URL Parameters: The complete guide to search engine optimization

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URL parameters or question strings are the part of the URL that normally comes after the query mark (?) and are used to skip information along side the URL. They may be active parameters that exchange the content material of the page or passive parameters which are generally used for monitoring and do not exchange the content.

They consist of key-fee pairs, where the important thing tells you what data is being handed and the price is the facts you are passing, such as an identifier. They appear to be ?Key=price, however can be separated via ampersands (&) like ?Key=value&key2=value2 if there may be more than one pair.

URL parameter parts
explanation of URL parameter parts.

in this manual, we will cowl what you need to recognize about URL parameters.

How parameters are used

As I stated within the advent, parameters can be active or passive. Let’s take a look at a few examples of every.

active parameters

lively parameters alternate the content of the page in some way.

clear out. It gets rid of some content material, leaving the page with extra specific content material that the consumer wants to see. An example of that is faceted navigation within the e-shop.


Classify. Reorder the content in a few way, including by using charge or rating.


Paginate. It divides the content into a chain of linked pages.


Translate. Exchange the content material language.


search. It searches the website for the information that the user is seeking out.

On our seek engine, yep.Comwe use the important thing “q” for the question and the price carries facts approximately the user question.


Passive parameters

Passive parameters do now not alternate the content material. They may be generally used for tracking. Let’s study some examples of each.

branch IDs. Gives an identifier used to song in which sales and sign-united statesare coming from.


advertising tags. Tracks advertising campaigns.


session IDs. Identifies a selected consumer. On modern web sites, the usage of session IDs is not not unusual for consumer monitoring.


Video timestamps. Soar to a particular timestamp inside the video.

?T=a hundred thirty five

seo implications

URL parameters can motive many specific issues with regards to seo, particularly in instances wherein multiple parameters are used. Right here are a number of the issues you could encounter.

Passive parameters can cause troubles with replica content material. You commonly need them to be crawled, and each page should have canonical set to the grasp version.

once in a while you can need to dam those parameters from being crawled absolutely by the use of robots.Txt—but best in conditions wherein you would possibly have hassle with crawling price range. We can talk greater approximately this later.

Google will pick out a version of the web page to index in a manner known as canonizationand alerts which include hyperlinks might be merged into this listed model.

lively parameters can create pages with almost replica content material or content this is very just like different content. They also can be completely different contents. You’ll want to check what your parameters are truly getting used for.

internal links

keep away from passive parameters which includes those used for monitoring internal hyperlinks (hyperlinks from one web page of your website online to any other).

this is still an all too common exercise on fundamental websites, however I need to factor out that that is an vintage and previous practice that ought to not be carried out.

maximum analytics systems have occasion tracking that you can use alternatively and still log statistics without including parameters on your URLs.

In most cases it is a good concept to use active parameters on inner links.


countless URL paths with parameters or a big range of different combinations can reason problems while looking for content. Maintain the order consistent and do not have paths that permit additional parameters to be introduced.

doubtlessly endless routes can without problems be located the use of intensity file below structure explorer device v website Audit. It’s no longer commonplace for sites to have nine+ tiers, so this is a robust indicator that there might also really be infinite paths or some different trouble.

Structure Explorer Depth Report
intensity log in structure explorer.

Google will make changes when it acknowledges infinite paths or certain styles during content material searches. It’ll attempt to restriction the crawling of URLs that it thinks will no longer be useful or are repetitive.


URL parameters are now and again used for worldwide web sites. Those are listed as an option for Language-particular URLs. But even Google says it is not endorsed. It provides every other layer of complexity in which extra matters can go wrong. You may additionally no longer be capable of geotarget these URLs in Google search Console.


Parameters are typically used in e-trade for the entirety from tracking to paginationto faceted navigation. These topics can be pretty complex, so I propose studying the weblog posts i have connected to get a better understanding.


there may be a developing fashion of human beings using # in place of ? As a fraction identifier, in particular for passive parameters together with those used for tracking. That is usually not a great idea. However in unique cases it might be k to do this to replace needless parameters. I commonly endorse in opposition to it due to all the issues.

