4 URL Parameters Which Can Penalize Your Blog

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Google has been making a lot of progress and the webmaster Tools is getting new features frequently. Although this URL feature isn’t new but still not everyone know about it and not everyone knows why to use this feature.

If you are into blogging for even a month now, you must have come before Google Webmaster Tools and must be knowing what is it.

For those of you who don't know what it is.

Google Webmaster Tools are the tools that Google has given us to track our blog in Google  SERPS.

Things like How many backlinks your blog have, how many queries your blog get, whats happening with your blog, URL Parameters, index status and a lot of other features come under GWT.

Now, you may be thinking that What are these URL Parameters of which he is talking every now and then. Right?

So, in simple words, different Words that you see in a URL are parameters excluding normal post title words.

For example –

See the URL below.

http://example.com/post-title/?replytocom=541

In that URL, replytocom is the Paramater and you know about everything else. Don’t you?

What does these Parameters function do?

It do many things but we are going to use the function to stop Google from indexing URLs which have the parameter in them.

So, Which are the parameters am I talking about and Why do you need to get them setup?

The 4 URL parameters are:

  • replytocom
  • utm_source
  • utm_medium
  • utm_campaign

So, How do these parameters get created?

In all of these, its always been the first because of which thousands of sites lost their traffic.

Well, links with replytocom gets created whenever someones replies to a comment on your blog. As the Google bots can’t have javascript on so when they get to the reply button, no box appears.

Instead the bots get redirected to the same page and the URL only gets changed in the end. This inturn means you get duplicate content even when you never duplicated anything.

Talking about, the other three. They most of the time come together and do the same thing like replytocom. Gets in the end with a ? before them.

The three utms gets created when you comment on a Commentluv enabled blog or google bots index the feed of your blog.

And Why do you need to setup these URL parameters?

If you want to get almost no traffic from Google then you must not use it. As you already know that Google penalizes sites with Duplicate content. Right?

And the parameters above when present in a URL just make the copy of the original content and this makes the Big G do something terrible.

So, you got now what I mean. Right?

Now, you maybe thinking that there are other things you can do to do all this. But let me make it clear that it is the simplest process as it takes only few minutes to setup. Moreover, you don't have to use a plugin on your site for the same.

So far we have discussed everything you needed to know. Now, coming to the main thing.

How to setup the 4 URL parameters?

1. Head over to Google Webmaster Tools and login to the account to which you have your site connected.

2. Now, click on the site and move on to URL parameters under Crawl section.

4 URL Parameters you Must be Having in Google Webmaster Tools

3. After that click on Add parameter, a big button in the middle and make something exactly the same like the image below.

4 URL Parameters you Must be Having in Google Webmaster Tools

4. After one parameter, do the same thing for the remaining three. It would take at maximum 15 minutes.

When you have added all the four parameters the screen would look like the image below.

4 URL Parameters you Must be Having in Google Webmaster Tools

Final Words.

Only people who have got penalized earlier because of this simple mistake know the pain and unless you want to experience the same you must have these 4 URL parameters.

To be true, these 4 are just the starting only and you may get more and more automatically when Google has been indexing your site for months.

And don't procrastinate on this as no one knows when Google would launch its next update, it might get released tomorrow. No one knows the exact time except the head of Google Webspam Team, Matt Cutts.

Have any tip, query or suggestion? Feel free to comment below. I would love to reply to you all.

Anurag Sharma

Anurag Sharma currently blogs at GoingTechy which is an only Tech Blog nothing else. He used to share SEO and blogging tips before on a blog but had to get rid of the blog due to replytocom links. If you have any trouble in these three niches, then kindly contact him through this page. Find him on Google+ and Facebook.

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37 thoughts on “4 URL Parameters Which Can Penalize Your Blog”

  1. Anurag,
    I think the crawl should be set to “Representative URL” rather than “NO URL”
    What you think? My site got hit by Panda and I searched a lot about these things but still confused about the correct settings.

    • Hi Ansh,
      Thanks for your comment buddy.
      Well, I know that the No URL will work because I, in past searched a lot for getting rid of replytocom links.

  2. Hey Anurag,
    After making the changes in my Google webmaster account I am making this comment. And I am really pleased by the way gives us some awesome tips not to penalize our blog in Google. Thanks for this awesome tip.

    • Hey Tanmoy,
      I hope You have done it all. And keep checking URL parameters so that you can take care of the new ones.
      Thanks for your comment.

  3. How can I know what parameters my blog uses?

    I am not clear about it. 1) Does Commentluv automatically adds “replytocom” tag?

    2) source medium campaign – these parameters get indexed by Google? Is that what you mean? From where? As I do not link to any URL with utm params.

    • Hi Vivek,
      You are getting confused pal.
      Replytocom links get created whenever someone comments on your blog and those utm links get created when you comment on a comment luv enabled blog or submit your feed to a feed reader.

      I hope I have cleared your doubts. Reply if you need more assistance.

  4. Hi Anurag,

    This is wonderful explanation about paramaters I have never read before. Thanks for this now I know a bit better. Going to check the webmaster tools for more.

    • Hey Okto,
      Well, let’s hope you have done it by now as the sooner you do it the better it is for you.
      Thanks for your comment.

  5. Nice tute Anurag …

    Configured the parameters on my wordpress blog but do you recommend doing the same to blogger blogs or are they already configured with the right parameters?

