Five ways to tackle URL parameters

Five ways to tackle URL parameters

28.Oct.2021

There is no doubt that URL parameters can be a lucrative tool for marketers to use when it comes to creating and managing online content. Not only do they provide an easy way of tracking content, but if used correctly, they can also help boost your rankings in search engines like Google.

However, while there are some definite benefits to using URL parameters, if you're not careful about how you set up and manage these parameters, then there's a good chance that your site will see a decrease in organic traffic. And seeing as the majority of webmasters have URLs which include at least one parameter already (e.g., www.example-url.com?parameter1=value&parameter2=value), this could cause some serious problems.

Here are five tips for managing your URL parameters to ensure you get the most out of them.

1. Use keywords in your URLs

One of the most common mistakes that webmasters make with their URL structures is to only include numbers and symbols, which is hardly user friendly. Not only do these types of URLs fail to give people an idea of what they can expect when they click through, but they're also unlikely to rank well in search engines because crawlers will struggle to understand their relevancy.

This is where having keywords included in your URLs comes into play. If you're running an e-commerce site, one option might be creating URLs like this: www . example - url . com / red - handbags / red - handbags (and so on). However, the URLs above are likely to be too long for crawlers to understand. So instead, include your keywords in them while keeping things shorter and more practical for searchers.

2. Avoid overusing URL parameters

One of the biggest benefits of using URL parameters is that you can use them (in moderation) to track different pieces of content – a useful feature if you want to measure how well a particular piece of content or page is performing.

Now there will always be some marketers who take this 'tracking' idea a little far by creating pages upon pages full of links with their own set of tracking parameters – e.g., www . example - url . com / product / product - X11 (and so on). While this is definitely a clever way of measuring how your content is performing, it's also likely to prevent users and search engines from seeing all of your great content. To avoid this happening, only use one parameter per page and make sure that you're entering values which are relevant to what people will be clicking through for.

3. Use unique URLs for 404 pages

One mistake that some marketers make with their URLs is using them for 404 pages (i.e., when someone clicks a link or type in a web address that leads to an error page, like the site not being found).   While there might not be much wrong with doing this if you have just a few individual posts, if you have a large site with hundreds or even thousands of pieces of content, then you could be doing yourself a disservice by using the same page URLs.

This is because if someone does click through to a 404 page and they want to return to your homepage, they'll have no idea of which link they should click (because all links will appear as 'broken'). So what's the solution? Well, one way around this problem is by adding keywords into 404 pages' URL structures – e.g., www . example - url . com / product - category / some - categories / some - category (and so on). Not only does this make it easier for users and search engines to see where they are on your website, but it's also much better for brand awareness in general (thanks to the keywords you're using).

4. Don't forget canonical tags

While it's worth noting that Google doesn't list canonical tags as one of its top ranking factors, if your site has undergone a major overhaul recently and you've added lots of new pages through URL parameters, then having these pages indexed could become an issue. This is because there's no way to tell which page should be treated as the original or 'canonical' version – so without including any additional instructions, every single page would technically have equal value to search engines.

Now while you can rectify this issue by updating your robots.txt file (which tells crawlers which pages they shouldn't visit), a more efficient and user-friendly way of doing this is by creating a canonical tag on the page itself. The benefit of doing this? Well, it shows users which version of the page they should be visiting, while at the same time letting search engines know which version to crawl first .

5. Put your URL parameters front and center

To some marketers, using URL parameters might seem like more trouble than they're worth. Sure, there are some great ways to use them for tracking purposes – but what about actually improving site performance?

Well if you've exhausted all other options (and are stuck with needing to use URL parameters), then why not put them front and center? This means adding links to any URLs that have been created through parameterization, but also including them in your site's sitemaps. The benefit of doing this? It lets users know that there are additional links available to click through, while at the same time giving search engines an easy way of finding these pages.

Once you've got to grips with how URL parameters work and how they can affect different aspects of your website (as well as making sure that you're only using them in the right way), then it'll be much easier for you to improve rankings or carry out any troubleshooting tasks. And who knows – if your URLs aren't already parameterized, maybe it's time for you to give it a go!

Please leave your questions & comments below!

  Background information: Once you know the full list of URL parameters in use on your site, you can start to take action against any unruly parameters that might be harming your search performance, traffic and conversion rates.

Title: Five ways to tackle URL parameters

It's one thing having a written list of the most common ranking factors, but it's something else entirely witnessing them in action (or inaction). By using our Facebook page , we've been able to attract over 30k views in under 3 weeks, plus building links and improving social signals too. That said; here is an example of how we used case studies and expert opinions about Google+ to rank #1 for 'google plus' terms:

As far as I can see, there are no images or videos embedded into this post, so I'm assuming that it is a single page article from beginning to end.

background information: once you know the full list of URL parameters in use on your site, you can start to take action against any unruly parameters that might be harming your search performance, traffic and conversion rates.

title: five ways to tackle URL parameters

It's one thing having a written list of the most common ranking factors, but it's something else entirely witnessing them in action (or inaction). By using our Facebook page , we've been able to attract over 30k views in under 3 weeks, plus building links and improving social signals too. That said; here is an example of how we used case studies and expert opinions about Google+ to rank #1 for 'google plus' terms:

As far as I can see, there are no images or videos embedded into this post, so I'm assuming that it is a single page article from beginning to end.

background information: once you know the full list of URL parameters in use on your site, you can start to take action against any unruly parameters that might be harming your search performance, traffic and conversion rates.

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