The hassle is the whole lot servers ignore #, and many structures truely might not or cannot apprehend parameters using #.

moreover, # already has a defined use case, that is scrolling to part of the web page. This is achieved on the customer facet, however JavaScript developers can also use it to “redirect” to a page with one-of-a-kind content.


it’s a great idea to test which parameters are used to your web page. Internal internet site Audit web page explorer device, you can search for URLs that incorporate a question mark (?).

Searching for parameters in Page Explorer
locating parameters in web page explorer.

With superior filters, you could locate pages with more than one parameters or begin apart from parameters to help you discover all of the one of a kind parameters used on your website online.

once you already know which parameters are used, I advocate checking some pages to see what the parameters virtually do.

you may additionally take a look at Duplicates document actual or close to duplicates. The visible show makes it smooth to look if you have many versions of the equal or similar pages and whether or not they have matching canonical tags to select the model you need. You may click on on every cluster for extra information.

Duplicate content tree map
duplicate content tree map view to reveal clusters.

there may be additionally an alternative inside the “Bulk Export” phase that permits you to export all duplicate content material at once. I locate this selection easier to use with larger datasets.

control parameters

in the beyond, Google had a URL parameters tool in Google seek Console where you can pick out a way to deal with exceptional parameters based on whether or not or now not they changed the content material of the web page. The device became retired in early 2022. Here it is what Google had to mention about it:

whilst the URL Parameters device was brought in 2009 in search Console’s predecessor, Webmaster equipment, the net was a far wilder location than it’s miles these days. SessionID parameters have been very not unusual, CMSs had trouble organizing the parameters, and browsers regularly broke connections. With the URL Parameters device, internet site owners had first-class-grained manipulate over how Google searched their internet site content material by means of specifying how certain parameters affected their internet site content material.

over the years, Google has turn out to be a great deal higher at guessing which parameters are useful on a internet site and which are — to place it honestly — useless. In fact, handiest approximately 1% of the parameter configurations presently provided inside the URL Parameters device are useful for crawling. Due to the low value of the device for Google and search Console customers, we can be deprecating the URL Parameters device in 1 month.

although it become now not referred to, i think that some users may additionally have injured themselves with the device. I have run into this inside the beyond wherein someone set the incorrect putting that stated the content material failed to change, but it did. This removed numerous hundred thousand pages from the index for this website online. Oops!

you can allow Google crawl the content material and discern out how to control the parameters for you, however you also have some controls you can use. Allow’s take a look at your options.

Canonical tags

A canonical label can help consolidate alerts to the chosen URL, but requires that each additional version of the web page be crawled. As I referred to earlier, Google could make changes because it acknowledges patterns, and these canonicalized URLs may be less content searched over time.

this is what i’d cross for by default. But if the web site has a variety of issues and the parameters are not underneath manipulate, i might look at a few other options.


A noindex robots meta tag remove the page from the index. This calls for crawling the web site. However then again, perhaps he’s going to crawl much less through the years. If you need consolidation signals on different web sites, i might avoid the use of noindex.

blocking in robots.Txt

blocking off parameters inside the robots.Txt file method that pages can nevertheless be listed. They likely may not show up in regular searches.

The problem is that these pages aren’t searchable and will not combine indicators. To consolidate alerts, avoid blocking parameters.

internet site Audit

when setting up the mission in website Auditthere may be a transfer within the content search settings referred to as “take away URL Parameters” that permits you to disregard all URLs with parameters.

you can additionally exclude parameterized URLs inside the pattern matching move slowly putting.

Block parameter in crawl setting
blocking parameter v website Audit.

facet notes.

amusing truth: we best rely canonical variations of pages towards your content material seek credits.

final thoughts

In summary, URL parameters have many specific use instances and can or won’t motive troubles to your website. The entirety is situational.

send me a message on Twitter if you have any questions.

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