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How to fix URLs with more than three parameters

How to fix URLs with more than three parameters

More than three parameters in URL issue means website has pages URLs with more than three parameters.

The importance of the issue

An URL which has more than 3 parameters might cause a waste of the crawling budget due to a large number of combinations within the URL. It might result in the website scanning and indexing issues, as there can be a large number of meaningless pages a search engine would waste its resources on.

Let’s consider an URL causing such a problem: https://site.com/page?itemscount=10&sort=desc&view=table

Parameter name: itemscount

Value: 10

Parameter name: sort

Value: desc

Parameter name: view

Value: table

URL parameters are applied for solving various tasks, such as traffic source tracking with the help of UTM metrics. In this specific case it is necessary to set the way of content displaying in a web app. In our case we notify the app that a page must contain 10 products as set by the itemscount parameter, sorting them out in descending order as set by the sort parameter and displaying as a table as set by the view parameter.

When the parameter values are changed, the page content either faces no changes or faces minor changes, leading to the appearance of a large number of pages with duplicated content.

For example: 

When the sorting order is changed sort=desc https://site.com/page?itemscount=10&sort=desc&view=table for sort-ask https://site.com/page?itemscount=10&sort=asc&view=table, the page content faces no changes; it is simply arranged in another order.

When the number of goods at a page is changed in the itemscount=10 parameter https://site.com/page?itemscount=10&sort=desc&view=table for  itemscount=9 https://site.com/page?itemscount=9&sort=desc&view=table, the page content will face no changes, but the number of its elements will be reduced by one.

How to check the issue

You need to see the URL to check this. An URL containing the parameters must contain a question mark (?) with several request parameters divided by ampersands (&).

An example of an URL with 3 parameters: https://site.com/page?parameter1=x&parameter2=y&parameter3=z.

How to fix this issue

Whenever possible, change the URL structure, so it would contain no more than 2 parameters or no parameters at all. To do this, you can use an URL regenerating on the backend. If this is impossible and pages contain no value for a user with no need in indexation, then:

If pages are not indexed:

  • prohibit such URLs scanning in the file robots.txt;
  • add <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex” /> or X-Robots-Tag: noindex to the server response only for URL parameters.

If pages are indexed:

  • add <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex” /> or X-Robots-Tag: noindex to the server response only for URL parameters.

After pages are indexed:

  • prohibit such URLs scanning in the file robots.txt.

A simpler solution applied to numerous CMS is a setting of a canonical page, i. e. a page without parameters. For example, for an URL https://site.com/page?itemscount=10&sort=desc&view=table it will be <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://site.com/page” />.

To check page indexation, enter in Google search line:

site:URL

If you get no response, the page is not indexed.

Please note! After making any changes to the URL structure, make sure all internal links lead to indexed canonical URLs, contain no 301 redirections, are available and return the 200 server response. Update the XML website map, if necessary, to make it contain only indexed and canonical URLs. 

Detect URLs with more than 3 parameters

Crawl the website to collect all pages where URL has more than three parameters

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