    Thanks

    • Hi Salman,
      I don’t know that whether blogger blogs have replytocom or not but what’s the harm in creating that parameter. Right?
      And talking about the other parameters they are in almost all sites URLs.
      Thanks for commenting.

  6. Thank you for giving us such a great information about URL parameters…… From here, I am directly going to Webmaster tools…….

  7. That is amazing explanation about paramaters I’ve in no way examine ahead of. Cheers because of this right now I understand a lttle bit much better. Going to verify the actual website owner instruments with regard to more. Thanks for sharing. 😀

    • Hi Andy,
      Thanks for the comment!
      It’s great that you understood this concept better with this post. Will continue to write articles like this.

  8. Hi Anurag,

    Thanks for this awesome post. I wasn’t aware with this ‘URL Parameters’ stuff, thanks for introducing it to me and how to tackle and deal with it.

    Got to check the webmaster tools at once!

    Thanks,
    Sayantan

    • Hi Sayantan,
      It’s good that you came to know about webmasters tools from this post. Do check the other features of it too, like search queries, backlinks, sitemap, etc. etc.
      Thanks for the comment.

  9. Anurag What about other URL Parameters? Below are 6 Parameters which showing in my Webmasters account?

    max-results
    updated-max
    showComment
    ref
    reverse-paginate
    m

    • Hi Atinder,
      Do the same with those parameters then you would not have to care about getting penalized.
      Thanks for the comment. Have a great week.

      • But is it a good idea to do the same with “max-results”
        “updated-max” Parameters?

        I don’t think these parameters are dangerous but m Not sure about this? Can explain it for me?

        • Hi Atinder,
          you are using a blogger blog. Right?
          Well, not to get shocked or something. Just wanted to say they must also be parameterised cause why bother to let them index which your readers would not need.
          I hope I have given a nice reply.

  10. Thanks for such a detailed article Anurag..!! I was wondering, if we have found, then how to fix it, and here you are with this nice detailed article..!!!

    • Hi Vivek,
      I am happy that I am able to help you. And really, you were searching for the same thing? That’s great!
      Thanks for the comment!

  11. Hey Anurag,
    Great Post. These are the minute things which we forget or do not take care of and then get penalized and think what actually went wrong. It just blew our mind and we keep on thinking what went wrong but we do not get an answer. Thank you for sharing this.
    Visit this : c compiler for windows

    • Hi Mantu,

      Well, yes these are the minute things that can save the future of a blog. Invest some minutes now and then you can have a great amount of traffic in the future (Well, if one work hard).
      Thanks for your comment.

  12. Hi Anurag

    being a blogger I know the importance of SEO friendly URLs but this is the something which I was neglecting. Thanks for bringing my attention towards this serious issue. I’ll immediately fix this one in WMT.

    Really an informative article. Keep Blogging .. 🙂

    • Hi Tauseef,
      Great to know that finally you are implementing these parameters. Well, that’s really good for you as no one knows when the Big G rolls out next update.
      Thanks for your comment.

  13. Hey, thanks for the detailed guidance. I learnt a lot from this post and hope to learn more. I was myself trying to fix it and was looking for a detailed guide. Thanks for it

  14. Anurag,

    This is a really informative post. I didn’t know that such a thing can be done in GWT.

    I have done all the four parameter setting. I see “cat”, “p” and “ver” parameters too automatically on the GWT account. How should these be set up?

    Chitraparna

    • Chitraparna, I am replying on the behalf of Anurag.

      You can disable few parameters using robots.txt file as well..
      Check mine – https://www.bloggingcage.com/robots.txt

      Here is screenshot of disabled parameters in my webmaster’s account.
      Parameters

      Hope this helps.. 🙂

    • Hi Chitraparna,
      Since Kulwant has already answered I want to say something different. The thing is you will get many parameters like this in future. And you can get rid of all that by setting up each with the same process.
      And do check the URL parameter page periodically. 🙂

  15. Okay, thanks Kulwant.
    Should these changes be made directly from Google Webmaster Tools? I see Crawl > Robots.txt tester.
    I noticed that you have disallowed comments. Shouldn’t comments be indexed? Please clarify.

    • Yes, make the changes from your webmaster’s account.

      I have disabled comments indexing.. If you want you can also do. It’s all upto you.

  16. Hey Anurag,
    I am commenting here after changing my url parameters as you have mentioned.Thanks a lot for your beforehand suggestion and the way that you have presented your post was absolutely awesome

  17. Thank you very much for such a clear and simple explanation! I got the problem fixed. Hopefully, it will have a positive effect on my site. Thank you once again!

  18. Very confusing thing but your clear in simple way.

    Sometime utm source url is index in serp then what is process to remove that link..

    Thanks in advance

  19. I opened the google webmaster as shown in your screenshots but I couldn’t find the same thing on google webmaster! May be some format has changed by google webmaster! Please confirm how can I proceed now with the new format?

    “I have made the changes, Hopefully I may have done correctly, fingers crossed” My site is penanlized and I didn’t even know what was that and why was that” Thanks for sharing the helpful article 🙂

  20. Hi Sharma. Have you seen the following parameters in GWT.

    author
    no_redirect
    from_index
    post_id
    search_label
    search_category

    What should be done with it?

Comments are closed.