Best Practice URL Parameter Handling for SEO

Best Practice URL Parameter Handling for SEO

24.Oct.2021

We discovered that some of our clients' websites were suffering from the best practice parameter handling vulnerability .

The vulnerability occurs when search engines index dynamic pages. As part of the conditions for crawling , Google and other search engines set a value in their robots.txt file to indicate which parameters they are allowed to crawl or not, so your server knows how it should behave with regard to these requests.

This parameter handling vulnerability is created when the URLs do not contain the necessary information (or they intentionally leave out this information). To give an example, let's assume that you have two website pages: /product/acme-widgets/blue  and /product/acme-widgets/red . Now imagine you want to make a search request for http://domain.com/product?color=blue  (where the color does not matter), then you would get no results or all products, because it is impossible to determine which of your two pages the user was looking for. As a result, search engines look at what parameters they can find in the URL and index this page according to their findings.

Depending on how you build your URLs on your website, either of these cases might occur:

1) You have no dynamic content on your website so there's nothing for search engines to see when crawling your site .

2) Your pages are dynamically created, but include meta-tags with keywords inside them (for example, you may use some CMS that includes keywords in the URLs).

3) You do not include any meta-tags with keywords.

4) You create dynamic pages, but intentionally leave out important SEO information (such as title tags or meta-descriptions).

Every one of these scenarios is problematic for search engine optimization . Therefore, every website owner should make sure that their website does not suffer from a best practice parameter handling vulnerability. To do this requires a mixture of technical and strategic changes to your strategy .

Technical steps:

- Check if your site suffers from a best practice URL parameter handling vulnerability by running through Google's list of common issues . If it does, you need to fix the problems which are described there. Some examples of techniques that can help solve these problems are:

1) Try to make your URLs as clean and human readable as possible. For example, changing a numeric pagination system to a textual one can improve your SEO tremendously.

2) If you have duplicate content across several pages, redirect them to the most relevant page for search engines using 301 (permanent redirects). 3) Meta descriptions aren't really crawlable by search engine bots, but they may be shown in SERPs. Therefore, it is best practice to set meta description for each of your webpages. A good solution would be adding keywords based on user queries found in Google Analytics or other tracking tools like Search Console .

Strategic Changes:

- Improve internal linking between related products/pages on your website (for example, adding links to blue products from your red product pages).

- In addition to this, add links from your website to trustworthy sites related to the same topic. This will help search engines understand what information is important on your site and which content should be prioritized.

- Lastly, synchronize changes across devices .

In conclusion: best practice parameter handling vulnerability can significantly damage a website's ability to rank in search engine results. This issue usually occurs when a webmaster updates the design of their website and does not take into account that URLs for many legacy product URLS or other internal links have been changed while also forgetting that not all these changes were updated in Google Webmaster Tools' Search Console . Furthermore, there are several reasons why this vulnerability may occur, but the main one is that people are trying to save time by not changing their old URLs. This can cause loss of traffic, pages' rankings and revenue.

An effective way to fix this vulnerability is by redirecting product URLS to the most relevant page for search engines using 301 (permanent redirects) or deleting unused content. If you have duplicated content across several pages, it would be beneficial if you redirected them to the most relevant page for search engines using 301 (permanent redirects). Additionally, meta descriptions were designed for users, so while they are not crawlable by search engine bots they might appear in SERPs. Therefore, it's best practice to add keywords based on user queries found in Google Analytics or other analytics tools like Search Console .

Finally, synchronizing changes across devices is important for all webmasters. Accuracy of the website contents across different platforms will allow search engines to understand what information is important on your site and which content should be prioritized. This way, you can show visitors exactly what they're looking for in an instant.

Best practice parameters occur when a website owner edits product title tags or meta descriptions within Google Webmaster Tools but fails to update them across the website (for example, when editing products' titles in Shopify settings, but not updating the URL it links to ). Luckily enough these vulnerabilities can easily be fixed with technical changes (adding 301 redirects).

Strategic Changes

- Add links from your website to trustworthy sites related to the same topic. This will help search engines understand your site's topic and which content should be prioritized.

- Modify your page titles, meta descriptions, H1 headings (or alt tags) with keywords relevant to your users' queries found in Google Analytics or other tracking tools like Search Console .

Other notable events that can be worth checking out are: updating 404 error pages , changing website URL structure , SSL certificate implementation , HTTPS protocol changes and optimizing for mobile.

If you have implemented any of the above changes, synchronizing them across devices will allow search engines to understand what information is important on your site and which content should be prioritized. This way, you can show visitors exactly what they're looking for in an instant.

Please remember that all webmasters are responsible for maintaining the quality of their pages' content . Please check out this article if you want to know more about best practices parameter handling vulnerabilities.

Check your ranking with Ahrefs , monitor your SEO performance with our Google Analytics integration or track organic traffic in real time . We would love to hear your thoughts! Please share them below in the comments section. Feel free to ping us whenever needed, we're always here to help!

See you in the comments section!

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