed aren't canonical, and that the canonical can be reached with JavaScript turned off during navigation.
  • 19. Option 2: Same sort values site-wide? 1. Are the same sort values used consistently across my entire site? (e.g., not sort=year- issued as a sort option for selling coins but not coin albums) 2. When a user changes the sort value is the total number of items unchanged? If "yes," likely that with your sort parameter you can specify "only URLs with value x" where x is one of the sorting values used site-wide.
  • 20. Option 3: Let Googlebot decide If neither rule applies "Let Googlebot decide."
  • 21. Narrows Filters the content on the page by showing subset of total items. size=M less_than=25 color=blue Example of "narrows" on an e-commerce site
  • 22. Narrows ● If the "narrows" parameter shows less useful content that's a subset of the content from the more useful URL without the "narrows" parameter, you might be able to specify "Crawl No URLs." Useful: category=You%20Tube Less useful: category=You%20Tube&size=M o But verify a few things first...
  • 23. Narrows and "Crawl No URLs" 1.Be sure the "narrows" parameter won't also filter out useful pages you'd like crawled and surfaced in search results (e.g., perhaps brand or category pages) 1.Verify that the example URLs shown in the Webmaster Tools provide non-searcher useful content when compared to the parent URL
  • 24. Narrows (cont.) If "Crawl No URLs" isn't optimal for your site, then perhaps select "Let Googlebot decide."
  • 25. Specifies Determines the content displayed on a page. ●itemid=android-t-shirt ●SKU=495 Crawl every URL.
  • 26. Translates Unless you want to exclude certain languages from being crawled/available in search results, (e.g., auto-generated translations), select "Crawl every URL."
  • 27. Translates (cont.) Best practice to place languages in subdirectory or subfolder rather than parameter to help search engines more easily understand site structure.
  • 28. Paginates Displays one component page of a multi- page sequence. ● page=3 ● viewItems=10-30 ● start-index=20 Nearly always "Crawl every URL."
  • 29. Multiple parameters in one URL example.com/item.php?sku=234&page= 3&sortBy=price&sortOrder=lowToHigh Imagine all URLs begin as eligible for crawling, then apply each setting as a process of elimination, not inclusion.
  • 30. Recap Utilize URL Parameters for more efficient crawling o Specify parameters that do not change content o Specify parameters that change content  If you can't determine, don't guess, "let Googlebot decide"
  • 31. Recap (cont.) ●Sorts oIf parameter never exists in URL by default: "Crawl no URLs" o If parameter values are used consistently site-wide: "Crawl URLs with value x" ●Narrows: for non-useful filters "Crawl no URLs" (but be sure to double-check :) ●Specifies: usually "Crawl every URL" ●Translates: usually "Crawl every URL" ●Paginates: usually "Crawl every URL"
  • 32. Thanks for your time! URL Parameters blog post http://goo.gl/MDgoE URL Parameters help center article http://goo.gl/pC1Eu Google Webmaster Central http://www.google.com/webmasters/